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 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.
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?