The Top 100 Names of the 20th Century
We thought it would be fascinating to see a list of the most popular names of the last century, from 1900 to 1999. So we created our “Top 100 Baby Names of The 20th Century” page. The list was compiled from Social Security Administration data. Our methodology is the same as that used by the SSA in their calculations of “top names by decade.” The top-ranked name is the name occuring most often over the course of an entire century, and so on, down the rankings. All names are from Social Security card applications for births occcuring in the United States.
You can see right away that there is a big difference in the “spread” of boys’ names versus girls’ names. Boys’ names over the last century tended to bunch up around a few immensely popular names, while the girls’ names were distributed over a much greater variety of names.
What names are still hot? Amazingly, five boys' names from the top dozen of the 20th Century - Michael, Daniel, Christopher, Joseph and William - are still in the top twelve today. For girls, only Elizabeth (#12 in 2005) shows that kind of endurance. For more than 100 years, parents have been far more traditional in picking boys' names than for girls.