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Subject: Analysis of the #1 Names in America from 1880 to Now: Male Names
Author: erb816   (Authenticated as erb816)
Date: June 8, 2012 at 5:22:12 PM
A long time ago, I compiled the top names of each gender into two threads to sort of analyze the trend(s), and see what people thought of the "#1 Names." I don't know where that thread went, so I'm re-compiling the information, including the most recent data from 2011. These are the #1 Male Names:

John: 1880 to 1923
That's over 40 years in the top spot - room for a lot of John-Srs. and John-Jrs. When John wasn't in the #1 spot, it was #2 from 1924-1928, and then from 1963-1965. It didn't leave the Top 5 until 1973, and didn't officially leave the Top 10 until 1992. Today it is at #27, the lowest popularity it has experienced since the commencement of the SSA's census on birth names. John was the most popular male name for members of both the "Lost Generation" and the "Greatest Generation."

Robert: 1924 to 1939; 1953
Robert flirted with the Top 10 in the first couple years of the census, then stayed in after 1882. It officially broke the Top 5 in 1906, and after falling from the top spot in 1940 it stayed at the #2 spot thru 1952. After enjoying one more, isolated year at #1, it fell to #3 in 1954 and experienced a gradual decline. It officially left the Top 5 in 1972, and the Top 10 in 1990, just two years before John would also leave. While it currently hold the spot at #61, its lowest position since the start of the census, Robert has the distinction of being the most popular male name throughout the greater part of the Great Depression - in other words, it is one of *the* most popular male names of the "Silent Generation."

James: 1940 to 1952
While it didn't reach #1 until 1940, James had consistently been in the Top 5 since the start of the census; and it didn't leave the Top 5 until 1981. Today it is at #17, which is *not* the lowest spot that it has ever held (that would be #19 in 2010). This means that, since the start of the census, James has never left the Top 20 Male Names in America. James was at its most popular during the end of the Silent Generation thru the Baby Boomers. It is the steadiest and most consistently popular male name in the history of the SSA's survey.

Michael: 1954 to 1959; 1961-1998
In the 1800s, Michael was a moderately popular name - within the Top 100, but nowhere near the popularity it would soon hold. However, in 1938 it officially entered the Top 25, and in 1943 the Top 10, and it only went uphill from there. In fact, it left the Top 5 only this year - who knows if it will reenter? Michael was a strong Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Gen Y name.

David: 1960
It fell out of the Top 20 in 1884, though it never fell lower than #33 (in 1903). It reentered the Top 20 in 1928, and entered the Top 10 in 1936, and the Top 5 officially in 1950. Although it only experienced one year of being #1 (with the Baby Boomers), it didn't leave the Top 5 until 1992. Today it is at #18, its lowest spot since 1928, although it is still in the Top 20.

Jacob: 1999 to Present Day
Jacob is something of an oddball. As the Latin form of James, it experienced moderate popularity in the late 1800s, until it officially fell out of the Top 100 in 1906. It would remain within the Top 500, with its lowest spot in 1962 at #367, until 1974, when it finally re-cracked the Top 100. From there, the incline of popularity grew steadily steeper, until it cracked the Top 10 in 1993, and surged to #1 in 1999. It has stayed there ever since, and - due mainly to the Twilight phenomenon - I don't see it falling anytime soon. So far, Jacob is the quintessential Gen Z name, given its current popularity.

So, that's the group. Since the start of the SSA's census / survey, only 6 male names have enjoyed the #1 spot, often spanning generations. They don't seem to like to share. (Well, 5 of them don't; the other only had one year at #1.) :-)

This message was edited by the author on June 8, 2012 at 5:27:15 PM

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