Liam Keilbart

This photo of Liam Keilbart earned the Mesa infant first place in America's Best Stinky Face contest organized by Munchkin, Inc. [Photo by Leila Kelibart]

Photo by Leila Keilbart

Time was you could count on the top name for boys born in Arizona being something Biblical or at least literary. Names like Michael and Jacob and even Jose, the Spanish equivalent of Joseph.

No more.

A new report by the Arizona Department of Health Services shows Liam edging out every other name to take the top slot for 2013.

It's been a relatively meteoric rise.

Last year it placed fourth; the year before that it was 17th.

And the year before that? It did not even crack the Top 100.

So what gives?

Well, there are a few Liams out there in the spotlight, like 61-year-old veteran actor Liam Neeson.

But the more likely influence is Liam Hemsworth who burst on the scene in Hunger Games. And he also gained some publicity for dating pop star sensation Miley Cyrus — at least until she broke up with him earlier this year.

Yet apparently few new parents were interested in naming their newborn girls Miley: It was nowhere on the Top 100 list for popular baby names in Arizona for 2013. But her pre-twerking, pre-naked wrecking ball music video alter ego name, Hannah — as in Montana — scored at No. 30.

And while we're on the subject of Hunger Games, the fact that Jennifer Lawrence was the top female star in that movie did nothing to re-popularize that name among Arizona parents. In fact you have to go back a decade to find Jennifer in the Top 20.

Nor does it appear that new parents had any interest in the name Katniss, the character she plays in the first two films and the two that are supposed to follow.

Overall among girls, there was no year-over-year change at the top: Sophia again led the list, followed by Isabella, Emma, Mia and Olivia.

And the lead of No. 1 over No. 2 actually could be seen as greater. That's because the alternate spelling of Sofia came in ninth.

The longer-term trends, however, show some marked changes.

A quarter century ago, for example, the top names for girls were Jessica, Ashley, Amanda, Sarah and Jennifer. And only one name on the 1988 Top 20 list made the 2013 list: Elizabeth.

For boys, the pattern is different.

While a couple of names may suddenly become popular, many parents stick to the old tried and true list. In fact, six names that are on this year's Top 20 list were there a quarter century ago: Jacob, Michael, Matthew, Daniel, David, Joseph and Anthony.

But that perennial popularity of Jacob — it was the top name in 2012 — still wasn't enough to keep it from being beat out this year by Liam.

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