Trends in baby names tend to come and go, but one has remained a favorite among parents year after year for the last century. According to a new study by the Social Security Administration (SSA), James is the most popular baby name of the past 100 years.
Compiling data from 173,916,919 boys and 169,671,039 girls for every year since 1918, the SSA ranked each name by total occurrences based on Social Security applications. The agency found that nearly 4.8 million baby boys have been named James. The most popular girls’ name, Mary, on the other hand, was given to about 3.4 million babies.
There is one caveat: Researchers note that “the popular names listed are not necessarily consistently popular in every year,” adding that “James, [which] ranked as the most popular male name over the last 100 years, has been ranked as low as number 19.”
Parenting website BabyCenter explains that the name James, which means “one who follows,” first became popular during the 17th century following the reign of King James VI, who was the first ruler of Britain.
But even today, James remains a popular pick for parents, landing at number 17 on BabyCenter’s annual ranking of the top 100 names for 2018. The SSA also broke down the most popular names of last year based on state. James snagged the top spot in Alaska, D.C., and Montana, and came in the top five for many other states.
For the full list of baby-name rankings from 1918 to 2017, visit the SSA’s website.