In the last 50 years, baby name trends have come and gone but some have stayed the same, according to the Social Security Administration’s database. The agency publishes the most popular girls’ and boys’ names for each year—and there are some surprising similarities between 1969 and today.
To compile the top names, which the SSA has been publishing since 1880, it looks at the records of nearly seven million male births and 8.5 million female births to determine how many times a name has been used.
The number one name in 1969 for boys was Michael, which has dropped to number 12 in the SSA’s most recent list (2017). For girls, the most popular name in 1969 was Lisa, which is completely gone from the top 100 today.
Other boys’ names that stayed in the top 20 over the last half-century include William, James, Joseph, and Daniel. On the other hand, the only girls’ name that remained in the top 20 was Elizabeth.
Why is there so much more consistency in boys’ names than girls’ names? Some experts believe it’s due to the fact that there are many more girls’ names out there as parents are more likely to give their daughters a unique moniker than their sons. “The culture is much more accepting of out-there girls’ names,” Matthew Hahn, co-author of a 2003 baby name study, explained to Time.
THE 25 MOST POPULAR GIRLS’ NAMES OF 1969
THE 25 MOST POPULAR BOYS’ NAMES OF 1969