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Baby names with the most timeless popularity

  • Baby names with the most timeless popularity

    Baby names are all unique, whether super popular or not as commonly known. Names also tend to follow trends; if a name was popular the year you were born, you might tend to know more people with that name. Every year, the Social Security Administration tallies the most popular baby names based on how many infants were registered with that name in the past year.

    The following names, however, never went out of style. Year after year, they remain in the top ranks for a variety of reasons: The names are usually traditional, whether they are biblical, royal, or family names. Some of these perennial favorites have clear etymological reasons that parents might choose. For example, the name Nicholas comes from the Latin “victory of the people”—a hard way to go wrong for a parent hoping to give their child every advantage in life.

    But other names have no such clear meaning that explains their popularity. One example is Charlotte, which comes from an obscure French recipe for a dessert similar to apple pie or apple tart. Some names receive a boost from famous figures who have that name in the time period they crest in popularity, while other decades of peak popularity for a given name are best seen in retrospect, with a look at famous bearers of the name who were born during that time.

    Stacker looked to the Social Security Administration Baby Names Database to round up the top 50 baby names for each gender with the most timeless popularity. Analyzing baby name popularity rankings by decade from 1900 to 2018 (the most recent year released), Stacker ranked names with the highest average ranking across all decades.

    These names have been at the top of the baby name list for over 100 years, and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

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  • #50. Katie (for girls)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #212.2
    - Most popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #42)
    - Least popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #420)
    - Popularity rank today: #449

    Katie is typically a nickname for the name Katherine or Kathleen. The name is associated with the Greek idea of purity, from the Greek word “catharsis,” which means to purge. Well-known Katies include Katie Couric, Katie Holmes, and the fictional character Katie Scarlett O’Hara, who is more commonly known by her middle name.

  • #50. Juan (for boys)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #137.6
    - Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #54)
    - Least popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #238)
    - Popularity rank today: #139

    Juan is the Spanish name for John, which traces its origins back to Hebrew, and means “God is gracious.” The libertine Don Juan is the original famous Juan, and the name has been carried on by Juans including the painter Juan Gris and the tennis player Juan Monaco.

  • #49. Ann (for girls)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #216.8
    - Most popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #33)
    - Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #948)
    - Popularity rank today: #983

    Ann is a less common spelling of Anne, and even less common than name-relatives Anna and Hannah. The actress Ann-Margret popularized the name in the middle of the century, but today one of the most famous Anns is a more polarizing figure—the political commentator Ann Coulter.

  • #49. Lawrence (for boys)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #135.3
    - Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #32)
    - Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #476)
    - Popularity rank today: #498

    The name Lawrence (alternatingly spelled Laurence) was a particularly popular name in the Middle Ages. Since then it has often been used to signify lassitude (“lazy Laurence”) which may explain its dip in popularity. However, this certainly doesn’t apply to one of today’s most famous Lawrences: TikTok star Lawrence Bing.

  • #48. Susan (for girls)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #214.0
    - Most popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #4)
    - Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #857)
    - Popularity rank today: not ranked in the top 1000

    Susan is a variation on the name Susanna. One of the most famous Susans in American history is the feminist Susan B. Anthony. Although the name has grown dramatically less popular in recent decades, the actress Susan Sarandon gave parents another reason to give the name Susan a look.

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  • #48. Aaron (for boys)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #135.3
    - Most popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #31)
    - Least popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #247)
    - Popularity rank today: #60

    Aaron is a biblical name for the brother of Moses. Some of the most well-known Aarons today are musicians (the rapper Aaron Yates) and athletes (the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Packers’ Aaron Rodgers).

  • #47. Frances (for girls)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #216.2
    - Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #9)
    - Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #696)
    - Popularity rank today: #445

    Frances is the French feminine version of the name Francis, which is a biblical reference to Saint Francis of Assisi. One of the best known Frances in 2020 is the main character in Sally Rooney’s wildly popular novel “Conversations with Friends,” which may contribute to a spike in the coming years.

  • #47. Russell (for boys)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #134.8
    - Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #52)
    - Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #411)
    - Popularity rank today: #413

    Russell is an old name deriving from the French word for red. One of today’s most famous Russells is the actor, comedian, radio host, author, and activist Russell Brand, who has over 11 million followers on Twitter alone.

  • #46. Jacqueline (for girls)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #181.0
    - Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #51)
    - Least popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #700)
    - Popularity rank today: #339

    Jacqueline is a French name that means “protected by God.” It's the female version of the French name “Jacques,” and has been in use since the 19th century. Jacqueline Kennedy contributed to the rise in this name's popularity in the 1960s, where it had its highest ranking.

  • #46. Steven (for boys)

    - Average rank 1900-today: #133.3
    - Most popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #11)
    - Least popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #370)
    - Popularity rank today: #198

    Steven has Greek origins, means “crown” or “wreath,” and has many different spellings—the original being Stephen. This name rose to the top of the charts in the 1950s and '60s, and remained in the top 150 for decades. Famous Stevens that have helped maintain the popularity are filmmaker Steven Spielberg, "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen, and musician Steven Tyler.

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