Names of the Decade

10 years can make a difference. So, which of the currently popular names will still be hanging around at the end of the decade?

Well, first lets look at the 1970s and the 1980s.

In 1970 the top names for girls and boys were:

1. Michael (0) and Jennifer (+19)

2. Christopher (+18) and Amy (+33)

3. Jason (+84) and Melissa (+30)

4. David (-2) and Michelle (+5)

5. James (-1) and Kimberly (0)

() The number in the brackets denotes the name’s change in placing since the previous year. From this, we can see that Jason shot up during 1970 by 84 places. Would it still be around in 1980? Probably not. Why? Because names that come into fashion quickly, just as quickly fall out of fashion again. Names that are more ‘steady’ so to speak (Such as Kimberly and Michael) are more likely to hang around int the top spots for longer. Therefore, we could predict that Amy, Melissa and Jason do not feature in the top spots for 1980, whereas it is likely that Michael, James and Kimberly will likely to still be hanging around. Another interesting thing to note is that there is far less change in the male names than the females names. Jason being the exception of course.

Another thing we could take into account is the top names in 1880:

1. John and Mary

2. William and Anna

3. James and Emma

4. George and Elizabeth

5. Charles and Margaret

Names typically revolve in 100-year cycles, thus names popular in 1880, such in theory start to come back into trend by 1980. In the 1970 list, 10 years earlier, this is where the top names of 1880 rank:

John – #6 (-3) (and curiously #660 for females)

William – #9 (-2)

James – #5 (-1)

George – #53 (-20)

Charles – #23 (-6)

Three are still in the top 10, and they are all falling.

Mary – #15 (-13)

Anna – #87 (+8)

Emma – #446

Elizabeth – #12 (+5)

Margaret – #101

Female names tend to come in and out of fashion more quickly. It is interesting to note that both Emma and Margaret had fallen out of the top 100. Two names have shown some movement up (Anna and Elizabeth), which is encouraging.

So here are the top 5 names of each gender for 1980:

1. Michael (0) and Jessica (+10)

2. Christopher (0) and Jennifer (-1)

3. Matthew (+7) and Amanda (+14)

4. Joshua (+20) and Ashley (+136)

5. David (-1) and Sarah (+14)

The names that were top in 1970, and still in the top 5 in 1980 are Michael, Christopher, David and Jennifer. Three male names and one female. As predicted, Jason has fallen out of the top 5, now placed at #11, down 8 places. The biggest mover is Ashley, which featured at #383 in 1970 for males and #140 for females.

What about the top names from 1880? Well, this is their standings in 1980:

John – #9(-1) (and curiously #789 for females, so a drop in favour)

William – #15 (-6) (#871 for females)

James – #6 (-1)

George – #69, a drop

Charles – #33, a drop

They all dropped.

Mary – #35, drop

Anna – #52, drop

Emma – #252, rise

Elizabeth – #9 rise(#893 for males)

Margaret – #95 rise

Three rose, one dropped. Curious. The two most popular ones of 1880 were also the ones who dropped.

So, what have we learned? Well, it’s likely that the top male names of 2010 will appear on the top males names of 2020. The fast-movers of 2010 will have dropped, the steady ones are likely to be still in the top 20.

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