I'm very interested in researching the popularity of the two names we've paired it down to. In your postings, I keep seeing "in 2010, there were X babies born with that name" and "X were in your state." Where can I get this precise info? All I find is rankings. Also, I saw you mention to someone that 2011 name statistics would be available in May 2012 -- are they out yet? And if so, where can I find them??
[Sigh: ONE WEEK after I posted this, the Social Security website completely changed its format. I may or may not have the heart to re-write this after I get used to all the changes!]
I use The Social Security Administration for all baby name data of this sort. (Some baby name sites publish their own lists, but those are based only on information collected from visitors to that site---and only on what those visitors SAY they named their children.)
I'll give links where possible (it's one of those sites where not every page has its own link), but also give instructions so you can find things without the links.
Current top-ten name rankings are on the first page you come to.
To get information on a specific name's rank over the years, look to the lower right under "Popularity of a Name." To see ranking lists from other years, look to the lower left under "Popular Names By Birth Year."
For limited state-specific information, click that link I just made, or else look in the lefthand margin of the main page, under the category Baby Name Data.
To get information on names outside the Top 1000:
1. Go to the lefthand margin of the main page, under Baby Name Data. Click on "Background Information."
2. Look again in the lefthand margin and click on "Beyond the top 1000 names."
3. Click on either National Data or State-Specific Data to download those documents.
To get the number of babies born with a certain name in a certain year, you can look in those downloaded documents. OR, you can go to the main page, on the lower left under "Popular Names by Birth Year," and select "Number of births" before hitting the "Go" button. Each name listed will be followed by the number of females/males given that name in that year.
The 2011 data has not yet been released. When it is (usually in the first two weeks of May), it will update automatically on the Social Security Administration's site.