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Baby names with the most timeless popularity

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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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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).

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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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#45. Angela (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #147.4
- Most popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #6)
- Least popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #283)
- Popularity rank today: #264

Angela is a way for parents to incorporate the word “angel” into their child's name. Angela comes from the Latin name Angelus, which translates to “angel.” In the Bible, it means “messenger of God.” The first record of the name Angela dates back to the 18th century.

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#45. Timothy (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #132.3
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #14)
- Least popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #338)
- Popularity rank today: #165

Timothy is a Greek name that means “honoring God.” It has consistently been in the top 150 names for the past 100 years and remains in the top 200. Famous Timothys that have contributed to the name's popularity are film director Tim Burton, actor Tim Conway, actor Tim Allen, and young Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet.

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#44. Lydia (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #198.5
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #91)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #316)
- Popularity rank today: #89

The biblical name of Lydia means kindness and “kindred spirit.” Two of the best known Lydias today are Lydia Davis, the novelist, short story writer, and essayist, and the Instagram influencer Lydia Kenney.

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#44. Nathan (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #132.1
- Most popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #25)
- Least popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #257)
- Popularity rank today: #48

Nathan is a Hebrew name meaning “he gave.” There has been an array of famous Nathans in recent decades, from the actor Nathan Lane to the rapper Nate Dogg to arguably the most famous contemporary Nathan—Nathans’ Famous Hotdogs.

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#43. Barbara (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #193.7
- Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #3)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #845)
- Popularity rank today: #930

Barbara derives from the Latin word barbarous—meaning strange and foreign, which, for women, has come to mean “exotic” and thus has positive connotations. Some of the most well-known Barbaras are talk show host Barbara Walters, singer Barbra Streisand, and former First Lady Barbara Bush.

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#43. Philip (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #131.1
- Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #57)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #414)
- Popularity rank today: #439

Equestrian parents may especially wish to consider naming their children Philip, which means “fond of horses.” However, parents who have received particularly good advice from one of today’s most famous Philips—Dr. Phil—may also want to think about this name for their children.

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#42. Josephine (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #201.1
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #25)
- Least popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #459)
- Popularity rank today: #91

Josephine is the feminine version of the name Joseph, which means “God will increase.” One of history’s most famous Josephines is the empress Josephine, who was married to Napoleon. The name’s popularity at the beginning of the 20th century produced another very famous Josephine—the singer Josephine Baker.

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#42. Albert (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #130.8
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #16)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #428)
- Popularity rank today: #452

Albert is a German name meaning “noble bright” or “noble family.” The name has had an illustrious history since the turn of the 20th century, with Albert Einstein, Albert Camus, and Albert Pujols representing the name at the highest levels of science, literature, and sports.

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#41. Jane (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #188.3
- Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #41)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #431)
- Popularity rank today: #291

Jane is a feminine version of John, and means “Jehovah has been gracious.” One of the most well-known Janes in history is the novelist Jane Austen, whose famous novel “Pride and Prejudice” continues to be adapted frequently for stage and screen.

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#41. Christopher (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #130.5
- Most popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #2)
- Least popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #342)
- Popularity rank today: #42

Christopher has been a go-to name for parents for decades, holding the #2 ranking for 30 years. The lowest the name has ever fallen was #147, never out of the top 150 names for boys. Christopher has origins in Greece, and means “Christ-bearer.”

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#40. Annie (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #198.8
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #17)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #398)
- Popularity rank today: #308

Annie is a nickname for Anne or Ann. Iconoclastic parents may want to consider naming their children Annie after the famous rifle markswoman Annie Oakley, although the name is also now associated with the controversial filmmaker Woody Allen’s film “Annie Hall.”

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#40. Ronald (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #127.3
- Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #10)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #408)
- Popularity rank today: #493

Ronald has a variety of origins, mainly in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The name's meaning is “rules with counsel.” One famous Ronald that contributed to the name's popularity was President Ronald Reagan.

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#39. Audrey (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #139.8
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #41)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #251)
- Popularity rank today: #46

Audrey has a regal and leadership-oriented etymology, meaning “noble might.” Some of the most famous Audreys in the past century include the beloved actress Audrey Hepburn and the businesswoman and CEO Audrey Gelman.

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#39. Louis (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #123.9
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #23)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #311)
- Popularity rank today: #263

The name Louis is a derivative of an Old German word meaning “famous in war.” The name has been held by some of the best-known names in fashion and music, including the behemoth French luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton, and the singer Louis Armstrong.

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#38. Esther (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #187.8
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #35)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #324)
- Popularity rank today: #153

The biblical name of Esther comes from the Persian word “star.” The name has become less popular in recent decades, with one of the most well-known Esthers including famous mid-century swimmer and actress Esther Williams.

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#38. Arthur (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #122.3
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #16)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #351)
- Popularity rank today: #230

Although the etymology of Arthur is disputed, some believe that it means “man” or “king.” Certainly King Arthur is one of the most famous in history, whereas more recent well-known Arthurs include author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the titular character of the animated children’s series “Arthur.”

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#37. Kathleen (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #154.2
- Most popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #16)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #738)
- Popularity rank today: #894

Kathleen is the Irish equivalent of Catherine, meaning “pure one.” There are many Kathleens in Hollywood, including Kathy Bates, Kathy Ireland, Kathy Griffin, and Kathleen Turner.

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#37. Walter (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #118.9
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #11)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #358)
- Popularity rank today: #271

Walter is an Old German name meaning “ruler of the army.” The short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” by author James Thurber has been adapted for the big screen and is one of the best-known Walters of the 20th century.

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#36. Christine (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #164.9
- Most popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #23)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #742)
- Popularity rank today: #926

Christine is the French version of Christina, and means “anointed one.” It is also the female version of Christopher and was popular in the 1970s when names ending in "e" were in vogue. Christine was the protagonist in “Phantom of the Opera,” cementing the name in literary and theatrical history.

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#36. Martin (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #117.1
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #72)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #266)
- Popularity rank today: #272

Unusually, many etymologists believe that the name Martin has no particular meaning (except perhaps as a derivative of the Roman god of war, Mars). That hasn’t held many Martins back from significant accomplishments, including the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., and the religious reformer Martin Luther.

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#35. Anne (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #168.5
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #57)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #570)
- Popularity rank today: #599

Anne is a biblical name for the mother of the Virgin Mary. Today, some of the best-known Annes include the actress Anne Hathaway, and the author Anne Frank, whose “The Diary of Anne Frank” has sold more than 30 million copies since being first published in Dutch as "Het Achterhuis" ("The Secret Annex") in 1947. 

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#35. Alexander (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #109.7
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #9)
- Least popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #205)
- Popularity rank today: #11

Alexander is a Greek name meaning to protect. Some of the most famous Alexanders in history have done exactly that, including the Greek king Alexander the Great. More recent well-known Alexanders include founding father Alexander Hamilton, the inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and the actor Alexander Skarsgard.

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#34. Amy (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #161.9
- Most popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #4)
- Least popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #345)
- Popularity rank today: #205

Amy is derived from the old French Amee, meaning beloved. Although the name peaked in popularity in the 1970s, one of the most famous Amys was more recent—the iconic singer Amy Winehouse, who tragically died in 2011.

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#34. Mark (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #107.8
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #7)
- Least popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #208)
- Popularity rank today: #210

Marks are meant to make a mark; their name literally means a sign, a boundary, a designation, or an impression. Marks living up to these high expectations in recent years have included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the actor and activist Mark Ruffalo.

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#33. Martha (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #183.7
- Most popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #23)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #750)
- Popularity rank today: #797

Martha is an Aramaic name meaning “lady” or “mistress.” One of the most famous businesswomen of the past 50 years is the domestic empress Martha Stewart, who is worth an estimated $640 million.

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#33. Victor (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #102.9
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #77)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #152)
- Popularity rank today: #177

No surprises here: the name Victor means victorious. The author Victor Hugo was popular in the 1910s when the name peaked in popularity, although it has declined in popularity a century later, with some of the most famous Victors including the actor Victor Garber and the football player Victor Cruz.

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#32. Caroline (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #161.3
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #67)
- Least popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #281)
- Popularity rank today: #55

Caroline is the feminine form of Charles. The name is more popular today than it has been in decades, with some of the most famous Carolines including the ambassador and presidential daughter Caroline Kennedy and the Instagram-famous writer Caroline Calloway. A popular TV show on the CW that ran from 2009 to 2017, "The Vampire Diaries," also featured a main character named Caroline. 

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#32. Vincent (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #96.8
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #71)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #117)
- Popularity rank today: #107

Vincent is derived from the Latin word “to conquer.” The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh popularized the name in the 19th century, and in the 20th and 21st centuries, the legacy was carried on by the radio personality Vincent Price and the actor Vince Vaughan, among others.

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#31. Theresa (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #217.3
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #42)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #922)
- Popularity rank today: not ranked in the top 1,000

Theresa is thought to come from the Greek for “harvester.” The name peaked in popularity in the middle of the 20th century, when one of today’s most famous Theresas—former British Prime Minister Theresa May—was born.

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#31. Nicholas (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #96.7
- Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #8)
- Least popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #159)
- Popularity rank today: #74

Nicholas comes from the Latin “nicholaus” which means “victory people,” or the Greek “nike,” which means “victory.” Some of the most famous Nicks today are entertainers, from the actors Nicolas Cage and Nick Nolte to musician Nick Jonas.

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#30. Eva (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #170.4
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #40)
- Least popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #342)
- Popularity rank today: #75

The name Eva derives from the biblical Eve. Actresses Eva Longoria and Eva Mendes are two of the most famous today, although one of the most famous of the early 20th century, when the name was at its peak popularity, is far less beloved: Hitler’s partner Eva Braun.

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#30. Jesse (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #93.6
- Most popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #48)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #163)
- Popularity rank today: #185

Jesse is a biblical name from a section of the Bible that foretells the coming of Christ. The name peaked in popularity in the 1980s, when the actor Jesse Eisenberg was born, but decades earlier, one of the 20th century’s best-known Jesses was given the name: civil rights activist and politician Jesse Jackson.

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#29. Ruby (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #161.2
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #24)
- Least popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #370)
- Popularity rank today: #74

The name Ruby derives from the precious stone with the same name. The name was more popular a century ago than it is today, but that didn’t stop the parents of the actress, model, and TV presenter Ruby Rose’s parents from naming her Ruby when she was born in the 1980s. Earlier in the century, civil rights activist Ruby Bridges—who was only 6 years old when in 1960 she became the first African American child to attend a previously all-white school in New Orleans—was born in '54.  

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#29. Jose (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #93.2
- Most popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #33)
- Least popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #156)
- Popularity rank today: #89

Jose is the Spanish for Joseph, which means “God shall add.” The name spiked in popularity in the 2000s, but one of the best known Joses has actually been around much longer: the phrase “no way, Jose,” which originated in the 1960s as a way to say “absolutely not” or “never.”

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#28. Virginia (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #163.1
- Most popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #8)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #553)
- Popularity rank today: #540

Virginia was the colony name in honor of the British Queen Elizabeth I—the virgin queen. The name peaked in popularity in the 1920s, and one of the most famous Virginias came from that time period, writer Virginia Woolf.

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#28. Donald (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #93.2
- Most popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #7)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #437)
- Popularity rank today: #526

While the current ranking of Donald is low, it has remained in the top 200 names over the past century. Donald is of Scottish origin and means “mighty.” Some of the most notable Donalds in history are classic cartoon character Donald Duck, and actors Donald Glover and Donald Sutherland.

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#27. Marie (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #168.8
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #9)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #582)
- Popularity rank today: #576

The origins of the name Marie are disputed, with some saying it means “sea of sorrow” and others saying “wished-for child.” The name was most popular at the turn of the 20th century, with a wealth of well-known Maries to choose from, from the former queen Marie Antoinette to the scientist Marie Curie.

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#27. Matthew (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #89.7
- Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #3)
- Least popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #201)
- Popularity rank today: #20

Matthew means “gift.” The name peaked in popularity in the 1990s, perhaps in part due to the actor Matthew Perry, who was an actor on the hit television show “Friends,” which defined the decade in entertainment for many.

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#26. Lillian (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #158.6
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #12)
- Least popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #417)
- Popularity rank today: #34

The name Lillian comes from the lily flower. Although the name reached its nadir in the 1980s, some of the most famous Lilys today were born in that decade, including the singer Lily Allen and the model Lily Cole.

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#26. Frank (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #85.7
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #8)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #341)
- Popularity rank today: #392

While Frank has recently taken a dive from the top ranks of baby names, it remains a popular choice. Frank is of German descent and came from the word for “spear” in medieval times. The name was made popular in the past century by classic crooner Frank Sinatra, and more recently, pop singer Frank Ocean.

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#25. Helen (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #157.9
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #2)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #415)
- Popularity rank today: #413

The name Helen derives from the Greek word for “the bright one.” The name was most popular early on in the 20th century, perhaps due to the influence of the activist Helen Keller.

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#25. Patrick (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #84.5
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #34)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #157)
- Popularity rank today: #189

The name Patrick was made famous by the Saint Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland. The name peaked in popularity in the 1960s, which is one of the most famous Patricks alive today was born, actor Patrick Dempsey.

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#24. Charlotte (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #137.3
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #16)
- Least popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #294)
- Popularity rank today: #6

Charlotte has an extremely specific origin: it means “apple marmalade covered with bread-crumbs” from an old French recipe. It has peaked in popularity in recent years, perhaps in appreciation of famous Charlottes, including the French actress Charlotte Rampling, the royal Charlotte Casiraghi, or perennial favorite, E.B. White's Charlotte the spider. Charlotte was also the name of one of the key characters in the popular show "Sex in the City," which ran from 1998 to 2004, and was followed by two feature films. 

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#24. Stephen (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #84.4
- Most popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #22)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #248)
- Popularity rank today: #284

Stephen means “crown,” “wreath,” or “garland.” The name was most popular in the middle of the 20th century, which is when two of the most notable Stephens of the past century were born, the novelist Stephen King and the scientist Stephen Hawking.

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#23. Nancy (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #144.4
- Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #7)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #731)
- Popularity rank today: #839

Nancy has Hebrew origins and is a variation of Anne or Ann, which means “grace.” While its current ranking is low, Nancy remains a classic name. A few famous Nancys are former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, former figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, and singer Nancy Sinatra.

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#23. Peter (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #75.1
- Most popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #38)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #204)
- Popularity rank today: #211

Peter is a biblical name meaning “stone” or “rock.” The name was most popular in the 1950s and has dipped in popularity in ensuing decades, but that didn’t stop the parents of bassist Pete Wentz from giving him the name in 1979, or the actor Pete Davidson’s parents from doing the same in 1993.

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#22. Alice (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #150.6
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #11)
- Least popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #404)
- Popularity rank today: #71

Alice derives from the ancient Greek word for “truth.” The name was most popular early in the 20th century, which is when some of the most famous Alices were born, including the writer Alice Walker and the chef Alice Waters.

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#22. Benjamin (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #74.3
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #12)
- Least popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #135)
- Popularity rank today: #6

Benjamin is a biblical name that means “son of the right hand.” The name is more popular today than ever, perhaps due to the many Benjamins who have made a name for themselves in Hollywood, including Ben Affleck and Ben Stiller—or the fact that the name stands in for $100 bills (“Benjamins”).

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#21. Rose (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #143.1
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #16)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #336)
- Popularity rank today: #123

The name Rose comes from the color rose—which ultimately derives from the flower. The name was most popular in the 1910s, a fact the director James Cameron noted when he named his leading lady Rose in “Titanic,” set in 1912.

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#21. Raymond (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #74.1
- Most popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #15)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #264)
- Popularity rank today: #299

The name Raymond is meant to indicate good judgment. It was most popular in the early decades of the 20th century, which is when the singer Ray Charles was born, although it has been given a boost in more recent decades by actor Ray Liotta and the titular character of the hit television show “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

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#20. Ruth (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #139.5
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #5)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #347)
- Popularity rank today: #265

Ruth is a biblical name meaning “friend” or “companion.” The name peaked in popularity in the early 20th century, which is when one of today’s most famous Ruths was born: the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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#20. Jack (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #66.6
- Most popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #17)
- Least popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #170)
- Popularity rank today: #28

Jack is typically a derivative or nickname from the more formal John. This was the case with one of the most famous Jacks of the 20th century, President John F. Kennedy, who was called Jack by his family and friends.

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#19. Emma (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #141.6
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #2)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #433)
- Popularity rank today: #1

Emma was originally a shortened version of longer German names beginning with Ermen, which means universal or whole. The name is extremely popular today, thanks perhaps in part to famous Emmas like the actresses Emma Thompson, Emma Stone, Emma Watson, and Emma Roberts, and the YouTube sensation Emma Chamberlain.

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#19. Henry (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #66.1
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #11)
- Least popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #138)
- Popularity rank today: #16

Henry means “ruler of the house.” It was most popular in the early 1900s, which is when the famous Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was born, and the inventor Henry Ford was peaking in fame.

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#18. Rachel (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #117.4
- Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #14)
- Least popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #191)
- Popularity rank today: #198

Rachel is a biblical name for the wife of Jacob. The name was most popular in the 1990s, which should come as no surprise to those who know the fictional character Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston on the hit TV show “Friends.” The character was so popular she even had a haircut named after her—one of the decade’s most famous.

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#18. Kenneth (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #53.2
- Most popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #15)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #193)
- Popularity rank today: #226

Kenneth is a Celtic name that means “born of fire.” The name has been popular since the ninth century when Kenneth I became King of Scotland. Throughout pop culture, Kenneth, or the nicknames Kenny and Ken, have all surfaced frequently, from Barbie's iconic boyfriend to country singer Kenny Chesney.

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#17. Victoria (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #110.9
- Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #21)
- Least popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #250)
- Popularity rank today: #21

The name Victoria has been around for hundreds of years dating back to the 19th century because of Queen Victoria of England, who had the longest reign of any monarch until her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her record. The Latin word for “victorious,” this name has remained popular through the centuries.

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#17. George (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #51.2
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #4)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #144)
- Popularity rank today: #127

The name George is derived from the Greek word for “farmer” or “earthworker.” Although the name has dipped in popularity in recent years, it may be due for a resurgence, due to one recent famous George: the first child of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

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#16. Sara (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #111.1
- Most popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #29)
- Least popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #168)
- Popularity rank today: #173

Sara is a popular alternative spelling of Sarah, which means “princess.” Some of the most popular Sara/Sarahs today include the actress Sarah Jessica Parker, the comedian Sarah Silverman, and the politician Sarah Palin.

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#16. Samuel (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #49.3
- Most popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #23)
- Least popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #81)
- Popularity rank today: #21

Samuel is of Hebrew origin and means “His Name is God” and is popular in the Old Testament. It hasn't fallen out of the top 100 names for boys since the 19th century, and remains in the top 100 today. Famous Samuels include Samuel Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sammy Sosa.

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#15. Grace (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #125.7
- Most popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #16)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #366)
- Popularity rank today: #24

Grace means God’s love, favor, or help. Parents have plenty of role models to name their Graces after, including the beloved actress Grace Kelly, the rocker Grace Potter, and the singer-songwriter Grace Slick.

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#15. Paul (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #48.6
- Most popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #14)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #202)
- Popularity rank today: #234

The name Paul originated in the New Testament: Paul the Apostle was one of the founders of Christianity. Paul is an English name that means “little.” For the past 100 years, Paul has remained in the top tier of names for baby boys.

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#14. Evelyn (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #103.4
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #12)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #264)
- Popularity rank today: #10

Evelyn means “wished-for child,” and is of English origin, but originally stems from the French name “Aveline.” Evelyn has remained within the top 200 baby names for the past century, and cracked the top 10 for the first time in 2017.

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#14. Edward (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #48.4
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #8)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #156)
- Popularity rank today: #169

The name Edward is of Old English origin and means “wealthy guard.” It was popularized by the British royal family, most notably, King Edward VIII who abdicated the throne in 1936. Other famous Edwards include Edward, Earl of Wessex, Edward Norton, and Ed Burns.

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#13. Emily (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #106.5
- Most popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #2)
- Least popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #246)
- Popularity rank today: #12

Emily is the female version of the medieval name Aemilius, is of Latin origin, and means “industrious.” The short, classic name remains a popular choice for parents. Famous Emilys include authors Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson, and actress Emily Blunt.

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#13. Andrew (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #40.3
- Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #8)
- Least popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #81)
- Popularity rank today: #43

Andrew is of Greek origin, and means “warrior.” Andrew broke the top 10 list and held its position among the most popular names for two decades. It's never fallen below the top 100 names. The name Andrew dates back to one of Jesus' apostles and is the name of many other saints. Queen Elizabeth II's son, Prince Andrew, helped to make the name even more popular.

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#12. Kathryn (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #102.5
- Most popular decade: 1980s (average rank: #50)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #321)
- Popularity rank today: #453

An alternate spelling of “Catherine,” Kathryn makes this list of most timeless and popular baby girl names. This particular spelling is of English origin, means “pure one,” and has been in use since the 19th century.

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#12. Richard (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #33.6
- Most popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #5)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #148)
- Popularity rank today: #188

With an average popularity ranking of #12, Richard has long been a beloved name. With German origins, the name means “powerful,” and has many nicknames including Dick, Rick, and Ricky. Some famous Richards in history have been President Richard Nixon, radio and TV personality Dick Clark, and actor Richard Gere.

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#11. Rebecca (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #92.8
- Most popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #16)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #180)
- Popularity rank today: #214

The name Rebecca first appeared in the Old Testament, spelled “Rebekah.” This Hebrew name means “captivating.” Famous Rebeccas throughout pop culture include actress Rebecca Romijn and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff.

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#11. Anthony (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #30.5
- Most popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #10)
- Least popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #51)
- Popularity rank today: #38

Anthony has been in the top 50 names for boys for the past century, its lowest ranking being #47. It has a Latin origin, meaning “priceless one.” It also holds strong Italian heritage, as St. Anthony is a patron saint of Italy. Nicknames and variations include Tony, Antonio, and Antony. Anthony has been a popular name throughout history, with notable Tonys including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, skateboarder Tony Hawk, actor Anthony Hopkins, and singer Tony Bennett.

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#10. Maria (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #83.6
- Most popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #34)
- Least popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #143)
- Popularity rank today: #116

Maria originally has Greek origins but is common throughout Europe. Maria has royal connections as the name of two queens of Portugal. The best known who have helped keep the name atop of the charts are opera singer Maria Callas, journalist Maria Shriver, and actress Maria Menounos.

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#10. Daniel (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #25.2
- Most popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #7)
- Least popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #54)
- Popularity rank today: #15

Daniel means “God is my judge” in Hebrew. The name hit an all-time high with a #5 ranking in the 2000s. Famous Daniels include Daniel Radcliffe, Daniel Day Lewis, Daniel Craig, and Dan Rather.

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#9. Julia (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #83.0
- Most popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #34)
- Least popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #131)
- Popularity rank today: #93

Julia comes from the male name, Julius. Julia was also a character in Shakespeare's play “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” Before the 20th century, Julia became increasingly popular thanks to poet Julia Ward Howe. The highest rank in popularity was in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, potentially owing to the rise of Julia Roberts. Julia is of Latin origin and means “youthful.”

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#9. Charles (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #22.8
- Most popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #5)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #58)
- Popularity rank today: #52

Never falling below the #60 ranking, Charles has remained a popular name for the past 100 years. The name has German origins, meaning “full-grown man.” One of the best-known men named Charles is Prince Charles, heir to the British throne.

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#8. Laura (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #82.5
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #17)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #312)
- Popularity rank today: #340

Laura was originally a Latin name derived from the word “laurus,” or laurel, an evergreen shrub used in crowns. There have been many Lauras throughout history, notably former First Lady Laura Bush, writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, and actress Laura Prepon.

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#8. Thomas (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #19.9
- Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #8)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #55)
- Popularity rank today: #49

With the lowest ranking of #54 over the past century, Thomas remains one of the most popular names for baby boys. The name has religious connotations: Thomas was an apostle, and St. Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury. With a handful of different spellings and nicknames such as Tom, Thommy, Tommy, Thom, and Tommas, Thomas simply means "twin" and has a Greek origin.

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#7. Katherine (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #61.4
- Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #30)
- Least popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #99)
- Popularity rank today: #112

The most popular spelling among parents is Katherine, meaning “pure” in Greek. It was most popular in the 1990s, and remains in the top 200 names of the past century.

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#7. Michael (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #17.4
- Most popular decade: 1970s (average rank: #1)
- Least popular decade: 1920s (average rank: #52)
- Popularity rank today: #14

A name of Hebrew origin, it means “who is like God.” The #1 name from the 1960s to the 1990s was influenced by superstars like Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan.

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#6. Catherine (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #64.8
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #20)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #181)
- Popularity rank today: #204

More popular than its counterparts, Kathryn and Katherine, Catherine ranks significantly higher. It still holds the same origin and meaning; the Greek word for “pure.” One of today's most famous Catherines is the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton. Other notables include Catherine the Great and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.

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#6. Robert (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #13.3
- Most popular decade: 1930s (average rank: #1)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #62)
- Popularity rank today: #71

It's no surprise that Robert has never fallen below #71 on the top baby names for boys and spent a century in the top 25. It is German for “bright fame,” and has many nicknames, like Bob, Bobby, Rob, and Robbie. Famous Roberts include Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, Robert Pattinson, Robert Downey Jr., and Rob Gronkowski.

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#5. Margaret (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #59.7
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #4)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #160)
- Popularity rank today: #127

Margaret is of Greek origin, despite its widespread popularity in Ireland and England. The meaning of the name is “pearl.” Famous women by this name include Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as actress Meg Ryan, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

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#5. David (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #13.2
- Most popular decade: 1960s (average rank: #2)
- Least popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #31)
- Popularity rank today: #22

Never falling lower than the top 25, David has stayed afloat as one of the most popular and timeless baby names for a century. With Hebrew origins, the name David is used frequently throughout the Bible. St. David is the patron saint of Wales, and was also the name of a number of royals. Other famous Davids are David Bowie and David Beckham.

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#4. Sarah (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #48.9
- Most popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #5)
- Least popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #104)
- Popularity rank today: #67

Sarah means “princess” in Hebrew. Sarah was the wife of Abraham, which in itself makes Sarah an incredibly popular traditional name. The highest ranking, in the 1990s, could be traced back to Sarah Jessica Parker's rise to fame as well as a tribute to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.

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#4. Joseph (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #11.1
- Most popular decade: 1910s (average rank: #6)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #20)
- Popularity rank today: #23

Joseph translates to “God will increase” in Hebrew, was mentioned in the Old Testament, and is the name of the Virgin Mary's husband. In 100 years, Joseph has never fallen out of the top 25 most popular names for boys. Famous Josephs include baseball player Joe DiMaggio, former Vice President Joe Biden, quarterback Joe Montana, and singer-songwriter Joe Jonas.

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#3. Anna (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #47.3
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #4)
- Least popular decade: 1950s (average rank: #101)
- Popularity rank today: #54

Anna is a form of Anne which means “grace,” and can be traced back to the Hebrew name Channah or Hannah. There is also St. Anne, the mother of Virgin Mary.

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#3. John (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #7.6
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #1)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #27)
- Popularity rank today: #27

John has never fallen below the #30 spot on most popular baby boy names. John means “the grace or mercy of the Lord,” and has Hebrew origins; John was also one of the most well-known apostles. In 1960, John was #3 for baby boy names, most likely due to the president at the time, John F. Kennedy. From there, the list of famous Johns goes on: John Legend, John Travolta, John McCain, and John Mayer.

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#2. Mary (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #24.3
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #1)
- Least popular decade: 2010s (average rank: #120)
- Popularity rank today: #126

Mary held the top spot for baby girl names for four consecutive decades between the 1920s and 1950s, but has since dropped significantly. Mary is of Hebrew origin, with many references in the bible (not least of all as Jesus' mother), and means “bitter.”

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#2. William (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #7.0
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #2)
- Least popular decade: 1990s (average rank: #18)
- Popularity rank today: #3

The lowest ranking of the name William was in the 1990s, when it held the #18 spot. William is an English name that means “resolute protector.” One of the most famous Williams in the world is the possible future King of England, Prince William, who has helped keep the name popular in recent years.

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#1. Elizabeth (for girls)

- Average rank 1900-today: #13.4
- Most popular decade: 1900s (average rank: #6)
- Least popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #24)
- Popularity rank today: #13

Elizabeth is the most popular name for girls over the past 100 years. Elizabeth has many variations, including Lizzie, Eliza, Liz, and Beth. The Hebrew name means “my God is beautiful.” Famous Elizabeths in history include Queen Elizabeth II, actress Elizabeth Taylor, businesswoman Elizabeth Arden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

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#1. James (for boys)

- Average rank 1900-today: #5.9
- Most popular decade: 1940s (average rank: #1)
- Least popular decade: 2000s (average rank: #17)
- Popularity rank today: #4

The #1 most timeless name for boys is James. James is a Hebrew name that means “follower.” In English, it can also be a form of Jacob. The name has remained consistently popular over the past 100 years, remaining at the top for two decades: the 1940s and 1950s. Other famous people named James are actors James Corden, James Brolin, and James Franco.

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