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Most popular baby names for boys the year you were born

  • 1970–1971

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

    1970 and 1971 mark the last years of David topping the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby boy names. Will it return to popularity over the next decade? Or has America said goodbye to this name for good?

  • 1972

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

    Christopher cracked the top three in 1972, marking the first time in 15 years that the list included a name other than Michael, David, James, or John. Christopher is a Greek name that means “Christ-bearer.”

  • 1973

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: Christopher
    - #3 boys' name: Jason

    In 1973, another new name rounded out the Social Security Administration’s top three. Like Christopher, Jason is a Greek name that means “healer.”

  • 1974–1978

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: Jason
    - #3 boys' name: Christopher

    The early ’70s were big years for future country music stars with popular baby boy names. Jason Aldean was born in 1977, and Grammy Award-winning Christopher (“Chris”) Stapleton was born in 1978.

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  • 1979–1980

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: Christopher
    - #3 boys' name: Jason

    One trend we see over and over again with popular baby names is the same top three stealing top spots for several years, with only minor shifts in their order. That’s definitely true of 1979–1980, with Michael holding the #1 spot, and Jason and Christopher taking turns at second and third.

  • 1981–1994

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: Christopher
    - #3 boys' name: Matthew

    The early 1980s brought a new name into fashion. Matthew, an English moniker meaning “gift of God,” crept up into the third spot in 1981.

  • 1995

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: Matthew
    - #3 boys' name: Christopher

    In 1995, Michael Jordan announced his return to the NBA following a brief retirement and stint in the MLB. Jordan was a cultural icon whose athletic and financial successes surely had an impact on parents who made Michael the most popular name in the mid-’90s.

  • 1996

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: Matthew
    - #3 boys' name: Jacob

    Christopher was out by 1996 and Jacob was very much in the game. Another name with a Hebrew origin, Jacob means “supplanter.”

  • 1997–1998

    - #1 boys' name: Michael
    - #2 boys' name: Jacob
    - #3 boys' name: Matthew

    The late ’90s and early ’00s saw a lot more parents naming their children after celebrities and characters than previous decades. For example, season five of “Friends” in 1998 was the second most popular show on television. Two of its main stars, Matthew LeBlanc and Matthew Perry, may have drawn more parents to the name.

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  • 1999–2001

    - #1 boys' name: Jacob
    - #2 boys' name: Michael
    - #3 boys' name: Matthew

    The turn of the century brought a minor panic—remember Y2K? But while many things did change, the most popular names for newborn boys remained the same. Jacob became the most popular, with Michael dropping to #2 and Matthew holding on to #3.