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Most popular baby names for boys the year you were born

  • Most popular baby names for boys the year you were born

    One of the most stressful decisions new parents face is choosing the perfect name for their newborns. First names rarely get changed after being assigned and carry with them a wide range of meanings and associations. This creates a lot of pressure on expectant parents to pick the perfect moniker for their little ones.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, many parents end up choosing the same names over and over. Research suggests that we pick specific names implying desired characteristics about our children, selecting names for boys and girls intended to shape them. Male monikers are commonly inspired by political, cultural, and personal influences that suggest good, masculine, and well-rounded people.

    Stacker has rounded up the most popular baby boy names from 1915 to 2019, using data from the Social Security Administration. Check out the list and find out where your name falls—and what characteristics your parents may have been hoping you’d develop. We’ll tell you everything from which name remained in the top three for 35 years to which moniker means “firm.”

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  • 1915–1919

    - #1 boys' name: John
    - #2 boys' name: William
    - #3 boys' name: James

    John topped the list for most popular baby boy name from 1915 to 1919. Hebrew in origin, the name means “God is gracious.” President John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was born in 1917 right at the beginning of John’s popularity.

  • 1920

    - #1 boys' name: John
    - #2 boys' name: William
    - #3 boys' name: Robert

    John remained at the top of the list in 1920, with William following close behind as the second most popular name. William is English in origin and means “strong-willed warrior.” Newspaper magnate and publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst was at the height of his career in 1920, with 1 in 4 Americans reading a Hearst paper. Parents with major business aspirations for their sons may have chosen this name hoping Hearst’s success would rub off on their offspring.

  • 1921–1923

    - #1 boys' name: John
    - #2 boys' name: Robert
    - #3 boys' name: William

    From 1921 to 1923, John and William held as top contenders for male monikers while Robert increased in popularity and took over the second spot. Robert is also an English name and means “bright fame.” Poet Robert Frost was wildly popular in the early 1920s, earning his first Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1924. Parents with artistic aspirations for their boys would have been particularly attracted to the name.

  • 1924–1925

    - #1 boys' name: Robert
    - #2 boys' name: John
    - #3 boys' name: William

    For the fifth year in a row, Robert, John, and William topped the list for most popular baby boy names. Ever on trend, the Kennedys chose the year’s most popular name for their third son, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, former U.S. attorney general.

  • 1926–1928

    - #1 boys' name: Robert
    - #2 boys' name: John
    - #3 boys' name: James

    The name James regained its popularity in 1926 for the first time in almost a decade. Another Hebrew name, James means “supplanter.” The resurgence in popularity may be due to the publication and overwhelming popularity of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” a couple of years prior in 1922.

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  • 1929–1939

    - #1 boys' name: Robert
    - #2 boys' name: James
    - #3 boys' name: John

    Throughout the 1930s, Robert, James, and John held on to the top name spots for newborn boys. It seems that parents were eager to retain some sense of constancy with the country in the throes of the Great Depression.

  • 1940

    - #1 boys' name: James
    - #2 boys' name: Robert
    - #3 boys' name: John

    1940 brought the end of the Great Depression, the beginning of World War II, and the return of James to the top of the popular names for baby boys list. Legendary Hollywood actor James Cagney was at the height of his career in 1940, leading many new mothers to name their sons after the on-screen dreamboat.

  • 1941–1952

    - #1 boys' name: James
    - #2 boys' name: Robert
    - #3 boys' name: John

    For the next 11 years, James held on to the #1 spot, with Robert a close second, and James rounding out the list at third. Robert Plant, who would become the lead singer of ’70s rock group Led Zeppelin, was born during this time in 1948.

  • 1953

    - #1 boys' name: Robert
    - #2 boys' name: James
    - #3 boys' name: Michael

    In 1953 a new name made its debut on the Social Security Administration’s list of most popular baby boy names. Michael is a Hebrew name that means “who is like God.”

  • 1954

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: James
    - #3 boys' name: Robert

    A mere year later, Michael had rocketed to the top spot on the list. Famous Michaels born in this year include Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore and Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony.

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