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‘Moshe,’ ‘Esther’ Among NYC’s Top Baby Names

A banner year for the names Leah, Chaya, and Chana as well

by
Yair Rosenberg
January 02, 2015
(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

At the close of each year, the New York City Health Department releases an annual ranking of the most popular children’s names in the previous year, broken down by gender, community, and ethnicity. Earlier this week, the city released their figures for 2013, which found “Jayden” and “Sophia” were the year’s most popular baby names for each gender. But dig deeper into the data, and one finds some unusual results. As BuzzFeed editor Katherine Miller put it:

NYC: Where Moshe and Esther make a top 5 name list!



— Katherine Miller (@katherinemiller) January 1, 2015

Among the most popular white baby names, “Moshe” ranked fourth among boys, while “Esther” placed third among girls, followed by “Sarah,” “Leah,” “Rachel,” “Chaya,” “Miriam,” and “Chana.”

Why the predominance of Jewish names? Undoubtedly, much of this can be attributed to the high birthrates of Orthodox Jews, in particular the ultra-Orthodox, who are found in highest concentration in New York. In other words, among whites in NYC, Jews are most likely to be having children. In addition, the most popular girls’ names on the list include several biblical ones that are prevalent beyond the Jewish community, most likely boosting their ranking.

Read the NYC Health Department’s full report here.

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.