Common 1950s names: Popular Names in the United States 1950

Posted on

Top US babies’ names from the 1950s

  • Home
  • Babies’ names
  • Top US babies’ names from the 1950s

What were the top babies’ names in the USA during the 1950s?

Rank Girls’ names Boys’ names
1 Mary (1) James (1)
2 Linda (2) Michael (9)
3 Patricia (4) Robert (2)
4 Susan (10) John (3)
5 Deborah (*) (68) David (6)
6 Barbara (3) William (4)
7 Debra (*) (-) Richard (5)
8 Karen (16) Thomas (8)
9 Nancy (7) Mark (54)
10 Donna ( 17) Charles (7)

Source: Data provided online by the United States Social Security Administration

Figures in brackets are the rank of the name in the 1940s

(*) If you add the two spellings of Deborah and Debra together it would be number one. Number ten would be Cynthia

Girls’ names

Girls’ names are often at the whim of fashion. So it is surprising that very little changed between the most popular names of the 1940s and the 1950s. Mary and Linda were
still at number one and number two. Mary appealed to traditionalists and Linda to people wanting a more modern name.

The only new entrants in the top ten were Deborah, Debra and Donna. If the two spellings of Deborah/Debra are combined, Deborah/Debra becomes number one.

The popularity of Debra/Deborah is almost certainly because of Deborah Kerr. Kerr was an English actress whose film career began with ‘Love on the Dole’ (1941). She moved
to Hollywood in 1947. She played alongside Clarke Gable in ‘The Hucksters'(1947). Her most famous role was as Karen Holmes in ‘From Here to Eternity'(1953). The film was a huge
hit with the public and won the Academy Award for ‘Best Motion Picture’ for 1953. Kerr was nominated for ‘Best Actress’, but lost out to Audrey Hepburn, who starred in ‘Roman Holiday’.

Deborah first appeared in the US top five girls’ names in 1951. Both spellings disappeared from the top five after 1957.

‘From Here to Eternity’ also helped Donna move into the top ten. Donna Reid won an Academy Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for her role as Lorene Burke. The popularity of this name
was cemented by the ‘Donna Reid Show’ which first aired in 1958. Donna reached number five in 1959 the following year.

The choice of names is a complex process. Top actresses’ names do not always translate to popular girls’ names. Grace Kelly won the Academy Award for ‘Best Actress’ in 1954 for the film
‘Country Girl’. She also starred in ‘Rear Window’ (1954) with
James Stewart and in ‘High Noon’ (1952) with Gary Cooper. In 1955 she had a fairy tale wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. She became Princess Grace of Monaco. ‘Grace’ was number two hundred
in popular girls’ names in the 1950s. By co-incidence ‘Kelly’ was the 200th most popular boys’ name.

Boys’ names

Boys’ names change slowly over the decades. They are much less influenced by the names of film stars and even less by US Presidents’ names. Harry S Truman was President from 1945 to 1953.
‘Harry’ was the 89th most popular boys’ name. War hero and President, Dwight D Eisenhower, fared less well. ‘Dwight’ was number one hundred and forty-seven.

The top five boys’ names were James, Robert, John, Michael and David throughout the 1950s. The only change from the 1940s was that Michael and David replaced Richard and William in the top five.
But William and Richard still made it to the 1950s’ top ten.

Mark was a new entrant in the top ten in the 1950s. In the 1940s Mark was down at number fifty-four.

How do British and American names compare?

Rank Girls’ names Boys’ names
1 Mary (UK 9) James (UK 14)
2 Linda (UK 2) Michael (UK 4)
3 Patricia (UK 6) Robert (UK 6)
4 Susan (UK 1) John (UK 2)
5 Deborah (UK 59) David (UK 1)
6 Barbara (UK 14) William (UK 15)
7 Debra (UK -) Richard (UK 10)
8 Karen (UK 37) Thomas (UK 24)
9 Nancy (UK -) Mark (UK 32)
10 Donna (UK -) Charles (UK 172)

There is a lag between popularity of a name in the USA and in United Kingdom. Karen and
Deborah did not feature in the UK 1950s’ top ten, but they did make the top ten in the following decade.

In the boy’s names, Mark was a new entrant in the top ten in the USA, but in the United Kingdom only reached the top ten in
the 1960s.

British names less popular in the USA were:


  • Christine (USA 31)
  • Margaret (USA 23)
  • Janet (USA 20)
  • Carol (USA 16)
  • Elizabeth (USA 21)
  • Anne (USA 83, but Ann 41)


  • Stephen (USA 20, but Steven 11)
  • Peter (USA 39)
  • Paul (USA 17)
  • Alan (USA 45)

Girls’ names

Some popular US girls’ names that did not appear in the top one hundred names in the United Kingdom were:

  • Debra (USA 5)
  • Donna (USA 10)
  • Nancy (USA 9)
  • Cynthia (USA 11)
  • Cheryl (USA 19)
  • Kathy (USA 22)
  • Judy (USA 27, but Judith UK 31/USA 34)
  • Rebecca (USA 28)
  • Betty (USA 35)
  • Lisa (USA 37)
  • Laura (USA 38)
  • Connie (USA 40)
  • Gloria (USA 42)
  • Paula (USA 46)
  • Peggy (USA 47)
  • Cindy (USA 48)
  • Martha (USA 49)
  • Bonnie (USA 50)

One explanation is a preference for shortened names in the US. Peggy
instead of Margaret, Betty instead of Elizabeth, Kathy instead of Catherine. It was more common in Britain to
give the full name and give the child the choice to shorten it.

Boys’ names

Popular US boys’ names that did not appear in the top one hundred names in the United Kingdom were:

  • Bruce (USA 32)
  • Randy (USA 33)
  • Scott (USA 36)
  • Wayne (USA 43)
  • Danny (USA 44)
  • Ricky (USA 47)
  • Carl (USA 48)
  • Dale (USA 50)

Bruce, Carl and Wayne were in the UK top one hundred boys’ names in the 1960s. Scott had to wait until the 1970s and Ricky, Dale and Danny until the 1980s.
Shortened forms of names were becoming more popular in the UK. Did Danny Zuko from the 1978 film ‘Grease’ have an influence on Danny’s rise?

Read more:

  • Top UK babies’ names in the 1950s
  • Top UK babies’ names in the 1960s
  • Top UK babies’ names in the 1970s
  • Top UK babies’ names in the 1980s

By Steven Braggs, April 2021

Add your comments

Add Comment

JavaScript must be enabled for certain features to work

* Required information

Powered by Commentics


Insert Bullet List

Please enter at least one item.







Insert Numeric List

Please enter at least one item.







Insert Image

Please enter the link of the image


Insert YouTube Video

Please enter the link of the video


1950s baby names for boys that are cooler than Fonzie – SheKnows

Skip to main content
Skip to header navigation

If you’re looking for a baby name for your little boy, why not take a journey back to the middle of the 20th century to see what gems might lie in wait for you?

Related story

These Bird-Inspired Baby Names Are Perfect for Your Littlest Peeps

While baby names of all shapes and sizes often reflect the trends of the time, girl baby names tend to be more trendy than boy names. For example, one of 2015’s top baby names (William) has pretty much always been a top choice of moms and dads. It hit its low mark of the 20th most popular name in the U.S. in the early ’90s but remains high on the list at No. 5 in 2015. James is another example of a perennial favorite. It was in the top 10 from 1900 to 1992 but never really dipped down that far. In 2015? It was at No 7.

That said, some boy names do go in and out of style. Many of these names, all in the top 50 in 1950, aren’t used much today. You might not hear of a ton of newborns that are bestowed with names like David, Paul or Daniel. And some of these names seem to be straight out of The Walking Dead, where characters like Carl, Dale and Richard (Rick) populate our TV screens.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of awesome baby names here. Some of these names are charmers of the past that would make an excellent moniker for a newborn boy today, especially considering the ongoing trend of using vintage baby names. Some awesome examples are Arthur, Jack, Walter and Henry. There also may be some names here that are familiar to you because they are names of family members or friends near and dear to your heart. If you’re not keen on them as a first name, perhaps these names would fit well into the middle name spot.

Whatever your tastes, your baby’s name may be lurking here on this excellent list of midcentury baby boy names.

  • Alan
  • Anthony
  • Arthur
  • Bruce
  • Carl
  • Charles
  • Dale
  • Daniel
  • Danny
  • David
  • Dennis
  • Donald
  • Douglas
  • Edward
  • Frank
  • Gary
  • George
  • Gerald
  • Gregory
  • Harold
  • Henry
  • Jack
  • James
  • Jeffrey
  • Jerry
  • John
  • Johnny
  • Joseph
  • Kenneth
  • Larry
  • Lawrence
  • Mark
  • Michael
  • Patrick
  • Paul
  • Peter
  • Raymond
  • Richard
  • Robert
  • Roger
  • Ronald
  • Stephen
  • Steven
  • Terry
  • Thomas
  • Timothy
  • Walter
  • Wayne
  • William
  • Willie

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

Image: photo by Farley Baricuatro (www. Images

optional screen reader

More Stories from Parenting

The most popular names in different countries of the world, including in Moldova

Perhaps you are looking for a name for your unborn child or want to know how popular your name is? In this article, we will tell you about the most common name given by parents around the world to their children in the past few years.


Most popular names: Oliver and Olivia.

In 2017, these two variants of the Latin term «olive tree» became the most popular baby names in England in Wales. While Amelia ranked 2nd and Isla ranked 3rd. Oliver is the most common boy name since 2013, followed by male names like Harry and George next in popularity. In London, however, the name Muhammad has become the most common name for boys, and Amelia for girls.

In Scotland, Jack was the most common name for boys for ten consecutive years, followed by Oliver and for girls again Olivia.

In Northern Ireland, newborn boys were most often given the name James, followed by Jack and Oliver. Last year Mohammed was the name that reached the top of the name charts in Northern Ireland and currently it is James, Jack and Noah for boys and Emily, Grace and Olivia for girls.

The most favorite name for a girl in 2017 in the UK was Charlotte — the name given to the first daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which, of course, is not accidental. And for boys, the most popular is Edward.

USA and Canada

Most popular names: Liam and Emma.

Currently, the most common female baby name in the US is Emma, ​​followed by Olivia and Ava. For boys, according to the statistics, Liam takes first place, followed by Noah and William. As a rule, the most popular names in the US have long been indebted to biblical characters. So, in the 1900s the top names were John and Mary, in the 1950s it was James and Mary, in the 2000s the names of the decade were Jacob and Emily. This is no coincidence, because more than 70% of Americans consider themselves Christians.

Australia and New Zealand

Most popular names: Oliver and Charlotte.

Australia is geographically far away from the UK, but very close in terms of choosing baby names. For the 5th year in a row, Oliver remains the most popular name for boys, followed by William and Jack. For girls, Charlotte moved ahead of Olivia from 1st to 2nd in 2017, while Mia took 3rd. In New Zealand, the top names for boys last year were Oliver, Jack and Noah, while for girls it was Charlotte, followed by Harper and Isla.


Most popular names: Gabriel and Louise.

In last year’s French baby name book L’Officiel des prénoms, Gabriel — a name with Jewish and Christian religious roots — was named the winner among male names for boys, followed by Raphael and Jules. For girls, Louise, which means «famous warrior», came in 1st place, while Emma and Jade came in 2nd and 3rd respectively.


Most popular names: Hugo and Lucia.

In 2017, Lucia was the most common name parents chose for their newborn babies. It should be noted that this name has occupied a leading position for several years. It owes its Latin roots to the word «light» and was traditionally given to girls born at dawn. «Santa Lucia» is also a greeting from the martyr from the Middle Ages, after whom the Caribbean island of St. Lucia is named. For boys, the most popular Spanish name at present is Hugo, which comes from an old Germanic word that means «bright in spirit and mind.»


Most popular names: Francesco and Sofia.

The most common Italian name for boys is Francesco, a Latin name that has been borne by many great people from the Renaissance sculptor to the current Pope. The next most popular were Alessandro and Leonardo. For girls, the most popular was Sofia — a name derived from the Greek word for «wisdom». It began to gain popularity starting in the 2000s, not only in Italy, but also in Scandinavia and Central America. Aurora and Julia follow.


Most popular names: José and Maria.

In 2016, Brazil released official statistics on the most popular names that parents chose for their children. For girls, Mary was by far the most common name, representing 6% of the total population — it dates back to Roman times, after the mother of Jesus. For boys, this is Jose, a derivative of Joseph — the name of the husband of the Virgin Mary. This is due to the fact that most of Brazil — 64% — are Catholics.


Most popular names: Hiroshi, Nozomi.

According to Japan Today, in 2017, the most common name given to girls was Nozomi, meaning «hope in the heart,» followed by Kokoro, meaning «cherry blossom of the heart,» and then Emika, «flower.» For boys, Hiroshi is considered the most common given name and dates back to the 1920s. It means «honesty» and, according to a 2015 study by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd, is the most popular name among company presidents. Hiroshi is followed by Takashi and Akira.


Most popular names: Wei, Li.

In China, the surname precedes the given name, and nearly 85% of China’s 1.3 billion people have only about 100 surnames. So, the most common is Wang, which means «king» — this surname, whose history goes back thousands of years. As for popular names, the last official data was presented in 2007 and showed that Li is the most popular name among girls, which means «beautiful, graceful», and Wei («big, great») — for boys.


Most popular names: Ivan and Sofia.

The Moscow registry office reported that Ivan was the most popular name for a boy in 2017, followed by Alexander. Sophia, and then Daria — the two names that were most often given to girls who were born last year. As a rule, Muscovites are quite conservative in choosing names for their children. Anastasia, Maria, Sofia, Anna, Daria, Alexander, Daniil, Artem, Ivan and Maxim have been the most popular for more than a decade. As for the rest of Russia, the figures vary considerably, but other names often found in the top five include Artyom and Maksim.

Republic of Moldova

The most popular names in the Republic of Moldova are Ion and Maria.

However, in 2022, the most common names registered at civil status offices were David and Sophia.

The most popular boy names in 2022

1. David — 939. In total, there are 13,972 people with this name in Moldova.

2. Matei — 598. In total, there are 6013 people with this name in Moldova.

3. Maxim — 484. In total, there are 30,843 people with this name in Moldova.

Last year, the names Daniil, Bogdan, Alexander, Damian, Mark, Artem, Ion were also popular in Moldova.

The most popular names for girls in 2022


By alexxlab

Similar Posts