Top baby names from 50 years ago (U.S. Social Security data)

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Many of the top baby names don’t change much from year to year, but if you look back at the Social Security Administration’s recording over the past 140 years, you will see changes as names move in and out of fashion. But how about if you look back at the top baby names from 50 years ago? How different is that list for babies born in your parent’s generation?

If you’re looking for a “classic” name that is less common nowadays, this is the place to look. If you limit your options to what you hear from friends, you’ll get the same names as everyone else. That’s fine if you absolutely love Mary and John, but not if you’re looking for something that will stick out, at least a bit among your baby’s age group.

You can see the most popular names for any year since 1879 on the Social Security Administration website.

Some names are evergreen like Lisa, Jennifer and Mary. Others may seem odd or dated through the lens of the new millenium, though not as much as when we looked back to the most popular baby names from 50 years ago. There you’ll find decidely old-fashioned names like Gertrude and Bertha.

Top baby names from 50 years ago per the Social Security Administration

Girls:

  1. Lisa
  2. Michelle
  3. Jennifer
  4. Kimberly
  5. Melissa
  6. Amy
  7. Angela
  8. Mary
  9. Tammy
  10. Laura
  11. Susan
  12. Julie
  13. Karen
  14. Christine
  15. Kelly
  16. Elizabeth
  17. Tracy
  18. Patricia
  19. Stephanie
  20. Lori
  21. Dawn
  22. Tina
  23. Cynthia
  24. Pamela
  25. Sandra
  26. Donna
  27. Deborah
  28. Rebecca
  29. Wendy
  30. Michele
  31. Shannon
  32. Teresa
  33. Linda
  34. Heather
  35. Denise
  36. Sharon
  37. Christina
  38. Brenda
  39. Barbara
  40. Maria
  41. Cheryl
  42. Kathleen
  43. Debra
  44. Rhonda
  45. Nancy
  46. Robin
  47. Nicole
  48. Andrea
  49. Theresa
  50. Paula

Boys:

  1. Michael
  2. David
  3. James
  4. John
  5. Robert
  6. William
  7. Christopher
  8. Mark
  9. Brian
  10. Richard
  11. Jeffrey
  12. Scott
  13. Thomas
  14. Steven
  15. Joseph
  16. Kevin
  17. Timothy
  18. Daniel
  19. Charles
  20. Anthony
  21. Eric
  22. Paul
  23. Kenneth
  24. Matthew
  25. Jason
  26. Gregory
  27. Stephen
  28. Todd
  29. Ronald
  30. Donald
  31. Patrick
  32. Edward
  33. Andrew
  34. Douglas
  35. Gary
  36. Keith
  37. Sean
  38. George
  39. Craig
  40. Larry
  41. Shawn
  42. Troy
  43. Peter
  44. Dennis
  45. Jerry
  46. Jonathan
  47. Frank
  48. Jeffery
  49. Rodney
  50. Raymond

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