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[Facts] Top 100 Middle Names (US, 2015)
I compiled this myself and figured I'd share it here.Some background info: Where did this information come from?
-- Reclaim the Records birth indexes for Nebraska, Vermont, Missouri, and Ohio. You can find these records on if you search reclaim the records. I will update/repost this when and if other states release birth indexes.Why 2015?
-- This was the most recent year that the most states had provided indexes for.Why aren’t these separated by sex?
-- Most of the indexes did not note the sex of the babies in the index. I decided making a combined list was better than guessing.Are spellings combined?
-- No.How was punctuation and multiple middle names dealt with?
-- In cases where a child had multiple middle names separated by a space, it was counted as two separate names (Ann Marie was 1 point for Ann, 1 point for Marie)
-- In cases where a child had multiple middle names joined with a hyphen, it was counted as one name (Ann-Marie was 1 point for Ann-Marie)
-- In cases where a child had a hyphen in their name, the hyphen was ignored (Ma’Rie was 1 point for Marie)

1. Marie 9167
2. James 7053
3. Michael 5990
4. Grace 5846
5. Lee 5677
6. Rose 5377
7. Elizabeth 3969
8. Ann 3943
9. Lynn 3465
10. Mae 2853
11. Joseph 2743
12. Nicole 2553
13. Alexander 2521
14. Thomas 2449
15. David 2284
16. William 2281
17. Robert 1964
18. Allen 1894
19. Rae 1777
20. Anthony 1750
21. Matthew 1699
22. Renee 1698
23. Jane 1678
24. Jean 1642
25. Edward 1512
26. Ray 1473
27. Daniel 1396
28. John 1331
29. Scott 1274
30. Andrew 1235
31. Charles 1167
32. Jo 1138
33. Ryan 1117
34. Kay 1104
35. Wayne 1103
36. Christopher 1085
37. Louise 1048
38. Michelle 1033
39. Dean 1009
40. Anne 1006
41. Paul 988
42. Faith 981
43. Alan 967
44. Patrick 850
45. Sue 790
46. Eugene 773
47. Joy 708
48. Jade 705
49. Richard 678
50. Leigh 637
51. Jacob 587
52. Christine 583
53. Douglas 577
54. Elaine 577
55. Dawn 576
56. May 576
57. Elise 571
58. Henry 560
59. Paige 521
60. Jay 516
61. June 514
62. Claire 484
63. Nichole 463
64. Ruth 461
65. J 458
66. Noelle 456
67. Carter 455
68. Cole 453
69. Hope 453
70. Faye 434
71. Olivia 432
72. Lamar 408
73. Xavier 399
74. Nicholas 397
75. Louis 396
76. Kate 390
77. Rayne 389
78. Steven 388
79. Tyler 383
80. Quinn 379
81. Lane 374
82. Dale 371
83. A 369
84. Samuel 359
85. Aaron 358
86. Timothy 357
87. Benjamin 355
88. Sophia 354
89. Gabriel 352
90. Taylor 352
91. Catherine 350
92. Denise 347
93. Gregory 339
94. Lawrence 336
95. Isaiah 334
96. Oliver 331
97. Francis 327
98. Noel 327
99. Belle 323
100. Monroe 323
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Really shocked that Jose and Maria are nowhere to be seen, but I guess that says more about the states included in the data than it does about general American naming trends.It's interesting how "old" middle names trend compared to first names, although it makes sense considering how middle names are often used to honor relatives. Fun to see names like Gregory, Denise, Lawrence, Catherine, Dale, Lamar, Faye, Eugene, and Edward in the top 100. And how odd that Katherine isn't there at all!It's still a bit surprising how few of the names on this list have a really contemporary feeling, like Monroe, Rayne, and Quinn. If you'd asked me to guess which popular modern middle names make this list, I don't think I'd have guessed any of those but Quinn.If I get bored later, I might do a quick analysis of how many of these names are one syllable long or are two syllables with the emphasis on the second syllable. Thank you for taking the time to compile this data, it's fascinating!
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Cool! Thank you!Surprised that Marie is at #1. I thought it had gone a bit out of fashion.I expected Rose to be #1 or possibly Grace.In general I expected some more "modern" middle names. Hope, Faith, Belle, Paige, May etc. to be higher up than the middle names that were popular in the 60s, 70s, 80s, early 90s such as Ann, Anne, Lynn, Lee.I also expected Christopher to place in the top 10 and Alexander to be at #2. I know so many children with these two middle names.
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I've done this chart in a more informal way in more recent years (using whatever public birth announcements I could find, but that's getting harder to do) and I think if I could do it for 2020 or later, Grace or Rose would possibly outrank Michael, but I don't see Marie and Ann (possibly Lynn too) going anywhere-- a LOT of people are very into the "it's MY middle name and my MOM's middle name and my GRANDMA's middle name!" so even though it was probably filler when Grandma got the name, it's ~important~ now. I do think James could possibly overtake Marie on a combined gender chart like this-- people are using it for girls and I really think it's overlooked how much of a filler name it is. I have data from Vermont and Nebraska in 2019 and James is the #1 name for both of them. I have Ohio too (the biggest state here) but my computer hates to open it so I haven't counted that yet.
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This is pretty neat. It would be interesting to see how this list varies from the first name list; that is, which names are more prevalent in the middle name position.
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Oo that is something I could work on eventually, thank you
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Back when I was first counting up names in the 1970s and could still look at actual full birth records in Michigan, Ann(e), Lynn(e) and Marie were by far the most common middle names for girls. Back in the early 20th century Mae or May was more common than Lynn.Lee of course would be often used for both genders and so I am not surprised it's in the top ten on your combine list. Grace and Rose are certainly higher now than they were, though they weren't very uncommon as middle names 50 years ago. If you have combined Allen and Alan it would have ended up at #10 on your list. Allen/Alan has been the male counterpart for Ann(e) for well over 50 years now -- much more common as a middle name than a first name, and probably chosen because it sounds innocuous and starts with "A" so is among the first such names people think of when choosing a middle name without any family connections.
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Thanks for doing this!
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I'm fascinated to see Ann and Anne as mns, but no trace of Anna, which has pretty much replaced both of them as a fn.
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