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Good Question: What Makes A Baby Name Popular?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- announced Tuesday the most popular baby names of 2014.

The most popular girls' name was Sophia for the fifth year in a row.

Jackson topped the boys' list for the second year in a row.

Behind every name there's a story. For 2-month-old Davis, it's pretty straightforward.

"In all honesty, it was just a unique name that wasn't difficult to spell and it wasn't difficult to say," said Davis's mom at the Edinburgh Center in Edina.

And in most cases, a baby is named within minutes of being born.

"He told me she's a 'Whitney' and I think I was so drugged up I think I would have agreed to anything," said another mom.

Veronica Jacobsen is a childbirth educator and the founder of

"In one infant room we had a Hayden, a Braden, a Jaden and a Caden," Jacobsen said.

She says pop culture quite often decides popular baby names.

"In 'Friends,' when Rachel had her baby, she named her baby Emma. We saw Emma all of a sudden just become really popular," she said.

The show Friends ended 10 years ago, but Emma came in at number two for most popular girl names in 2014.

According to, about one in five baby names are TV-inspired -- but not all celebrity trends catch on. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their daughter Apple, like the fruit. Nicole Richie and Joel Maddon named their son Sparrow, like the bird.

"Some people prefer to be unique," Jacobsen said. "A lot of the millennials or Generation Y, they like to be their own people."

And there's another new trend that's actually old.

"Some of the names that are popular now were popular in the 1910s, so it's almost exactly 100 years ago," she said.

Those include Olivia, Emily and Jacob, which are all top-10 names this year.

Family tradition is a big part of baby naming, but it doesn't always lead to a popular baby name.

Jacobsen says there was a resurgence of "juniors" -- dads naming their sons after them -- after 9/11, but that faded. She says that trend is a little more popular in the southern states.

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