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These 100 baby names totally rocked the 1980s

  • These 100 baby names totally rocked the 1980s

    Known for the emergence of MTV, the rise of neon, and the invention of the mixtape, the 1980s were certainly a rockin' era in American history. New economic policies were introduced, the news network CNN launched, and, much less enjoyable, Wall Street crashed on the infamous Black Monday—the worst one-day decline in American stock market history. Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated by President Ronald Reagan as the first female Supreme Court justice, the Cold War saw the beginning of the end as the Berlin Wall began to fall, and millions watched in horror as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on live television.

    Among all the big hair, Rubix cubes, and shoulder pads, however, there were still plenty of babies being born during this defining time. And with celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Robert Palmer reaching their peak fame during the ‘80s, it's no surprise that many parents chose to name their kids after them.

    To see just how popular these names were, Stacker used data from the Social Security Administration Baby Name Ranks from 2019 to find the number of babies given each name between 1980 and 1989. According to the SSA, the 200 most popular names were taken from 19,237,195 male births and 18,455,213 female births during this period. For comparison, we also included the rank and number of births for each name in 2018 and discovered the name origins from the baby-naming experts at Parents.com. Any fun facts, cultural trends, or stands-outs about these popular names were also mentioned

    Just like scrunchies and PAC MAN, Americans can still hold onto some of the best aspects of the ‘80s, including baby names (some things never get old). So whether you're welcoming a new little one into the world this year or just curious, these are the 100 most popular baby names of the 1980s.

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  • #50 Boy: Alexander

    - Rank in the 1980s: #50
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 81,995
    - Rank in 2018: #11 (11,989 babies born)

    Alexander is a name that has stood the test of time in terms of popularity, all the way back to Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. The name is of Greek origin and translates into “defender of man.” One of the most popular shows of the decade, “Family Ties,” featured a male character by the name of Alex, which may have influenced parents.

  • #50 Girl: Allison

    - Rank in the 1980s: #50
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 62,333
    - Rank in 2018: #69 (3,678 babies born)

    A derivative of Alice, which comes from the French “noble and graceful,” Allison become increasingly less popular between the 1980s and today. The classic teen dramedy “The Breakfast Club” premiered in the mid-80s, starring icons Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, the latter of which took on the role of relatable outcast Allison.

  • #49 Boy: Jesse

    - Rank in the 1980s: #49
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 85,919
    - Rank in 2018: #185 (2,126 babies born)

    Jesse Jackson became one of the most influential African American civil rights leaders of the age and became a promising presidential candidate in both 1984 and 1988. The name Jesse comes from the Hebrew “Yishay,” which translates into “God's gift.”

  • #49 Girl: Kathryn

    - Rank in the 1980s: #49
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 62,443
    - Rank in 2018: #453 (692 babies born)

    With a wide variety of spellings and a popular name in the Christian world, Kathryn comes from the Greek origin meaning “chaste, pure.” The name is shared with many Catholic saints and is therefore also popular among royalty. The first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director (for 2009's "The Hurt Locker"), Kathryn Bigelow, directed “The Loveless” in 1981 (William Defoe's first starring role) and “Near Dark” in 1987.

  • #48 Boy: Tyler

    - Rank in the 1980s: #48
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 86,453
    - Rank in 2018: #119 (3,298 babies born)

    Tyler has quite a literal translation, and comes from the Old English language derived from an occupational surname to designate an actual “tile maker.” Tyler was traditionally used as a masculine given name but has recently begun to gain more popularity as a feminine name. Steven Tyler was a huge musical influence during the 1980s; his band Aerosmith released “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” in 1987 and “What It Takes” in 1989.

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  • #48 Girl: Maria

    - Rank in the 1980s: #48
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 65,706
    - Rank in 2018: #116 (2,595 babies born)

    Maria is derived from the Hebrew “Miryam,” but the meaning has been debated over the years. There are a few possibilities, one being “rebellious woman,” but many believe it to mean “bitter.” The name is exceptionally popular among Christians due to its connection to the name “Mary.”

  • #47 Boy: Jose

    - Rank in the 1980s: #47
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 86,612
    - Rank in 2018: #89 (4,292 babies born)

    A variant of “Joseph” from Portugal and Spain, Jose comes from the Hebrew meaning for “God raises.” In the 1980s Jose Canseco was at the height of his baseball career, winning Rookie of the Year, MVP, and the World Series during the decade.

  • #47 Girl: Vanessa

    - Rank in the 1980s: #47
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 65,722
    - Rank in 2018: #230 (1,369 babies born)

    Vanessa first became popular as a girl's name in the mid-20th century, but the origin and meaning of the name is up for debate. Most agree that the name was invented by Anglo-Irish writer, Jonathan Swift, who first used the name in his poem "Cadenus and Vanessa." Others believe that the name is derived from the goddess Phanessa.

  • #46 Boy: Kenneth

    - Rank in the 1980s: #46
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 89,136
    - Rank in 2018: #226 (1,655 babies born)

    Kenneth derives from the Gaelic origin, and means “handsome.” Kenny G, one of the best-selling musicians in history and renowned for his romantic music, first rose to fame in the late 1980s with his album “Duotones,” and Kenny Loggins released his famous single “Footloose” in 1984.

  • #46 Girl: Alicia

    - Rank in the 1980s: #46
    - Average annual babies born in the 1980s: 66,962
    - Rank in 2018: #391 (786 babies born)

    Alicia, a variant of “Alice,” comes from the Old French word for “noble and graceful,” and was first popularized in Lewis Carroll's book, “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.” The name has been shared with the daughter of England's Queen Victoria's and the daughter of American President Theodore Roosevelt.

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