The U.S. Social Security Administration publishes an annual list of the 1,000 most popular baby names going back to year 1880. 134 years worth of interesting data, searchable by year, decade, state and more at www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames.
After a 14 year run as the most popular baby boy name, Jacob was overtaken by Noah in 2013. Noah's triumph has been a gradual one. In 2003, it was the 31st most popular name, gaining popularity over time to break into the top 10 in 2009, then down to #4 in 2012 and #1 last year.
If history is any indication, Noah could continue to be the most popular name for years to come. Prior to Jacob's 14 year win streak, Michael had been the most popular boys' name from 1961 to 1998, an amazing 38 year streak, stumbling only in 1960 when David made a brief appearance, following Michael's initial 6 year streak from 1954 to 1959.
Prior to 1954, from 1880 to 1953, the names James, Robert and John populated the #1 baby boy name spot for 74 years. Robert was there from 1924 to 1939 and 1953. James was #1 from 1940 to 1952. And John holds the American record for most years as most popular boy name, topping the list from 1880 to 1923; 44 years.
Going back 100 years ago, the most consistently popular boys names populating the top 10 list other than John were William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward and Frank. The most timeless name in the top 10 is William, which was consistently in the top 10 list 100 years ago and continues its popularity today. In 2013, William was #5 on the list and in 1913 it was #2.
Now on to girls' names. Sophia has been a particularly popular girl name since 2006, when it first broke into the top 10. It has been the number one choice now for 3 years running. But over the last 10 years, the most consistently popular girls' names in the top 10 each and every year include Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Emily, Abigail and Madison.
Emily, #7 on the 2013 list, was the #1 choice for 12 years in a row from 1996 to 2007, giving it the 3rd longest #1 win streak in girls' name history going back to 1880. Jennifer was the #1 girls' name from 1970 to 1984 (perhaps thanks to Jennifer Aniston, who was born in 1969 just prior to that 15 year streak).
But by far, the most consistently popular girls' name in American history belongs to Mary. Mary was the #1 choice if you were a girl born anytime between 1880 and 1946. For 67 straight years, Mary was the name of choice. Linda became #1 from 1947 to 1952 when she was knocked out by, once again, Mary, who reigned in the #1 spot for yet another 9 years, from 1953 to 1961. In fact, Mary was in the top 10 list for 92 years in a row, from 1880 to 1971...but times have changed an she has not dropped back into that list since then.
Looking back exactly 100 years ago, in addition to Mary, the most popular girls' names that were consistently in the top 10 were Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Mildred, Anna, Elizabeth and Marie. The only girl's name that has withstood the test of time over the last 100 years is Elizabeth, which was #8 in 1913 and #10 in 2013.
- The name Barack has not appeared in the top 1,000 most popular baby names ever.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in 1890, when his name ranked #358 on the list. The name Dwight reached its all time low point, #122, the year he assumed office in 1953, has dropped steadily ever since, and hasn't been in the top 1,000 since 2004.
- Lyndon B. Johnson was born in 1908, when his name didn't make the top 1,000. It was in the top 1,000 from 1939 to 1969, his last year in office. Then it completely dropped off the list for years.
- Ronald Reagan was President from 1981 to 1989, when the name Ronald ranged from 59 to 85 on the list. But even with his popularity, the name Ronald continued to drop in popularity to the point last year it didn't even make the top 400.
So it would be appear that just because you are President of the United States, that doesn't mean your first name becames any more popular.