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Baby names that gained the most popularity the year you were born

  • Baby names that gained the most popularity the year you were born

    Names can be a funny thing. It doesn’t take much to make one shoot up or down the naming charts, whether it’s a hit song or a lovable character from movies or TV. Rather than just looking at what the most popular name was the year you were born, Stacker wanted to dive a little deeper to find out the names that were the biggest movers and shakers each year for the past century.

    To determine the baby names that gained the most popularity in each of the past 100 years, Stacker consulted the Social Security Administration's historical baby names database. For each year from 1920 to 2018, we calculated the baby names (for both girls and boys) from the top 1,000 most popular names for that year which had risen the most ranks from their popularity in the previous year. The ranks and numbers of babies for each name in each year are also included in the story.

    With each slide, also listed are some factors that may have affected name choices that year, from historical and pop culture influences to names that seemingly came out of nowhere. For instance, R&B and rap had a profound effect in the 1990s, with hundreds of Myas, Dangelos, and Shaquans being added to the world. Presidents also made their mark, with Lyndon Baines Johnson pushing his name onto the list twice, once in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Kennedy also spiked as a result.

    Nowhere will you find a bigger influencer than movies and television, with names like Dawson, Landon, Errol, and Rick picking up steam from off the screen.

    If you’re curious if your name was a mover and shaker in the last 100 years, Stacker has you covered, from Axel to Zina, so keep reading to find the baby names that gained the most popularity the year you were born.

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  • 1920: Bryce (boys), Myrl (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Bryce (gained 252 places)
    --- Rank in 1919: #832 (62 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1920: #580 (115 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Myrl (gained 197 places)
    --- Rank in 1919: #984 (53 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1920: #787 (84 babies born)

    A variant of the name Brice, a Celtic name meaning “speckled,” Bryce was the surname of a Mormon Pioneer—Ebenezer Bryce—after whom Bryce Canyon National Park is named. Myrl may have gained some traction thanks to the short story “Dora Myrl, The Lady Detective,” part of a popular series by M. McDonnell Bodkin at the turn of the century. The name Bryce lives on today through athletes Bryce Harper and Bryce Petty, and for a girl in actress Bryce Dallas-Howard, while Myrl has faded off the charts.

  • 1921: Dante (boys), Henry (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Dante (gained 264 places)
    --- Rank in 1920: #826 (66 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1921: #562 (125 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Henry (gained 151 places)
    --- Rank in 1920: #893 (66 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1921: #742 (97 babies born)

    One of the most famous bearers of the name Dante before 1921 was Italian poet Dante Alighieri, who wrote “The Divine Comedy.” Henry as a girl’s name peaked in popularity in 1882 by reaching the top 500, and saw a slight resurgence, perhaps in part as a nod to the overwhelming popularity of Henry Ford. While Henry has virtually disappeared as a girl’s name, Dante is the given name of rapper/actor Mos Def and has remained in the top 500 as a boy’s name since 1974.

  • 1922: Daryl (boys), Marilynn (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Daryl (gained 417 places)
    --- Rank in 1921: #843 (67 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1922: #426 (199 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Marilynn (gained 269 places)
    --- Rank in 1921: #657 (125 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1922: #388 (283 babies born)

    A variant of the name Darrell, from French origin meaning “beloved,” Daryl jumped over 400 spots from 1921–22. Daryl is recognized as a girl’s name with actress Daryl Hannah. It is also borne by male musician Daryl Hall and former NFL fullback Daryl Johnston. Marilynn began being used in the 1920s, and traces its roots to two revered women in the Bible, the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene.

  • 1923: Jordan (boys), Laurel (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Jordan (gained 257 places)
    --- Rank in 1922: #949 (54 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1923: #692 (87 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Laurel (gained 288 places)
    --- Rank in 1922: #774 (89 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1923: #486 (202 babies born)

    A Hebrew name meaning “to flow down,” Jordan was originally given to people baptized in water from the River Jordan, and rose in popularity in the early 1920s partially from increased Jewish migration from Europe around World War I. Jordan would rise again in the early 1990s, as both a boys and girls name, thanks to basketball superstar Michael Jordan. Laurel stems from Latin in reference to the laurel wreath, a symbol of peace and success in ancient Rome.

  • 1924: Virgle (boys), Ocie (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Virgle (gained 264 places)
    --- Rank in 1923: #941 (53 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1924: #677 (92 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Ocie (gained 205 places)
    --- Rank in 1923: #991 (57 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1924: #786 (91 babies born)

    Virgle draws its roots as a variation of Virgil, the name of a Roman poet in the first century, who wrote the "Aeneid." Virgil dropped slightly in popularity from 1923–24 as the variant Virgle rose. Ocie has been used as a unisex name, but fell out of usage since the 1930s, with only nine Ocie’s born in 2012.

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  • 1925: Dexter (boys), Ofelia (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Dexter (gained 315 places)
    --- Rank in 1924: #984 (51 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1925: #669 (91 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Ofelia (gained 202 places)
    --- Rank in 1924: #788 (89 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1925: #586 (151 babies born)

    Dexter picked up a little steam in 1925 as the name of the protagonist from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 short story “Winter Dreams.” Stemming from the Old English surname for someone who works with dyes, Dexter is thought of today for the serial killer in the Showtime series of the same name based on a series of novels. Ophelia, meaning “help,” was made famous by Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in 1600, with the Spanish/Italian variant form Ofelia emerging as a girl’s name in 1920.

  • 1926: Kirby (boys), Georgene (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Kirby (gained 257 places)
    --- Rank in 1925: #983 (48 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1926: #726 (77 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Georgene (gained 248 places)
    --- Rank in 1925: #996 (56 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1926: #748 (92 babies born)

    A French feminine of the name George, Georgene, meaning “farmer,” gained prominence thanks partially to Georgene Faulkner, a popular children’s author in the early 20th century. Kirby draws its roots from an English surname meaning “church settlement” in Norse. Kirby remained popular through the mid-20th century through the characters of icon John Wayne, who played five characters that used the name.

  • 1927: Valentino (boys), Vilma (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Valentino (gained 302 places)
    --- Rank in 1926: #979 (49 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1927: #677 (90 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Vilma (gained 192 places)
    --- Rank in 1926: #669 (117 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1927: #477 (213 babies born)

    European V-names accounted for the biggest gains for both genders in 1927, with the Italian Valentino, and Swedish-Russian Vilma surging. Valentino, meaning “strong, healthy,” stems from Valentine, a third-century saint and namesake for the February holiday. Two actors during the Silent Film era helped keep their respective names in popular culture, with Hungarian American actress Vilma Banky starring in two movies alongside Rudolph Valentino.

  • 1928: Duncan (boys), Charmaine (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Duncan (gained 237 places)
    --- Rank in 1927: #900 (57 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1928: #663 (89 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Charmaine (gained 436 places)
    --- Rank in 1927: #856 (74 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1928: #420 (264 babies born)

    Duncan stems from Gaelic, meaning “dark warrior,” and was borne by two Scottish kings, one of which was featured in the Shakespearean play “MacBeth.” A surge in Scottish immigration in the early 1920s can be partially credited for the name’s success, with over 350,000 Scots entering the U.S. during the decade. The 1924 play and 1926 silent comedy “What Price Glory?” brought the name Charmaine into existence, as the lead female character in the year’s second-highest grossing film.

  • 1929: Evert (boys), Jeanine (girls)

    - Boys name that gained the most popularity: Evert (gained 275 places)
    --- Rank in 1928: #981 (49 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1929: #706 (77 babies born)
    - Girls name that gained the most popularity: Jeanine (gained 406 places)
    --- Rank in 1928: #888 (68 babies born)
    --- Rank in 1929: #482 (197 babies born)

    A Dutch-Swedish take on the Germanic name Everard, meaning “brave boar,” Evert is still a popular name in the Netherlands despite falling off the SSA list in 1938. While perhaps the most famous Evert is Chris Evert Lloyd, an alternate spelling, Everett, has surged into the top 100 as of 2018. The 1928 hit film “Jeannine, I Dream of Lilac Time” sent both this name, and the alternate spelling Jeanine, meaning “God is gracious,” shooting up the SSA list.

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