It’s hard to come up with an unique name, especially when it seems like everyone is naming their kids after Netflix characters. (Hey, Stranger Things have happened.) But data whiz Mike Barry recently discovered that parents have been plagued with parallel thought about names since 1910, so good luck blaming the Internet. Barry is about to be a new dad, so his extensive analysis makes sense. Using data from the Social Security Administration, he compiled the most popular baby names from 1910 to 2015 into one massive interactive map.
For boys, John and James dominated at the start of the 20th century. A few Roberts cracked the charts before a mid 1950s spike in Michaels — which was nothing compared to the surge of Mikes in the 1970s. Matthew, Jason, and Christopher carried the torch from there, until Tyler and Jacob took over the mid-to-late 1990s. Finally, Ethan, William, and the more economical Liam made up a majority of the 2000s. And today, Noah is playing with Mason.
For girls, Mary maintained a stronghold up until the 1950s, with a few Helens, Dorothys, Barbaras and Shirleys mixed in. Then there was the “Great Linda Takeover” of the mid-50s. Debs also increased during this time, with not one but 2 spellings (bra vs. borah). Lisa was the stars of the 1960s. By the 1970s, Jennifer was everywhere, along with Amandas, Jessicas, Ashelys, and Brittanys who made up the sorority known as the 1980s and 1990s. Taylor, Emily, Madison, and Hannah were all chilling at the Peach Pit in the late 1990s, before clearing the way for the Isabella, Ava, Sophia, Olivia, and Harper, who are all in the same Montessori class today.
All this goes to show you that if you think you have a bright idea for a baby name, the odds are another parent probably is thinking the same thing. But not everyone needs to make a Moxie Crimefighter or a Pilot Inspektor, and that’s totally cool. This chart proves that most parents generally suck at coming up with groundbreaking names, no matter what year it is. It’s almost as if you have bigger things to worry about.
[H/T] MS Barry