Wednesday, May 14, 2014

THE Most Popular Names Ever (Since 1880)

Ever wonder which name has been given the most overall? Ummm... I did yesterday. ;) To satisfy my curiosity on the matter, I totaled the raw numbers of the top names since the data has been collected (1880). By top names, I include all the #1 names, the names that have always been in the Top 100, the names that have almost always been in the Top 100, and other names that I thought would have a big total (names that, at their height, were above 2% in usage). So, take note that these lists are not complete and there may be other names that fit in between. But what I have gathered is pretty interesting!

* Has been #1
+ Has been in Top 100 every year since 1880

Mary* 4112231
Elizabeth+ 1591239
Patricia 1570091
Jennifer* 1461125
Linda* 1450258
Barbara 1432454
Margaret 1237972
Susan 1120028
Dorothy 1105244
Sarah 1055682
Jessica* 1038686
Helen 1015038
Betty 998601
Lisa* 963508
Anna 867903
Ashley* 831067
Ruth 818934
Carol 815573
Emily* 795955
Amanda 780639
Deborah 738854
Shirley 684422
Amy 682371
Katherine 621623
Emma* 572797
Debra 560043
Sophia* 268598
Isabella* 257611

Mary at #1 is no surprise, but the amount of Marys in comparison to the rest of the names might be. Elizabeth is #2, even though she has never ranked #1. She is, however, the only girl name that has been in the Top 100 every year since 1880. But what about Patricia!? She never ranked higher than #3 in the SSA rankings and hasn't been consistently near the top the entire 134 years, but still comes in at #3. Jennifer at #4 is pretty astounding considering the name wasn't even used until 1916. Ashley also wasn't consistently given until the 1940s. And am I the only one shocked that Katherine is so low? She has been in the Top 100 since 1880 save only a few years, however is a constant without ever making it big.

James*+ 5090707
John*+ 5073505
Robert*+ 4789390
Michael*+ 4293031
William+ 4038015
David*+ 3564806
Joseph+ 2557478
Richard 2552110
Charles+ 2356638
Thomas+ 2275664
Christopher 1984039
Daniel+ 1854313
Matthew 1539934
George 1451300
Donald 1408009
Anthony 1391262
Mark 1341435
Edward 1278445
Andrew+ 1244448
Brian 1155323
Ronald 1074791
Jason 1008848
Frank 906308
Jacob* 858101
Samuel+ 706532
Henry 638295
Harry 419412
Noah* 298307

I was shocked to see James ahead of John! They have both been at the top pretty consistently, but I guess John has fallen slightly harder than James. Quite frankly, this entire list is a bit astonishing. The boys have a lot of names that have been in the Top 100 every year since 1880, but you see Richard well ahead several of those names (Richard was firmly in the Top 100 until it fell out after 2007). Brian is relatively high considering it wasn't even given in the United States until 1900, and Samuel is another constant name that just never spiked.

All of this is also more proof that parents are choosing a more variety of names nowadays; #1 names are not as widely used currently as they were in the past. And if you compare the girls numbers with the boys numbers, it also shows that parents are much more willing go with a different name for their daughter than for their son.

What do you think? Anything particular surprise you?


1 comment:

  1. I thought Mary being in the 4 millions was insane until I saw how many hit similar numbers on the boys list. I did similar math recently for girls for an upcoming blog but I was happy to see your boy stats! It is so interesting how some names are always there but they go somewhat unnoticed at the same time.

    Kara @


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