Baby names: What are the most popular baby names from the last 100 years? We explore

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The latest data from the US Social Security Administration reveals that Liam and Olivia have retained their places at the top of the most popular baby names in the United States. For male babies, Liam has now been the most popular name of choice for 4 years, while Olivia has ranked at the top for females for 2 years, relegating Emma to second place after a 5-year spell at the top.

100 years of names

We went back through the data from the SSA, to chart the most popular names of the last 100 years. For years Mary dominated naming lists, occupying the top spot for females from 1920 until the early 1960s, with Linda only briefly knocking Mary off her perch. Then, after a short spell at the top for Lisa, the "J's" of Jennifer and Jessica reigned until the mid-1990s before Emily ascended for a 12-year run. Since then, Isabella, Sophia and Emma have each had a spell at the top before Olivia topped the table in 2019.

For male babies, John, Robert and James ruled in turn until Michael took the top spot in 1961 — a place Michael would stay for 44 years in total, giving up the top spot to David for just 1 year in 1960. Jacob was then top for 13 years from 1999 to 2012 before giving way to Noah and eventually Liam.

Honourable mentions: There have been more Patricias born than Jennifers in the last 100 years, but Patricia never cracked the top spot. There were also 3.5 million Williams born, with William never falling outside of the top 20 names, but again never cracking the top spot.

The most popular names in total from the last 100 years can be found here and the top 10 for 2020 can be found here.

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