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What do Anderson Cooper, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Kardashians have in common? They're all influencing our baby naming choices, according to BabyCenter. The leading online pregnancy and parenting resource released its annual list of top 100 baby names and hottest naming trends today.
CNN's silver-haired fox Anderson saw his name jump 101 spots, and British royals Kate and William also gained momentum on the list. But the big winner was pint-sized reality star Mason from Keeping Up With the Kardashians, who toddled up eight spots into third place on the boys' list. He's in great company at the top among names that stand the test of time like Sophia and Aiden, who held onto their number 1 spots from last year.
BabyCenter compiled some 300,000 baby names to determine this year's favorites. To create a true measure of popularity, the leading online parenting and pregnancy destination combined names that sound the same but have different spellings (such as Sophia and Sofia).
The hottest baby name trends of 2011
From the Jersey shore to the royal palace, parents' baby-naming inspiration was all over the map this year. Here's a peek at the hottest baby name trends of the year.
America can't get enough of the Garden State, as evidenced by a gaggle of Jersey-centric reality TV shows - and now, Jersey-inspired baby names. Nicole, aka Snooki from Jersey Shore, sailed up four spots; Briella (the drama-loving "hair fairy" from Jerseylicious) vaulted 130 spots to 508; matriarch Caroline of The Real Housewives of New Jersey climbed the charts by 4 percent; and Kimberly, the sassy shopgirl from Jersey Couture, shot up 60 slots. If that's not enough, the name Jersey itself is up by 16 percent. No Joisey's reported yet, but we think it's only a matter of time.
Kate and William's fairy tale spring wedding had the whole world watching, so it's no surprise to see more baby Williams and Kates on our list. The names William, Kate, and Catherine (Middleton's full first name) all ascended the ranks this year. Will's charming brother, Harry, crept up a couple of spots, too, while Kate's bombshell sister and maid of honor, Pippa, rose from utter obscurity to a ranking of 1,376 -- still rare, but up a whopping 45 percent from last year.
Keeping up with baby Kardashian
When Kourtney's adorable son, Mason, trotted down the aisle at her sister Kim's wedding, television viewers stopped criticizing the wedding long enough to let out a collective "Awwww." Apparently his cuteness has rubbed off on this year's baby name choices: Mason leaped eight spots to claim third place for boys. The adult Kardashians, on the other hand, were decidedly less influential. The names Bruce, Kris, Kourtney, Kylie, and Khloe all failed to keep up this year.
The Anderson Cooper effect
If baby names are any indication of TV ratings, then the dreamy newsman and talk show host is well on his way to filling Oprah's shoes. In 2011 the name Anderson blasted through 101 spots on our list for a 13 percent gain. The dishy journalist's last name, Cooper, also has fans -- they helped boost the name 3 percent to the number 58 slot.
Top baby name predictions for 2012
BabyCenter uses a top-secret algorithm to figure out which names are likely to become more popular in the coming year. And it works: We had a 70 percent success rate with our predictions last year.
Among girls' names that are already popular, we predict that Scarlett, Harper, and Alexandra will keep rising through the ranks. When it comes to less common girls' names, we see stardom looming for Isla, Luciana, and Sloan.
The already popular boys' names that we wager will keep climbing the list include Elijah, Parker, and Henry. As for off-the-radar boys' names, our analysis shows that Boston, Cam, and Maximiliano may be the sleeper hits of tomorrow.
More from BabyCenter:
· How popular is your name? Check our Baby Names Finder.
· Wild West names, Christmas names, and more: Browse our baby name inspiration lists.
· Help parents pick a name: Vote in a name poll.
· See BabyCenter's full Special Report on Baby Names.