The most popular name for baby girls in 2014 was Emma, followed by Olivia, Sophia, Isabella and Ava, reports the Social Security Administration. Mary is one of the most popular names for female children from 1915 to 2014, appearing in the top-five baby names for 41 out of 100 years.
On the other end of the spectrum are the least popular baby names, according to an informal study on The Baby Name Wizard and reported in Live Science. Nevaeh, Destiny, Madison, Mackenzie and McKenna are 2011's least popular names. Nevaeh, or "heaven" spelled backwards, was particularly divisive, while typically masculine names that became feminine, such as Addison, received plenty of vitriol. People also disliked names that evoked particular virtues, such as Destiny and Hope, in part because the poll takers associated the former with exotic dancers.
In recent years, Live Science reports that baby names have become a more heated topic. One faction seeks to assign children unique identifiers, while the other sees names as a form of communication. In more recent decades, people have turned away from harder, more guttural names, such as Gertrude and Bertha, and toward more open names that contain vowels, such as Emma or Ava. There is no known reason for why names become popular or unpopular.