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Goodbye Michael, hello Jacob! The top baby names of 2011

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Sophia and Jacob were the most popular names for baby girls and boys in the United States last year, according to the Social Security Administration. Michael fell out of the top five for the first time in more than 60 years. Taking inspiration from the New testament is going cold, experts say, while the Old testament's popularity is burning like brimstone.

"The traditional biblical names were New Testament names – John, James and Mary and Elizabeth," Laura Wattenberg, creator of the website babynamewizard.com, told the Associated Press. "Today, the hot names are all names from the Old testament precisely because they were neglected for so many generations."

Sophia bumped off Isabella, which had held the top spot for two years. It dropped to second place in 2011. Rounding out the top five for girls were Emma, Olivia and Ava.

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When it comes to boys' names, Jacob has dominated the top spot for 13 years. Mason jumped 10 spots to become the second most popular name for boys, leaving William, Jayden and Noah in the top five.

Last year was the first time Michael was not in the top five since 1948.

The fastest growing name for boys turned out to be Brantley. The name jumped 416 spots to number 320. As for girls' names, the fast growing one proved to be Briella, which jumped 394 spots to number 497.

And good news, Elvis fans: After dropping off the list in 2010 for the first time since 1955, Elvis returned in 2011 at number 904.

What do you think of 2011's most popular baby names?

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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