What's in a name? A century of the most popular baby names in America

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What’s in a name?

The Social Security Administration published its annual list of the most common baby names in the US, and it’s a couple of familiar monikers that clinched the top spots in 2022. For boys, Liam has topped the chart for a 6th consecutive year, while Olivia has added a 4th year to her reign atop the girls’ list.

In other, slightly less predictable naming news, Wrenlee was the fastest-rising name for female babies last year. Meanwhile, Paramount’s western hit Yellowstone has clearly influenced parents picking names for their new sons — Dutton and Kayce, the two fastest-growing boys’ names of 2022, both feature in the show.

Name reigns

The SSA has been tracking baby names since the late 1800s, using applications for Social Security cards to gather data for each state. As in the case of Yellowstone, culture, media and technology (baby Alexa, anyone?) can all have a pretty profound effect on the popularity of names further down the list. The names that occupy the top spots, however, have historically held onto number one for a decade or more.

The multi-year reigns of Olivia and Liam, for example, are actually relatively short when looking at previous tenures of names like Mary, the most common female name for a third of the last 100 years, while Michael topped the boys chart for a staggering 43 years, with David unseating the name just once (in 1960).

Go deeper: Explore the rise and fall of certain names with the full dataset.

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