Top baby names from the last 100 years show a steadfast love of classic baby names. Here we share the baby names that have stood the test of time and crop up year after year.
Choosing a baby name can be a hurdle most parents find tricky to navigate with many sticking to the most popular baby names for many reasons, though sometimes it's just because knowing the naming trends can give you the baby naming edge, just look at these fastest-every growing most popular US baby names.
While some parents think they should go for a more unusual baby name or even animal-inspired baby names, founder of MyNameForLife.com, Sherri Suzanne tells us; "Popular names are comfortable and recognisable, making them generally easier to pronounce and spell. Sharing a name with peers can make any child feel part of a community and a timid child feel a little less different. There are studies that suggest that a popular, and mainstream name is associated with access to opportunities."
According to the latest study from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) baby name data reveals the names that have consistently appeared in the popular names list over the last 100 years, and some of them are Royal baby names.... are you ready?
Top baby names from last 100 years
The official U.S. organization the Social Security Administration (SSA) shared the 100 most popular given names for male and female babies born during the last 100 years, 1923-2022. If you're bored of popular French names and much prefer some very classic name inspiration, check the Top 100 lists below, and get more fun stats about each name
100 baby boy names from last 100 years
100 baby girl names from last 100 years
15 most popular baby names in last 100 years
A total of 15 names have consistently made it into the top 100 most popular names every single decade, since the 1920s. The list includes a number of traditional British names favoured by the Royal family such as George, Charles, and Elizabeth.
On this list, are 13 boys' and just two girls' names, this could be down to the fact that parents like to play it a bit more creative with the little ladies in their life. Backing this suggestion, a whopping 339 different girls’ names appeared in the top 100 for each decade between the 1920s and 2010s, while for boys it was 276 boys’ names.
The study shows that girls’ names change a lot from decade to decade. For example, monikers like Gwendoline, Doris, and Vera were hugely desirable for baby girls in 1920s, but were soon replaced with names such as Robyn, Harriet, and Zoe in later decades. Whereas Alexander is a top player for most consistently popular name, having been in the charts every decade since the 1920s. While, it's shortened version Alex didn’t become popular as a standalone name until the 1980s.
Most popular baby names: 1921 - 2021
Analysis from My Nametags looked at data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to discover this.
Managing Director at My Nametags, Lars B. Andersen tells us: “At My Nametags, we have been tracking baby name trends for almost two decades. "Throughout the years, we have seen many names come and go, with trends often influenced by pop culture. However, there are some names that seem to have enduring appeal.
“It’s interesting to see that, whilst traditional monikers like Elizabeth and George are maintaining their charm, names in general are becoming more diverse as parents favour less formal options, and increasingly take inspiration from popular culture.
"For example, Maeve made the top 100 charts in 2020, a year after the Netflix show Sex Education aired for the first time with its lead character Maeve Wiley. As popular culture continues to have a wider social impact, we expect this trend to grow, leading to an even broader range of names in the UK.”
Founder of Namerology.com, Laura Wattenberg adds; "Parents today are actually leaning away from popular names more than ever before. We're as determined to stand out as past generations were to fit in. The irony is that by the standards of the past, there is no longer such a thing as a truly popular name. Historically, John and Mary would account for about 1 out of every 5 English babies. Oliver and Olivia today account for just 1 in 100."
What are the rule on naming a baby in the UK?
In terms of registering your baby's name, the rules are very clear. While you need to register your baby's birth within 42 days, you don't have to decide on their name within that time frame. In fact, you have up to one full year from the registration date to enter your baby's name into the register.
However, when it comes to what you can name your baby, there's surprisingly little legislation in the UK. According to the Office of National Statistics, "The UK has no law that restricts names that parents can legally give to their children. However, names that contain obscenities, numerals, misleading titles, or are impossible to pronounce are likely to be rejected by the Registering Officer."
So while you have carte blanche to name your baby almost anything, be prepared to have anything that could be considered to be offensive, refused. For example, the Court of Appeal recently stopped a Welsh mother from naming her twin girl 'Cyanide' due to the emotional harm the child could suffer as a result. The Court of Appeal ruled that naming the girl after a "notorious poison" that Adolf Hitler used to end his life was unacceptable.
If you're still looking for inspiration why not try this Tinder for baby names app or our baby name generator, or perhaps you know the genre you're after, and country baby names are where your heart lies. Know that if you change your mind you can always make a change, like these celebrities that have changed their baby's names.
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Stephanie Lowe is Family Editor at GoodToKnow covering all things parenting, pregnancy and more. She has over 13 years' experience as a digital journalist with a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to all things family and lifestyle. Stephanie lives in Kent with her husband and son, Ted. Just keeping on top of school emails/fund raisers/non-uniform days/packed lunches is her second full time job.
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