This is a list of the most common girl's names from 2000 to 2009 according to the United States Social Security Administration. While there are online listings with the "most popular names" of certain years and decades, those seem to be based on visitor's votes and an algorithm. They are not a reflection of what people actually name their babies in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century. This list is taken from as SSA database which keeps track of all registered names.
An example of the difference between the SSA list and online lists is the name Sophia. This is claimed to be the most popular female name of the first decade of the 21st century according to several websites. However, the SSA database ranks it as the 13th most popular name that was actually bestowed upon girls born during that time.
The list of alternate names are names with the same meaning or root, even if the spelling is quite different. While some of these are also nicknames of the original name, an attempt was made to list actual alternative given names, not just a list of nicknames.
Common Girl's Name 1: Emily
Emily â possibly Rival
The name is of Latin origin, but it is unsure if it comes from the same root as the word Rival. It has had a long history of being one of the most common names in English-speaking countries for many years. It gained in popularity because of Princess Amelia Sophia. She was from the German House of Hanover, which took over the British throne in the 18th Century.
According to Behind the Name, a website of name etymologies, the name Amelia and Emilia are unrelated. Amelia comes from Amalia, a Germanic name. Emilia comes from Eamilius which is the Latin origin of this name which possibly means Rival. However, these two names are used interchangeably today.
Alternate names: Amelia, Amelie, Emilia, Emilie, Emma, Em, Emmy
Common Girl's Name 2: Madison
Madison â Son of Maud
Though Madison is a popular female name in the United States today, it is actually a boy's name common in the northeastern part of England. Interestingly the name gets its popularity from the movie Splash which came out in 1984. The mermaid character chooses the name Madison (because of the Madison Avenue sign she sees) and is told that Madison is not a name. She needed to choose something else. By 1985 it was the second most popular girl's name (also behind Emily in 1st place).
Madison is also used as a boy's name in the United States, though it has never been very popular.
Alternate names: None, they are all nicknames
Common Girl's Name 3: Emma
Emma - possibly Rival
Emma and Emily (number one above) are the same name. Emily was given to 223,249 girls in the decade. Emma was given to 180,786. Combined they would be over 300,000. More than 50% more popular than the number two name, Madison.
Alternate names: Amelia, Amelie, Emilia, Emilie, Emma, Em, Emmy
Common Girl's Name 4: Olivia
Olivia â Olive
Olivia was a made-up name by William Shakespeare for his play Twelfth Night. It is unsure if Shakespeare meant for his name to be a female form of the name Oliver, or choose it just because it comes from the Latin word for olive. It has gained popularity as a name since the 1990s.
Alternate names: None
Common Girl's Name 5: Hannah
Hannah â Grace, God has favored me
The Hebrew name Hannah comes from the Bible book of 1 Samuel. Hannah is the mother of Samuel and was unable to bear children. She prayed for a son, and that if God would grant her favor (or grace) then she would return the son to Him as a priest. God did, and she did.
Hannah has always been a popular Hebrew name, but gained popularity among the Puritans in the US in the 16th and 17th centuries. The names Anne (and derivatives) come from the name Hannah. Hannah is a palindrome (reads the same front to back and back to front).
Alternate names: Hanna, Channa, Hana, Anna, Ana, Ann, Anne
Common Girl's Name 6: Abigail
Abigail - Father rejoice
In the Bible, Abigail was the wife of a man named Nabal. Nabal refused to show gratitude to King David and Abigail attempted to satiate David's anger by offering gifts in the name of Nabal. After his death, she became the wife of King David. The Bible says that she was beautiful and intelligent. The Talmud claims that she is one of the four most beautiful women in the world.
Depending on how you read the story in 1 Samuel, Abigail can be seen as intelligent towards David, or cunning and subversive towards her husband.
In literature the name Abigail has been used as a proper name, or a generic noun to denote a lady-in-waiting.
Alternate names: Abby, Abbie, Abbey, Abi, Gail, Gayle, Gale
Common Girl's Name 7: Isabella
Isabella â My God is an oath
Isabella comes from derivatives of the Latin and Greek translations of the name Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. However, the name can be traced back through Phoenician roots as well.
Elizabeth was the wife of Zacharias, a priest. In the book of Luke their story is told with great detail. She is the cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Alternate names: Isabell, Isabella, Isabelle, Izabela, Isobel, Ysabeau, Elizabeth
Common Girl's Name 8: Samantha
Samantha - A good listener, Listener of God, God has heard
This is a relatively new name dating back to an 18th century US origin. It is thought to be a feminine form of the name Samuel. It could also be combined with the common name Anthea from the time which meant flower.
Samantha was popular from the 1880s until the turn of the century. Then it languished in popularity until 1965 when it quickly rose again in popularity. The TV series Bewitched, starring a character name Samantha Stephens, debuted in 1964. It has stayed fairly popular in its full form or in a very large number of variants.
Alternative names: Samanthi, Samanthia, Samatha, Samella, Symantha, Sam, Sami, Sammi, Sammie, Sammy, Samanthe, Sammantha
Common Girl's Name 9: Elizabeth
Elizabeth - My God is an oath
Even though the popular Bible character bearing the name Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist, there is an earlier reference to the name. The priest (and brother of Moses) Aaron had a wife named Elisheva, the Hebrew form of the name that Elizabeth is translated from.
Elizabeth is a perennial favorite name. It has been in the top 25 names in the US for the last 100 years. The name has gained popularity again in other English-speaking countries.
Wikipedia lists 95 nicknames derived from, and variants of, the name Elizabeth.
Alternate names: Isabel, Eliza, Lizzie, Elisa (and variants of these)
Common Girl's Name 10: Ashley
Ashley â Ash tree meadow
Ashley can be either female or male and is of English origin. It comes from the old English words for ash and meadow. It saw a rise in popularity as a girl's name in the 1980s and beyond, possibly because of the popular soap opera character Ashley Abbott from The Young and the Restless.
There is another name from Gaelic origin spelled Aisling, but pronounced Ashlyn meaning vision. It is possible that the name Ashley could be traced back through either, or both of the English and Gaelic names.
Alternate names: Ashley, Ashleigh, Ashlee, Ashly, Ashlie, Ashli, Ashlea, Ashlei, AshlÃ©, Ashliee, Ashlyn, Ashlynn
A list of the most common boy's names for the US is available too.