These Are the Most Popular Baby Names of the Century – And the Least

Baby name trends come and go, but there’s something to be said for names that can stick around for a 100 years. Find out which boy and girl names have stood the test of time, then find out how to search for your own baby name’s popularity.

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So what exactly is in a name? If you ask William Shakespeare, he’d give you a line about a rose. But if you ask the team of data wizards over at Ceros, they’d tell you something quite different. They’d also tell you that the name William peaked in popularity in 1947 thanks to their new name search tool, Hello My Name Is.

Knowing how many parents like you are looking for the perfect baby name, Andrew Thompson, Data Editor at Ceros, saw an opportunity to help you search. “We weren’t hoping to learn anything in particular as much as allow others to learn,” Thompson says.

Thompson charted every name recorded by the Social Security Administration dating back to 1910, then he packaged it into an interactive widget so anyone could search through it. After entering a name, you’ll get back a visualization of just how popular a name has been over the years.

After looking through the name data as a whole, one thing the team at Ceros gleaned was that names have become more gender neutral over the years. Unisex names like Harper have become more and more popular, a trend we’ve definitely observed in Hollywood with celebrity unisex baby names on the rise.

Curious to learn more, Thompson tallied up which names have been the most popular over the last 100 years, and which have been the least, for Parents. One observation from the lists below? The trend of unique spellings for common baby names is pretty hit or miss. The few people that thought Elexus would take off as the new-and-improved spelling of Alexis turned out to be grasping at straws — same with the ones who voted for Nicholle, Haileigh and Kassi since they all made the least popular list.

Take a look for yourself:

Most Popular Boy Names

  1. James
  2. John
  3. Robert
  4. Michael
  5. William

Runners-up: David, Richard, Joseph, Charles, Thomas, Christopher, Daniel, Matthew, Anthony, Donald, Paul, Mark, George, Steven, Kenneth

Want more? See Our Top Unique Boy Names

Most Popular Girl Names

  1. Mary
  2. Patricia
  3. Elizabeth
  4. Jennifer
  5. Linda

Runners-up: Barbara, Margaret, Susan, Dorothy, Jessica, Sarah, Nancy, Betty, Karen, Lisa, Helen, Sandra, Ashley, Kimberly, Donna

Want more? See Our Top Unique Girl Names

Least Popular Boy Names

  1. Davi
  2. Jourdan
  3. Ahron
  4. Bladimir
  5. Kimani

Runners-up: Willam, Ryden, Brenda, Keonte, Huston, Damen, Carver, Bradon, Shmiel, Sarkis, Desi, Woodie, Nam, Mckenzie, Jakobi

Browse More Baby Boy Name Ideas

Least Popular Girl Names

  1. Zipporah
  2. Mikaylah
  3. Kassi
  4. Saphira
  5. Rashonda

Runners-up: Zissy, Arla, Deserie, Graci, Elexus, Haileigh, Solange, Marylouise, Ermelinda, Nicholle, Ever, Tynisha, Pricila, Jack, Hildegard

Browse More Baby Girl Name Ideas

Want to Search for a Name?

The best part about Hello My Name Is is that anyone can use it to search for any name. “It’s simply a fun tool for allowing people to see how their own names have risen and fallen (or just risen, or just fallen) over the past century,” says Thompson. The first location I searched for when Google Maps came out was my own house – we enjoy finding ourselves in things.”

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