Trends in Popular Baby Names


Chances are if you went to high school in the 1980s, Lisa and Michael dated each other. As the decade ended, Michael probably dumped Lisa and hooked up with Jennifer or Amy. As the century ended and a new one began, Michael may have stuck it out with Jennifer, but there’s a good chance he dated Jessica instead. The two remained together for a decade, but it looks like Michael’s days may be numbered because it’s obvious Jacob will be hooking up with Emily and Madison, although Michael will remain in the picture.

Before you accuse Michael of being a philandering dirtbag, keep in mind that the Michaels have changed. According to the Social Security Administration, Michael happens to be the most popular name given from 1960 to 2000. It checked in at second place during the first decade of the 21st century. That’s a lot of Michaels.

Trends in boy names over the past 50 years. Boys’ names over the past 50 years have remained relatively stable with names such as Michael, James, Jason, John, David, Christopher and Matthew being near the top of the names list. That doesn’t mean, however, there haven’t been some variations. In the 1990s, for example, Tyler, Dillon and Shaquille made a popularity appearance. In the 1980s, it was Jamaal, Kiel, Demario and Cordero, and the 1970s saw an upsurge in boys named Damon, Shawn, Heath and Toby. What does the future hold? It looks like you’ll be seeing a bevy of Bentleys, Channings, Ikers and Kyrons.

Trends in girl names over the past 50 years. Girl names, although less static than the boys, have also remained relatively stable over the past 50 years with Jessica, Amy, Susan, Karen and Jennifer making multiple appearances in the top 10. The 1970s saw Tonya, Misty, Carrie and Tricia gain a decade of popularity. In the 1980s, Tiffany, Crystal and Latoya had a turn near the top. In the 1990s, it was Kelsey, Shelby, Brittany and Chelsea. Girl names you’re likely to see in the future include Tenley, Alaya, Jemma and Kyndall.

Influences on name trends. The most common origin of baby names comes from ancestors. This explains why certain names remain consistently popular. Biblical influence also plays a major role in naming children — Michael, Jacob, Noah and John, for example. As Americans become more culturally diverse, so do its names. Parents also name their children after famous people. Chances are you know somebody born in the ’80s or ’90s named Jordan, which happened to be the prime playing years of NBA star Michael Jordan.

Found in: Pregnancy
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