Popular Baby Names Through the Years

baby names

Choosing a baby name is no easy matter. While some parents have the desire to give their child a very unique name to help them stand out, other parents are interested in baby name trends. Other parents have favorite names already picked out, without having any idea how popular they currently are. Regardless of where you are in the name-choosing process, knowing which names are the most common can help guide your search for the perfect name for your bundle of joy.

Most Popular Baby Names of 2010

In 2010, the following were the 25 most commonly chosen names for boys and girls in the United States.

Rank Boys Girls
1. Jacob Isabella
2. Ethan Sophia
3. Michael Emma
4. Jayden Olivia
5. William Ava
6. Alexander Emily
7. Noah Abigail
8. Daniel Madison
9. Aiden Chloe
10. Anthony Mia
11. Joshua Addison
12. Mason Elizabeth
13. Christopher Ella
14. Andrew Natalie
15. David Samantha
16. Matthew Alexis
17. Logan Lily
18. Elijah Grace
19. James Hailey
20. Joseph Alyssa
21. Gabriel Lillian
22. Benjamin Hannah
23. Ryan Avery
24. Samuel Leah
25. Jackson Nevaeh

This information comes from the United States Social Security Administration, which has an online database of baby names going back to the 1880s. You can search by year, decade, name, or state, as well as investigate the popularity of a name over a stretch of years. If you want to see if a particular name is currently rising or falling in popularity, you can check out that name's history to see when it peaked and where it currently sits in comparison to other names on your list of favorites.

Regional Variation

If you want to choose a baby name that is popular (or one that is not at all popular) in your own region, you can better consult the popular names by state on the SSA website. However, the popularity of names often depends on whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural community. You may want to check the birth announcements in your local newspaper instead of checking the Social Security Administration's national or state records for common names.

Popular Baby Names Through History

While many names have stayed in the top 100 throughout the last century, the top five lists change virtually every year, making the passage of time a very important determiner for popular baby names. In addition to these fluctuations in regard to the top fives, there are also some baby names that are popular now but were not even on the record 100 years ago. Examples of these are the popular 'Nevaeh' for girls, and 'Jayden' for boys. The name Jayden was first registered as being in the top 1,000 popular names in 1994 and now sits at number four. Nevaeh first came into the top 1,000 in 2001 and now is the 25th most popular girls' name. The following top five lists illustrate the types of small changes that have taken place in the past century when it comes to baby names.

At the turn of the 20th century, baby names were traditional. The top five names for boys born in 1900-1910 were:

  1. John
  2. William
  3. James
  4. George
  5. Charles

The top five girls' names during the first ten years of the 20th century were:

  1. Mary
  2. Helen
  3. Margaret
  4. Anna
  5. Ruth

One hundred years later, it is interesting to note how the lists have changed. In the decade spanning 2000 to 2010, the five most popular boys' names were:

  1. Jacob
  2. Michael
  3. Joshua
  4. Matthew
  5. Daniel

The top five popular girls' names have also changed over the course of the last century. The five most popular names for baby girls between 2000 and 2010 were:

  1. Emily
  2. Madison
  3. Emma
  4. Olivia
  5. Hannah

Choosing a Popular Name

Finding out which baby boy names and baby girl names are currently most popular is an easy task now that the Internet supplements baby name books. Whether you want to name your child something from the top ten list or want to avoid the most popular names so that child has a unique name when she goes to school, knowing the common names is important.

Remember that while choosing a name is important because your child will most likely carry it for the rest of his life, whatever name you choose will grow with your baby. Choose something that you and your partner both like, and once you start associating it with your little miracle, the name will become one you both adore regardless of how popular or unpopular the name is.

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Popular Baby Names Through the Years