Baby Names

The Most Popular Baby Names in the Last 100 Years

most popular baby names in last 100 years"
most popular baby names in last 100 years
Source: @thewilddecoelis
Source: @thewilddecoelis

We’ve all heard the old cliché that history often repeats itself. In some ways, we pray this isn’t true—looking at you, 2020. But, in other ways, taking some inspiration from history might not be the worst thing, especially if you’re looking for a baby name that will stand the test of time.

We love the resurgence of historical baby names in recent years. Vintage names like Alice and Oliver are cute as can be and have deserved their latest revivals. And there’s nothing sweeter than taking baby name inspiration from our grandmas and grandpas, or moms and dads, and the generations they grew up in. That’s why we wanted to take a look at the most popular baby names in the last 100 years, according to the Social Security Administration, in hopes that some of the cutest names might make a comeback—if they haven’t already!

Whether you’re on a baby name quest or simply curious, read on for the 200 most popular baby names of the last 100 years—and their meanings. Decide for yourself if you think history should repeat itself this time.

For Boys

1. James

Maybe it was James Dean sweeping the nation in the 1950s, or maybe it was tied to the Bible. Either way, this name that’s reached the number one spot numerous times historically since 1923 has Hebrew origins and means “supplanter.”

2. Robert

It’s no wonder this German name meaning “bright fame” is on the top of the charts. There have been famous Roberts throughout each decade over the last 100 years. Take your pick from drawing inspiration from great men like Mr. De Niro, Downey Jr., Redford, Kennedy, Pattison, and more!

3. John

John is no stranger to the top 10 baby name choices. In fact, from 1920 through 1986, it didn’t leave the top 10 at all, according to the SSA. And we’re not surprised—this strong, masculine, Hebrew name meaning “God is gracious” is practically timeless.

4. Michael

The top 10 most popular baby names in the last 100 years aren’t lacking Biblical references. This Hebrew name holds honor in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions. Biblically, Saint Michael is said to be the leader of Heaven’s armies, which is why his power is often invoked in prayers for military men and women, police officers, and firefighters.

5. David

Speaking of Biblical references, this inclusion is directly related to King David in the Old Testament, also known as the second king of Israel. It holds special meaning in the Jewish faith, with the Star of David being their primary symbol. The name is fitting for bringing a sweet newborn home as it holds the meaning of “beloved.”

6. William

For a powerful name that never goes out of style, look no further. This German moniker exudes strength and is fit for a young king with the meaning of “resolute protector,” “helmet,” and “will.”

7. Richard

Hitting peak popularity in 1947, you’ll find many Boomers named Richard. The strong name means “powerful” and “hardy.” It’s often shortened to nicknames like Rick, Rich, and Dick.

8. Joseph

Meaning “Jehovah shall add,” Joseph is another name with Biblical ties. Over the last 100 years, we’ve also seen some of the most famous athletes with the moniker: legendary boxer Joe Louis, baseball hall-of-famer Joe DiMaggio, and NFL quarterback Joe Montana. It’s no surprise this name with such history has, so far, never made its way out of the top 30 of baby names for boys.

9. Thomas

For raising a little one who can grow to be as successful as other Toms, like Hank, Brady, and Cruise, consider Thomas. The Aramaic masculine name means “twin.”

10. Christopher

Whether an ode to religion or Gilmore Girls, this popular name is a classic. With Greek origins, it means “bearing Christ.”

most popular baby names last 100 years
Source: @alainakaz

Popular Baby Boy Names 11-100

11. Charles: German name meaning “free man.”

12. Daniel: Biblical name meaning “God is my judge” in Hebrew.

13: Matthew: Classic Hebrew name meaning “gift of God.”

14. Anthony: Latin name perfect for a precious little boy, meaning “priceless one.”

15. Mark: Strong Latin name meaning “warlike.”

16. Donald: Scottish name meaning “proud chief.”

17. Steven: English and Dutch origins meaning “crown” and “wreath.”

18: Andrew: Masculine Greek name meaning “strong” and “manly.”

19. Paul: Biblical ties and Latin origin meaning “humble.”

20. Joshua: Hebrew name meaning “God is deliverance.”

21. Kenneth: Scottish and Irish origins meaning “born of fire” and “handsome.”

22. Kevin: From Irish roots, the name means “handsome.”

23. Brian: Irish name meaning “high” and “noble.”

24. George: Meaning “farmer” and “earthworker” from Greek origins.

25. Timothy: Greek name meaning “God’s honor.”

26. Ronald: Scandinavian and Norse origins meaning “ruler’s counselor.”

27. Jason: Hebrew name meaning “healer” and “the Lord is salvation.”

28. Edward: Meaning “wealthy guard” with British origins.

29. Jeffrey: Masculine name of German and English origin meaning “pledge of peace” or “God’s peace.”

30. Ryan: Sweet Irish name meaning “little king.”

31. Jacob: Hebrew name from the Old Testament meaning “supplanter.”

32. Gary: German and British roots meaning “spear.”

33. Nicholas: Meaning “victory of the people” from Greek origin.

34. Eric: Old Norse title meaning “sole ruler” and “ever powerful.”

35. Jonathon: Hebrew name meaning “God has given.”

36: Stephen: Of Greek origin meaning “crown” or “garland.”

37. Larry: British moniker meaning “crowned from laurel.”

38. Justin: Masculine Latin name meaning “righteous.”

39. Scott: Proud Scottish title meaning “from Scotland.”

40. Brandon: Meaning “prince” of Celtic origin.

41. Benjamin: Hebrew title holding the meaning of “son of the right hand.”

42. Samuel: Hebrew name from the Old Testament of the Bible meaning “God has heard.”

43. Gregory: Greek origin meaning “vigilant” and “watchful.”

44. Alexander: Meaning “man’s defender” or “warrior” of Greek origin.

45. Patrick: Strong Latin title meaning “nobleman.”

46. Frank: Of German origins meaning “free.”

47. Raymond: Meaning “protecting hands” with German roots.

48. Jack: British name meaning “God is gracious.”

49. Dennis: Greek name meaning “follower of Dionysius”—AKA, the Greek god of wine.

50. Jerry: Of British origin meaning “spear.”

51. Tyler: Old English name referring to a “maker of tiles.”

52. Aaron: Hebrew moniker meaning “mountain of strength.”

53. Jose: The Spanish form of Joseph, holding the meaning of “raised.”

54. Adam: Hebrew title referring to “son of red Earth.”

55. Nathan: Of Hebrew origin meaning “given.”

56. Henry: French and German ties referring to a “house ruler.”

57. Zachary: “The Lord has remembered” with Hebrew origins.

58. Douglas: Scottish title meaning “black river.”

59. Peter: Greek origins meaning “rock” or “stone.”

60. Kyle: Gaelic name meaning “slender” or “straight.”

61. Noah: Hebrew name meaning “rest.”

62. Ethan: Meaning “strong” of Hebrew origin.

63. Jeremy: Old English moniker meaning “lifted up.”

64. Walter: Classic German title meaning “commander of the army.”

65. Christian: Latin, Greek, and English ties holding the meaning of “follower of Christ.”

66. Keith: Scottish origin meaning “wood.”

67. Roger: “Famous warrior” of German origin.

68. Terry: British title meaning “power of the tribe.”

69. Austin: Latin name holding the meaning of “great,” “magnificent,” and “majestic.”

70. Sean: Irish origin meaning “God is gracious.”

71. Gerald: Of German origin meaning “spear ruler.”

72. Carl: German ties meaning “free man.”

73. Harold: Meaning “army ruler” with Scandinavian ties.

74. Dylan: Traditional Welsh name meaning “son of the sea.”

75. Arthur: Celtic origin meaning “bear.”

76. Lawrence: Latin title meaning “laurel.”

77. Jordan: Meaning “to flow down” of Hebrew origin.

78. Jesse: Hebrew ties meaning “the Lord exists.”

79. Bryan: Irish title meaning “strong” and “virtuous.”

80. Billy: English name with the meaning of “resolute protection.”

81. Bruce: Scottish, English, and French ties referring to “the willow lands.”

82. Gabriel: Hebrew name meaning “God is my strength.”

83. Joe: Short for Joseph, meaning “God will add.”

84. Logan: Gaelic and Scottish roots meaning “hollow.”

85. Alan: Meaning “harmony” and “noble” with Celtic roots.

86. Juan: Spanish title meaning “God is gracious.”

87. Albert: Of German origin meaning “noble” and “bright.”

88. Willie: German title meaning “resolute protector.”

89. Elijah: Hebrew name that means “Yahweh is God.”

90. Wayne: English occupational title meaning “maker of wagons.”

91. Randy: Meaning “shield” and “wolf” with British origins.

92. Vincent: Of Latin origin meaning “prevailing.”

93. Mason: Occupational name meaning “stone worker” with British roots.

94. Roy: Celtic title meaning “red” and “king.”

95. Ralph: Scandinavian name that means “wolf counsel.”

96. Bobby: Derivative of Robert, also meaning “bright fame.”

97. Russell: Meaning “little red” with French roots.

98. Bradley: British ties holding the meaning of “broad meadow.”

99. Philip: Greek moniker meaning “horse lover.”

100. Eugene: Of Greek origin meaning “wellborn.”

For Girls

1. Mary

Girl moms over the years liked to take inspiration from the Bible as well. Associated with Mary who gave birth to Jesus, Mary is anglicized from the Latin name Maria. The classic title, which has slowly decreased in popularity in recent years but is likely to make a revival, holds the meaning of “beloved” and “star of the sea.”

2. Patricia

Whether you’re keen on the long form or a fan of a sweet nickname like Patty or Trisha, Patricia held its own in popularity for several decades before declining significantly in recent years. If you ask us, the Latin moniker meaning “noble” is far from obsolete.

3. Jennifer

Jennifer held the number one spot on the SSA baby name charts back in the 1970s and early ’80s. The modern variation of Guinevere has Welsh roots and means “the fair one.” Little ones with this name will share a title with some truly iconic women, like Jennifer Aniston, Garner, Lopez, and more.

4. Linda

Many Millennial moms will have fond memories of an important Linda in their lives. Whether their own mother, a teacher, or a family friend, the name was ultra-popular in the generations before us. While the name isn’t nearly as popular now, its typically positive connotation and meaning of “pretty” make it a great option for a baby girl.

5. Elizabeth

For a truly timeless name, you won’t find a better option than Elizabeth. For over a century, the name hasn’t dropped below 30 for the most popular spot. This means there’s a high chance you know and love someone who holds this title meaning “God’s promise.” We love that it can be shortened in several adorable ways like Lizzie, Beth, and Betsy.

6. Barbara

While this name may mean “foreign” or “strange,” it certainly isn’t an uncommon title in most of our lives (Barbra Streisand, anyone?) Holding a high spot in the 1920s through the 1950s, many of us may equate it to a loving grandmother figure. Like many grandma-inspired baby names, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this Greek moniker make a comeback.

7. Susan

A title that embodies nature is always a great option. We’re sure this is at least partially why Susan, meaning “lily of the valley,” is in the top 10 most popular baby names in the last 100 years. Plus, Susan can be shortened to the sweet nicknames Sue or Suzy.

8. Jessica

Several of us may consider ourselves “rich” to have a best friend or sister with this name. That’s because it reached its peak popularity in 1995—a quintessential ‘90s baby name.

9. Sarah

It’s no surprise that the Biblical matriarch and wife of Abraham holds its own on the charts even today. Not to mention, with a meaning like “princess,” what could be more perfect for a sweet little girl?

10. Karen

While the name may have gotten a negative connotation in recent years, its Danish roots are actually quite lovely. We’re sure the next generations of Karens will turn out to be sweet and “pure.”

baby smiling
Source: @tinygirlgang

Popular Baby Girl Names 11-100

11. Lisa: Derivative of Elizabeth, also meaning “God’s promise.”

12. Nancy: English name with French and Hebrew ties meaning “favor” and “grace.”

13. Betty: Feminine Hebrew title meaning “oath of God.”

14. Sandra: A powerful Greek title that holds the meaning of “protector of humanity.”

15. Margaret: Meaning “pearl” and of Greek origins.

16. Ashley: Old English meaning “ash tree meadow.”

17. Kimberly: Enchanting English moniker meaning “from the royal fortress meadow.”

18. Emily: Latin roots meaning “rival.”

19. Donna: Means “lady” with Italian origins.

20. Michelle: Anglicized version of the French Michele, which means “who resembles God.”

21. Carol: Meaning “joyful song” with English origins.

22. Amanda: Sweet Latin name meaning “worthy of love.”

23. Melissa: Holds the meaning of “honeybee” and has Greek origins.

24. Deborah: Hebrew name meaning “bee.”

25. Stephanie: Greek for “crown” or “garland.”

26. Dorothy: Greek name meaning “gift from God.”

27. Rebecca: Hebrew for “to bind or tie.”

28. Sharon: Holds the meaning of “fertile plain” with Hebrew ties.

29. Laura: Latin name referring to the “laurel plant.”

30. Cynthia: Greek origin meaning “moon goddess.”

31. Amy: Latin title meaning “beloved.”

32. Kathleen: Derivative of Katherine meaning “pure.”

33. Angela: “Messenger of God” holding Greek origins.

34. Shirley: Coming from Old English and referring to a “bright meadow.”

35. Brenda: Feminine version of the Old Norse masculine title Brandr, which means “sword.”

36. Emma: Holds the meaning of “entire” or “universal” and is historically German.

37. Anna: Hebrew name meaning “grace” or “favor.”

38. Pamela: A Greek name that translates to “honey.”

39. Nicole: Feminine form of Nicholas that has Greek origins and means “victory of the people.”

40. Samantha: Hebrew name meaning “God has heard.”

41. Katherine: Greek name meaning “pure.”

42. Christine: A historical Greek name meaning “follower of Christ.”

43. Helen: Meaning “torch” and of Greek origin.

44. Debra: Short form of Deborah, also meaning “bee.”

45. Rachel: Coveted Hebrew name meaning “ewe,” or “female sheep.”

46. Carolyn: German title meaning “free man.”

47. Janet: The feminine form of John, also meaning “God is gracious.”

48. Maria: Latin form of Mary, also meaning “star of the sea.”

49. Catherine: Variation of Katherine, also meaning “pure.”

50. Heather: Lovely British moniker meaning “evergreen flowering plant.”

51. Diane: French title meaning “divine.”

52. Olivia: Latin name referring to the “olive tree.”

53. Julie: Meaning “youthful” with French origins.

54. Joyce: Latin title meaning “lord.”

55. Victoria: Historical Latin moniker meaning “victory.”

56. Ruth: Hebrew name meaning “friend.”

57. Virginia: Medieval Latin title meaning “maid” or “virgin.”

58. Lauren: French name holding the meaning of “wisdom” and “laurel plant.”

59. Kelly: Irish, Scottish, and Gaelic meaning “warrior.”

60: Christina: Latin name that translates to “follower of Christ.”

61. Joan: A feminine form of John meaning “God is generous.”

62. Evelyn: British translation of “desired.”

63. Judith: Hebrew name meaning “Jewish.”

64. Andrea: With ties to France, Greece, and Spain, the name means “brave,” “courageous,” and “warrior.”

65. Hannah: Original form of Anna, also meaning “favor” and “grace.”

66. Megan: Diminutive of Margaret, also meaning “pearl.”

67. Cheryl: A “darling” and “beloved” feminine French name.

68. Jacqueline: The feminine form of Jacques and Jacob, meaning “supplanter.”

69. Martha: Aramaic name meaning “lady.”

70. Madison: Originally an English surname, it holds the meaning of “son of Matthew.”

71. Teresa: Greek title referring to “summer.”

72. Gloria: Meaning “glory” and of Latin origin.

73. Sara: Variation of Sarah.

74. Janice: An extended version of the name Jane, the Hebrew title means “gift from God.”

75. Ann: Variation of Anne.

76. Kathryn: Variation of Katherine.

77. Abigail: Feminine Hebrew moniker meaning “cause of joy.”

78. Sophia: A popular Greek name meaning “wisdom.”

79. Francis: Latin name meaning “free man.”

80. Jean: With English origins, the name means “God is gracious.”

81. Alice: German title meaning “noble” and “exalted.”

82. Judy: Sweet nickname of Judith.

83. Isabella: Italian and Spanish variation of Elizabeth meaning “devoted to God.”

84. Julia: Related to Julie, also meaning “youthful.”

85. Grace: Latin title referring to “favor” or “blessing.”

86. Amber: Perfect for a fall baby, with French and Latin origins it means “amber-colored.”

87. Denise: The feminine version of Dennis, also meaning “follower of Dionysius,” the god of wine.

88. Danielle: Hebrew origin meaning “God is my judge.”

89. Marilyn: A British name that is the combination of Mary and Lynn and holds the meaning of “star of the sea.”

90. Beverly: Both a British given and surname meaning “beaver stream.”

91. Charlotte: With royal ties, the French moniker refers to a “free man.”

92. Natalie: Tying to Christmas, this Latin name means “the Lord’s birthday.”

93. Theresa: Variation of Teresa.

94. Diana: Greek and Latin origins meaning “divine”.

95. Brittany: Celtic name meaning “from Brittany.”

96. Doris: Meaning “gift from the sea” and of Greek origin.

97. Kayla: Yiddish moniker meaning “slim” and “fair.”

98. Alexis: Greek title referring to a “defender” and “protector.”

99. Lori: French name meaning “laurel.”

100. Marie: French version of Mary.