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Most Common Baby Names Throughout the Decades

Most Common Baby Names Throughout the Decades


One of the toughest decisions that plagues new parents is what to name their child. There are hundreds of books and websites devoted to the topic, but it doesn't seem to make the decision any easier. One resource that parents can refer to is the most popular baby names database.

The U.S. government tracks the most popular baby names by year, decade, and state. Over the past 100 years, names have climbed and dropped the rankings. Here is a look at common baby names throughout the decades.

At the turn of the 20th century, popular baby names would be considered a little old or dull by today's standards. The top five names for females were:

  • Mary
  • Helen
  • Margaret
  • Anna
  • Ruth

The top five male names were:

  • John
  • William
  • James
  • George
  • Charles

These names each jockeyed for position and remained in the top five, or close to it, until the 1920s. The only major changes for female names was that the names Anna and Ruth fell out of the top five and were replaced by the names Dorothy and Betty. For male names, Robert became the most popular and George fell out of the top five.

By the 1930s, Richard was the only new popular baby name for men, but female names changed considerably:

  • Mary
  • Betty
  • Barbara
  • Shirley
  • Patricia

In the 1940s, Linda and Carol entered the female top five, while Susan and Deborah made the list in the 1950s. For males, no new names entered the top five until the 1950s, when Michael and David became popular. Male names remained mostly unchanged in the 1960s, while Lisa and Karen entered the female top five that decade.

By the 1970s, the male and female top five were markedly different than names used in the early or mid part of the century. The top five boy names were:

  • Michael
  • Christopher
  • Jason
  • David
  • James

The top five girl names were:

  • Jennifer
  • Amy
  • Melissa
  • Michelle
  • Kimberly

In the 1980s, the new names that made the boys' top five were Joshua and Matthew. Popular girl names changed dramatically in the 1980s, with the most common being:

  • Jessica
  • Jennifer
  • Amanda
  • Ashley
  • Sarah

In the 1990s, popular baby names remained relatively unchanged; Jacob entered the top five for the boys, and Emily and Samantha entered the top five for the girls.

For the 2000s, the last decade for which popular baby names are available, the most popular boy names were:

  • Jacob
  • Michael
  • Joshua
  • Matthew
  • Daniel

The most common girl names were:

  • Emily
  • Madison
  • Emma
  • Olivia
  • Hannah

If you suffer from infertility and are trying to get pregnant with the help of IVF or another procedure, contact a fertility specialist in your area today. A fertility specialist can run fertility tests to diagnose your condition, and recommend appropriate fertility treatments.

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