The ABC’s of #1 Names, 1880-2015

Have you ever wondered what the most popular name was for each letter of the alphabet?

Two years ago I began a mini-project to find that out for every year since 1880, the first year for which the Social Security Administration publishes birth data.  At some point I walked away from it and forgot about it, only to recall it last week.  So, two years later, I finally can visualize exactly how long Felicia was the number one ‘F’ name or how many times the letter ‘I’ changed hands between Isaac and Ira since the late 19th-century.

Below you’ll see every #1 name per letter for the past 136 years, according to the available SSA birth data.  The birth data is incomplete and not always accurate in the years before around 1937, but I’ve included those early years as well.  They still provide a general sense of the truly popular names, and you’ll spot some gems among the rarer letters.  Come on, who doesn’t get excited to see Zeno or Queenie at #1?

A:

  • Anna (1880-1929), Alice (1930-1941, 1944), Ann (1942, 1943, 1945-1959), Angela (1960-1968), Amy (1969-1978), Amanda (1979-1983), Ashley (1984-1998, 2000, 2001), Alexis (1999, 2002), Abigail (2003-2005), Ava (2006-Present)
  • Arthur (1880-1904, 1906, 1912, 1917, 1918, 1920-1947), Albert (1905, 1907-1911, 1913-1916, 1919), Anthony (1948-1978, 2007), Andrew (1979-1994, 1997-2006), Austin (1995, 1996), Alexander (2008-Present)

B:

  • Bertha (1880-1888, 1890-1893, 1895-1897, 1899, 1901, 1904, 1907-1912), Bessie (1889, 1894, 1898, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1906), Beatrice (1913-1916), Betty (1917-1934), Barbara (1935-1960), Brenda (1961-1974), Brandy (1975-1982), Brandi (1983), Brittany (1984-1996), Brianna (1997-2010), Brooklyn (2011-Present)
  • Benjamin (1880-1909, 2005-Present), Bernard (1910-1925), Billy (1926-1945), Bruce (1946-1956), Brian (1957-1983), Brandon (1984-2004)

C:

  • Clara (1880-1905), Catherine (1906-1931), Carol (1932-1952), Cynthia (1953-1966), Christine (1967-1972), Christina (1973-1980, 1985-1988), Crystal (1981-1984), Courtney (1989, 1990, 1993-1999), Chelsea (1991, 1992), Chloe (2000-2012), Charlotte (2013-Present)
  • Charles (1880-1964), Christopher (1965-2013), Carter (2014-Present)

D:

  • Daisy (1880, 1882, 1883), Dora (1881, 1884-1893), Dorothy (1894-1942), Donna (1943-1949, 1959-1967), Deborah (1950-1955), Debra (1956-1958), Dawn (1968-1975), Danielle (1976-1997), Destiny (1998-2012), Delilah (2013-Present)
  • David (1880-1897, 1899-1911, 1939-1984, 1986-1989), Dewey (1898), Donald (1912-1938), Daniel (1985, 1990-Present)

E:

  • Emma (1880-1886, 2008-Present), Elizabeth (1887-1895, 1897-1991), Ethel (1896), Emily (1992-2007)
  • Edward (1880-1964), Eric (1965-1997), Ethan (1998-Present)

F:

  • Florence (1880-1909), Frances (1910-1965), Felicia (1966-1994), Faith (1995-Present)
  • Frank (1880-1990), Francisco (1991-2005, 2007, 2012-2014), Fernando (2006, 2008-2011), Finn (2015/Present)

G:

  • Grace (1880-1900, 1999-Present), Gladys (1901-1924), Gloria (1925-1953, 1960-1962), Gail (1954-1959), Gina (1963-1987), Gabrielle (1988-1998)
  • George (1880-1944), Gary (1945-1961), Gregory (1962-1993), Gabriel (1994-Present)

H:

  • Hattie (1880-1884), Helen (1885-1963), Holly (1964), Heidi (1965, 1966), Heather (1967-1991), Hannah (1992-2009, 2011, 2012), Hailey (2010), Harper (2013-Present)
  • Henry (1880-1887, 1890, 1894-1914, 1952-1956, 1959-1991, 2012, 2014-Present), Harry (1888, 1889, 1891-1893), Harold (1915-1951, 1957, 1958), Hunter (1992-2011, 2013)

I:

  • Ida (1880-1900), Irene (1901-1984, 1987-1989), India (1985, 1986), Isabel (1990, 1992, 1993), Iesha (1991), Isabella (1994-Present)
  • Isaac (1880, 1882, 1886, 1893, 1896, 1899, 1904, 1909, 2003, 2007-Present), Ira (1881, 1883-1885, 1887-1892, 1894, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1900-1903, 1905, 1907, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1937-1957, 1960), Irving (1906, 1908, 1910-1929), Ivan (1931, 1934-1936, 1958, 1959, 1961-1966), Ian (1967-1996), Isaiah (1997-2002, 2004-2006)

J:

  • Jennie (1880-1884, 1886-1889, 1891), Julia (1885, 1890, 1892-1898, 1900, 2008-Present), Josephine (1899, 1901-1920), Jean (1921-1929), Joan (1930-1938), Judith (1939-1949), Janet (1950-1957), Julie (1958-1965), Jennifer (1966-1984), Jessica (1985-2005), Jasmine (2006, 2007)
  • John (1880-1928, 1961-1965, 1968), James (1929-1960, 1966, 1967, 1969-1972), Jason (1973-1982), Joshua (1983-1994), Jacob (1995-Present)

K:

  • Katherine (1880-1929), Kathleen (1930-1937, 1947-1950), Karen (1938-1946, 1951-1965), Kimberly (1966-1977, 1979-1987), Kelly (1978), Kayla (1988-2008), Kaylee (2009-2014), Kennedy (2015/Present)
  • Kenneth (1880, 1889-1958), Karl (1881-1888), Kevin (1959-1989, 2000-Present), Kyle (1990-1999)

L:

  • Laura (1880-1887, 1982-1985), Lillian (1888-1923, 2013, 2014), Lois (1924-1937), Linda (1938-1960), Lisa (1961-1981), Lauren (1986-2006), Lily (2007-2012, 2015/Present)
  • Louis (1880-1931), Lawrence (1932-1934), Larry (1935-1983), Luis (1984-1994), Logan (1995-2010), Liam (2011-Present)

M:

  • Mary (1880-1966), Michelle (1967-1974), Melissa (1975-1984), Megan (1985-1996), Madison (1997-2011), Mia (2012-Present)
  • Michael (1880, 1885-1922, 1935-2010), Martin (1881-1884), Melvin (1923-1926), Marvin (1927-1934), Mason (2011-Present)

N: 

  • Nellie (1880-1919), Norma (1920-1929), Nancy (1930-1969), Nicole (1970-2000), Natalie (2001-Present)
  • Nathan (1880, 1882, 1971-1977), Norman (1881, 1883-1966), Nicholas (1967-1970, 1978-2005), Noah (2006-Present)

O:

  • Olive (1880-1903), Opal (1904-1939), Olivia (1940-1955, 1958, 1965, 1974-Present), Olga (1956, 1957, 1959-1964, 1966-1973)
  • Oscar (1880-1978, 1981-2001)), Omar (1979, 1980), Owen (2002-2013), Oliver (2014-Present)

P:

  • Pearl (1880-1910), Pauline (1910-1923), Patricia (1924-1989), Paige (1990-2007), Peyton (2008-2013), Penelope (2014-Present)
  • Peter (1880-1885), Paul (1886-1982), Patrick (1983-2006), Parker (2007-Present)

Q:

  • Queen (1880-1883, 1885-1969), Queenie (1884), Quanda (1970), Quintina (1971-1974), Qiana (1975-1979), Quiana (1980-1987, 1989), Quinn (1988, 1992-Present), Quanisha (1990, 1991)
  • Quincy (1880-1883, 1885-1892, 1894-1903, 1905, 1907, 1909-1912, 1915, 1917, 1974-1981), Quince (1884), N/A (1893), Quentin (1904, 1908, 1913, 1914, 1916, 1918-1959, 1963-1973, 1982-1989, 1995-1998), Quinton (1906, 1990, 1990-1994), Quintin (1960-1962), Quinn (1999-Present)

R:

  • Rose (1880-1890), Ruth (1891-1948), Rebecca (1949-1956, 1967-1983), Robin (1957-1965), Rhonda (1966), Rachel (1984-2006), Riley (2007-Present)
  • Robert (1880-1989), Ryan (1990-Present)

S: 

  • Sarah (1880-1920, 1977-1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999-2002), Shirley (1921-1940), Sandra (1941-1947), Susan (1948-1970), Stephanie (1971-1976), Samantha (1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2003-2005), Sophia (2006-Present)
  • Samuel (1880-1914, 1994-Present), Stanley (1915-1939), Stephen (1940-1949), Steven (1950-1961, 1964-1967, 1976-1993), Scott (1962, 1963, 1968-1975)

T:

  • Theresa (1880-1897, 1941-1950), Thelma (1898-1940), Teresa (1951-1962), Tammy (1963-1973), Tracy (1974, 1975), Tiffany (1976-1991), Taylor (1992-Present)
  • Thomas (1880-1966, 1968-1975, 1982-1989, 2013-Present), Timothy (1967, 1976-1981), Tyler (1990-2012)

U:

  • Una (1880-1904, 1906-1908, 1910-1922, 1924-1926, 1928, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1938, 1940), Ursula (1905, 1909, 1923, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1933, 1935-1937, 1939, 1941-1945, 1960-1988), Unknown* (1946-1959, 1989-1991, 1995), Unique (1992-1994, 1996-Present)
  • Ulysses (1880-1948, 1962-1988), Unknown (1949-1961, 1989, 1991), Uriel (1990, 1992-Present)

V:

  • Viola (1880-1906), Virginia (1907-1953), Vicki (1954-1958), Valerie (1959-1968), Victoria (1969-1971, 1989-Present), Veronica (1972-1978), Vanessa (1979-1988)
  • Victor (1880-1906, 1908-1910, 1918, 1942-1945, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1974-1987, 1992-2009), Virgil (1907), Vincent (1911-1917, 1940, 1941, 1946-1953, 1955, 1958-1973, 1988-1991, 2010-Present), Vernon (1919-1939)

W:

  • Willie** (1880-1920, 1922, 1923), Wilma (1921, 1924, 1925), Wanda (1926-1959), Wendy (1960-1983, 2001-2007), Whitney (1984-2000), Willow (2008-Present)
  • William (1880-Present)

X:

  • N/A*** (1880-1893, 1896, 1898-1911, 1922, 1924, 1936-1938, 1940, 1942-1944, 1951, 1953, 1957), Xenia (1894, 1895, 1897, 1912-1921, 1923, 1925-1935, 1939, 1941, 1945-1950, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1968), Xochitl (1955, 1967, 1971-1977, 1979), Xiomara (1958, 1960-1964, 1969, 1970, 1978, 1980-1995, 1999, 2000), Xan (1965, 1966), Xena (1996-1998), Ximena (2001-Present)
  • N/A (1880-1885, 1887-1889, 1891-1893, 1895, 1898-1906, 1908-1911), Xavier (1886, 1890, 1894, 1896, 1897, 1907, 1912-Present)

Y:

  • Yetta (1880, 1884-1891, 1896), N/A (1881), Yvonne (1892-1895, 1897-1966), Yolanda (1967-1986), Yesenia (1987-2003), Yasmin (2004-2009), Yaretzi (2010-Present)
  • Young (1880-1887, 1889-1892, 1895-1899, 1901-1904, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1935, 1936, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1955), York (1888, 1905), Yee (1893, 1894), Yancy (1900, 1958-1975), Ysidro (1906, 1933, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1943-1946, 1953, 1956), Yale (1908, 1939, 1942, 1951, 1952), Ygnacio (1910, 1934), Yoshio (1913-1930, 1932), Yukio (1931), Yvonne (1938), Yolanda (1949), Yul (1957), Yusef (1976), Yisroel (1977, 1984, 1997), Yusuf (1978, 2015/Present), Yoel (1979-1983), Yosef (1985, 1988-1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001), Yaakov (1986, 1987), Yehuda (1995), Yousef (2000), Yahir (2002-2014)

Z:

  • Zella (1880-1898, 1890), Zelma (1899, 1901-1951, 1954), Zoe (1952, 1957, 1958, 1970, 1973-2010), Zelda (1953, 1955, 1956, 1959-1962, 1968), Zina (1963-1967), Zandra (1969, 1971, 1972), Zoey (2011-Present)
  • Zack (1880-1901, 1903, 1905-1915, 1918-1921), Zeno (1902), Zeb (1904), Zigmund (1916, 1917), Zane (1922-1946, 1948), Zachary (1947, 1949-Present)

*I doubt anyone was actually named Unknown – it’s more likely a designation for people whose original names are somehow unknown. 

**Willie is shaded blue because it was stricly masculine in 2015.  A hundred years ago, it was very much unisex.

***N/A indicates that there were no names starting with that letter for a year. 

Do any of these names stand out to you?  Let me know and stay posted for my analysis and predictions!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The ABC’s of #1 Names, 1880-2015

  1. Pingback: Analysis: The ABC’s of #1 Names (A-M) | The Well-Informed Namer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s