How to Determine The Popularity of a Baby Name

There's a lot in a name. It says something about your family and where you came from. For better or for worse, people may prejudge you based on your name. Therefore, one consideration when choosing a name for your baby is the popularity of the name. You may want to avoid the most common names so your child's name won't just be one of the crowd, or you may want to avoid the rare names so your child's name won't be an oddball name.

The Social Security administration maintains records on new social security applications (think new babies) and publishes a list of the most common names, going back over 100 years. Here's how to use that information.

Go to and wait for the site to load.
If you want to look up a particular year, go to the "Popular Names by Birth Year" section and enter the appropriate information and hit Go. (See image for an example.)
If you are interested in tracking the popularity of a given name over time, type in the name and the number of years desired in the "Popularity of a Name" section. (See image for an example of this.)
Check out other interesting sections, such as popular names by state and popular names by decade. They even have a list of popular twin names. All of the top 10 pairs have the same respective starting letter.

Copyright 2009 by Michael Nehring