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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.

Rank Boy's Names Count Girl's Names Count
1 James 4765477 Mary 3830985
2 John 4694438 Patricia 1558221
3 Robert 4601086 Linda 1439473
4 Michael 3966636 Barbara 1421343
5 William 3616326 Jennifer 1388086
6 David 3315232 Elizabeth 1359065
7 Richard 2474956 Margaret 1147017
8 Joseph 2254554 Susan 1106237
9 Charles 2168362 Dorothy 1088080
10 Thomas 2099470 Betty 991026
11 Christopher 1735178 Nancy 977168
12 Daniel 1578877 Karen 957109
13 Donald 1389669 Lisa 953883
14 Paul 1326271 Helen 953461
15 George 1321711 Jessica 936305
16 Mark 1292179 Sarah 877280
17 Matthew 1260046 Sandra 859809
18 Kenneth 1218990 Donna 825197
19 Steven 1202361 Carol 811499
20 Edward 1190706 Ruth 767548
21 Anthony 1139607 Kimberly 762260
22 Brian 1071930 Michelle 749937
23 Ronald 1056715 Deborah 732760
24 Kevin 1009182 Laura 731442
25 Timothy 990291 Amanda 721237
26 Andrew 977902 Sharon 713261
27 Jeffrey 935745 Melissa 706547
28 Jason 895861 Kathleen 695758
29 Gary 886150 Cynthia 686901
30 Joshua 877178 Rebecca 681566
31 Frank 827279 Shirley 680052
32 Stephen 811580 Ashley 676850
33 Larry 790106 Stephanie 674935
34 Eric 777282 Anna 660999
35 Scott 747506 Amy 639351
36 Raymond 728636 Virginia 628224
37 Gregory 677133 Angela 618235
38 Ryan 672760 Catherine 591111
39 Nicholas 658472 Brenda 587942
40 Jonathan 619516 Pamela 586746
41 Justin 609367 Christine 568546
42 Patrick 601152 Frances 553799
43 Dennis 599280 Debra 548139
44 Jerry 593468 Janet 547229
45 Walter 566406 Carolyn 542764
46 Brandon 561650 Katherine 524061
47 Douglas 543520 Diane 514418
48 Harold 534307 Nicole 510739
49 Peter 524383 Emily 508235
50 Henry 518907 Heather 507603


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We strive to bring you the most authoritative meanings for the names listed. We have drawn our lists from a variety of sources.
If you know an alternate meaning for any name, please , and we'll check it out.


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