When Noah meets Emma: Top U.S. baby names for 2016

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When 18-year-olds register as first-time voters in the 2034 U.S. congressional elections, many of the signatures will include the names Emma and Noah.

The two names topped the lists issued by the Social Security Administration of the most popular names given to U.S.-born girls and boys in 2016. It was Noah’s fourth consecutive year at the top of the list of male names, and Emma’s third on the female side.

The retirement and disability benefits agency, which released its latest findings on Friday, compiles the lists of most popular baby names every year, in part to draw Americans to its website.

Rounding out the top 10 list of baby boys’ names in 2016 were Liam, William, Mason, James, Benjamin, Jacob, Michael, Elijah and Ethan. For girls, it was Olivia, Ava, Sophia, Isabella, Mia, Charlotte, Abigail, Emily and Harper.

Before Noah emerged as the top name for boys, parents favored another name from the Old Testament, Jacob, for the previous 14 years. For most of the latter half of the 20th century, Michael topped the list.

The most popular 21st century names for girls before 2014 were Sophia, Isabella and Emily. For the second half of the 20th century, Jessica, Ashley, Jennifer, Lisa and Mary each had their turns as parents’ favorite names for girls.

Over the past 100 years, Mary has been the name parents chose the most for their daughters, followed by Patricia, Jennifer, Elizabeth and Linda. For boys, the top go-to name for the past century has been James, followed by John, Robert, Michael and William.

With baby name trends ebbing and flowing over the decades, the agency also reported the names with the greatest change in popularity for 2016.

For girls, it was Kehlani, which jumped to No. 872 from 3,359.

“Perhaps this can be attributed to Kehlani Parrish, a singer/songwriter who was nominated for a Grammy in 2016,” the agency said.

The biggest gainer among boys’ names was Kylo, which vaulted to No. 901 from 3,269.”Kylo Ren, the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia and the grandson of Darth Vader, was a character in the 2015 film ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’” it noted.

Editing by Frank McGurty and Dan Grebler