The Top Baby Names across a Century


I said to my wife, "I like Svetlana. That's a pretty name for a girl." "No," my wife said, "We're not Slavic and it's too unusual."

So we named our second daughter Sophia, which, unbeknownst to my wife, was to become the most popular baby name in America that year. And the next. There are Sophias my daughter's age everywhere.

The popularity of baby names changes over time. The above lists show the most popular baby names in the United States in 1911 and 2011. Over time, only the names William, James and Elizabeth have remained popular.


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I had similar issues with naming my kids. My (now ex) wife shot down all my names in favor of names that were more normal. You should check out the Baby Name Voyager. It's a pretty cool interactive name database showing name popularity back to the late 1800s.
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