ACTUARIAL NOTE

Number 139
June 1998

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Office of the Chief Actuary

Name Distributions in the Social Security Area, August 1997
by Michael W. Shackleford, A.S.A.

Between 1954 and 1984 the Social Security Administration occasionally published a listing of surnames
and their popularity in the Report of Distribution of
Surnames in the Social Security Number File. This
note expands on that project by presenting the most
popular given names.

Three tabulations are presented in this note. The first
two are an historal perspective on the three most frequent names for both sexes for every year of birth
from 1900 to 1997. The third is the 40 most frequent
names for boys and girls born in 1996, the most
recent year that full data is available.

The source file is a one percent sample of Social Security Number card applications. The selection criteria
is based on the last four digits of the Social Security
Number, which are random and not correlated with a
particular geographical region. In cases where multiple cards were issued to the same person, a reason for
this might be a lost card or a name change, the name
on the last application was used. This file is not limited to persons born in the United States but is representative of all Social Security Number card holders.

In addition, the following tabulations are available on
the Office of the Chief Actuary's web site
(www.ssa.gov/OACT/).

For purposes of this document, names have not been
edited or grouped together according to spelling variations of the same name. People quoting from this
document are urged to explicitly acknowledge this
qualification.

• Top 10 given names, by year of birth
(1880-1919), and sex.
• Top 10 given names, by year of birth
(1920-1959), and sex.
• Top 10 given names, by year of birth
(1960-1997), and sex.
• Large list of names for girls born in 1996.
• Large list of names for boys born in 1996.
• Large list of names for girls born in 1997.
• Large list of names for boys born in 1997.

Table 1 displays the three most frequent male given
names for each year of birth from 1900 to 1997. The
number to the right of each name indicates the fre-

quency in the sample per 1,000 births of the same
gender.

Table 1.—Most Frequent Male Given Names for Years of Birth 1900-97
Year
of
birth
1900
1901
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949

2

First

Second

Third

Name

Rate

Name

Rate

Name

Rate

John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
James
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
James
Robert
James
James
Robert
James
James
James
Robert
James

62.9
51.9
58.7
54.4
52.5
56.7
56.7
53.1
53.4
52.5
49.6
53.1
54.0
50.1
52.4
49.1
54.3
51.9
50.4
51.4
46.6
49.8
48.8
48.3
47.8
49.3
47.0
46.3
46.2
48.7
45.4
49.2
49.6
46.9
43.2
44.5
46.5
46.0
47.0
44.9
44.5
44.5
49.1
46.0
44.6
44.4
44.8
44.4
41.5
40.2

William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
William
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
Robert
John
James
John
John
James
James
John
James
James
Robert
James
James
James
James
Robert
John
Robert
Robert
James
Robert
Robert
John
James
Robert

47.4
51.4
44.3
40.1
41.5
42.4
42.0
42.7
39.2
46.0
38.1
42.3
41.2
40.0
39.9
41.9
41.0
44.5
40.6
39.1
41.6
41.7
40.9
45.9
46.5
44.9
45.6
43.6
41.4
43.7
43.3
42.3
42.6
41.6
42.9
43.1
42.7
43.5
45.2
41.4
41.5
43.0
44.7
44.6
43.6
41.9
42.3
44.1
41.4
39.9

James
James
James
James
George, James
James
James
James
James
James
James
James
James
James
James
James
James
James
Robert
James
James
James
James
William
James
James
William
John
James
James
John
John
James
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
John
James
John
John
John
John
John
Robert
John
John

33.4
31.5
34.3
33.1
30.9
30.3
31.6
30.6
31.4
35.8
35.8
33.1
34.4
33.5
34.5
34.7
36.1
39.1
35.5
37.8
37.9
40.4
40.6
43.8
40.7
43.1
41.4
42.7
40.4
41.3
43.2
41.2
39.6
40.9
39.0
38.2
40.0
41.0
39.4
39.7
39.9
41.6
37.8
38.5
43.5
38.9
41.5
41.9
41.3
39.6

Year
of
birth
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997

First

Second

Third

Name

Rate

Name

Rate

Name

Rate

John
Robert
James
Michael
Robert
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
David
David
Michael
David
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael
Michael

38.7
38.1
39.1
37.2
36.5
37.5
35.1
34.7
34.8
34.2
34.7
34.1
33.6
33.9
35.5
35.7
35.1
36.8
36.3
41.1
40.9
37.3
38.7
36.1
38.3
38.3
34.7
36.9
36.5
32.5
35.0
32.7
34.3
35.2
34.9
30.3
32.8
31.9
30.3
30.0
28.9
28.8
27.6
22.4
20.0
20.2
18.6
20.3

James
James
Robert
Robert
Michael
James
Robert
James
David
David
Michael
Michael
John
John, Michael
John
James
David
David
David
David
David
John
Christopher
Christopher
Jason
Christopher
Jason
Jason
Jason
Jason
Jason
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Matthew
Jacob
Matthew
Jacob

38.6
37.9
37.5
36.6
35.7
34.7
33.8
33.3
34.4
32.0
33.3
33.6
33.1
33.6
33.2
31.2
31.0
29.7
30.5
28.5
29.5
27.0
26.9
26.2
28.4
25.5
26.7
28.4
27.3
26.2
24.0
24.3
28.7
30.3
30.7
29.2
28.2
25.3
25.3
24.2
23.3
23.0
20.3
18.1
17.4
17.1
17.4
16.0

Robert
John
John
James
John
David, Robert
David
Robert
Robert
James
John
John
David

38.4
37.6
34.2
36.0
35.3
34.3
33.5
32.2
31.0
31.8
29.1
30.8
31.6

David
John
John
James
James
John
John
David
David
James
Christopher
Jason
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
Jason
Matthew
Matthew
Matthew
Matthew
Matthew
Matthew
Matthew
Joshua
Joshua
Matthew
Joshua
Joshua
Christopher
Matthew
Jacob
Matthew

32.4
30.7
29.8
28.2
28.3
28.1
27.3
26.8
23.8
23.6
26.1
25.0
24.8
23.6
25.5
26.1
23.4
22.4
22.2
24.9
23.7
22.5
22.7
20.4
22.2
20.1
19.6
19.4
16.8
16.9
16.2
15.8
16.4
15.8

Table 2 displays the three most frequent female given
names for each year of birth from 1900 to 1997. The
number to the right of each name indicates the fre-

quency in the sample per 1,000 births of the same
gender.

Table 2.—Most Frequent Female Given Names for Years of Birth 1900-97
Year
of
birth

First
Name

Second

Third

Rate

Name

Rate

1900
1901
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910
1911

Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary

49.2
51.5
48.4
50.5
53.9
47.6
54.5
50.7
51.6
49.7
50.3
50.8

Helen
Helen
Helen
Margaret
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen

22.4
23.8
23.0
21.3
22.4
25.5
21.6
23.8
23.3
28.5
25.5
25.2

1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939

Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary

51.2
51.2
54.2
50.5
55.2
54.9
51.1
51.0
49.5
57.3
54.2
52.0
49.7
53.5
51.3
49.6
51.4
46.4
50.7
48.3
44.0
46.2
48.9
46.4
46.4
44.1
41.7
39.8

Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Betty
Betty
Betty
Betty
Betty
Betty
Betty
Betty
Shirley
Shirley
Barbara
Barbara
Barbara

1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949

Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Linda
Linda
Linda

39.9
38.2
41.2
41.3
39.3
36.4
37.3
43.7
47.6
43.3

Barbara
Barbara
Barbara
Barbara
Barbara
Linda
Linda
Mary
Mary
Mary

Name

Rate
21.5
20.7
20.8
21.0
20.6
20.8
19.4
20.4
19.5
18.8
20.6

31.1
30.0
26.7
30.8
29.3
26.7
29.3
25.6
27.4
25.9
26.9
29.2
25.2
27.7
25.4
25.8
26.8
28.7
26.6
26.6
24.0
25.4
23.8
35.3
27.2
26.7
28.8
27.2

Anna
Anna
Anna
Helen
Margaret
Margaret
Margaret
Margaret
Margaret
Margaret
Margaret
Dorothy,
Margaret
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Margaret
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Helen
Betty
Helen
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Dorothy
Barbara
Barbara
Shirley
Barbara
Barbara
Patricia
Patricia
Patricia

26.2
27.6
29.6
27.5
24.8
27.4
28.5
33.5
33.9
35.1

Patricia
Patricia
Patricia
Patricia
Patricia
Barbara
Patricia
Patricia
Patricia
Patricia

23.2
25.0
23.6
24.8
24.4
25.6
25.5
24.8
23.1
21.3

21.5
20.6
22.9
23.6
24.2
24.5
26.0
25.3
24.0
25.8
25.3
22.8
21.8
22.8
23.0
22.1
25.0
25.5
22.9
21.7
20.1
21.9
21.7
21.0
23.1
24.7
23.2
18.9
20.8

Year
of
birth

First
Name

Second
Rate

Name

Third
Rate

Name

Rate

1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961

Linda
Linda
Linda
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary
Mary

40.4
31.5
31.4
29.1
28.1
26.5
25.5
25.0
25.0
23.4
21.9
19.0

Mary
Mary
Mary
Linda
Deborah
Deborah
Susan
Susan
Linda
Susan
Susan
Lisa

30.6
30.5
30.9
27.5
24.6
22.4
21.1
19.2
18.4
16.2
17.1
16.6

Patricia
Patricia
Patricia
Deborah
Linda
Debra, Linda
Debra
Linda
Susan
Linda
Maria
Susan

23.4
25.9
26.0
24.5
22.6
22.2
21.0
17.8
18.3
15.9
15.8
16.0

1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989

Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jennifer
Jessica
Jessica
Jessica
Ashley
Jessica

19.7
21.2
23.1
26.5
26.3
26.3
22.8
22.0
24.4
28.1
33.2
35.4
34.2
31.5
34.6
30.0
32.7
30.4
30.7
31.7
30.6
28.8
26.6
24.7
27.6
28.2
24.5
22.0

Mary
Mary
Mary
Maria
Maria
Maria
Michelle
Jennifer
Lisa
Michelle
Michelle
Michelle
Amy
Amy
Amy
Amy
Jessica
Melissa
Jessica
Jessica
Jessica
Jessica
Jessica
Ashley
Ashley
Ashley
Jessica
Ashley

18.0
19.7
18.3
16.3
15.8
15.9
17.1
16.7
17.2
17.5
16.8
14.9
15.3
18.1
17.2
15.5
15.4
16.9
18.9
21.7
26.9
23.1
24.5
24.3
25.4
27.8
22.6
21.3

15.8
16.0
15.4
15.8
15.1
15.8
16.3
16.1
14.9
16.4
15.0
14.4
13.5
13.7
14.0
14.5
14.1
15.7
18.3
18.0
17.7
20.3
19.9
22.4
19.6
19.7
20.5

1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997

Jessica
Ashley
Jessica
Jessica
Jessica
Emily
Emily
Emily

21.0
22.5
18.9
17.0
16.0
13.6
14.5
13.8

Ashley
Jessica
Ashley
Ashley
Ashley
Ashley
Jessica
Sarah

20.8
19.9
16.9
16.5
13.5
13.4
12.0
13.3

Maria
Maria
Maria
Karen
Mary
Kimberly
Kimberly
Michelle
Kimberly
Lisa
Lisa
Amy
Michelle
Michelle
Melissa
Melissa
Melissa
Amanda
Amanda
Amanda
Amanda
Ashley
Ashley
Jennifer
Amanda
Amanda
Amanda
Amanda,
Brittany
Brittany
Amanda
Sarah
Sarah
Emily
Jessica
Ashley
Taylor

17.9
16.1
14.6
12.3
13.7
11.6
13.3
11.8
10.6

3

Table 3 lists the 40 most popular given names for the
year of birth of 1996. The sample consists of 19,662
girls and 20,264 boys. The numbers on the left represent rank. The number to the right of each name represents the frequency per 1,000 births of the same

gender. Several times in this table there were ties in
popularity order. In these cases the order and frequency are given for the first name and left blank in
subsequent names.

Table 3.—Top 40 Given Names for Year of Birth 1996
Rank
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
20

23
25
26
27

30
31
32
33
35
36
37
38
39

4

Female
Name
Emily
Jessica
Ashley
Sarah
Samantha
Taylor
Hannah
Rachel
Alexis
Megan
Elizabeth
Kayla
Lauren
Nicole
Amanda
Madison
Brittany
Stephanie,
Victoria
Alyssa,
Amber,
Brianna
Courtney,
Jennifer
Haley
Anna
Danielle,
Olivia,
Rebecca
Jasmine
Melissa
Morgan
Abigail,
Alexandra
Kimberly
Katherine
Allison
Mary
Brooke,
Sydney

Rate

Rank

14.49
11.95
11.80
10.53
10.02
9.00
8.75
8.65
8.60
8.29
7.93
7.63
6.87
6.71
6.41
6.36
6.05
5.90

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

5.65

5.34
5.19
5.04
4.83

4.73
4.63
4.58
4.48
4.37
4.17
3.92
3.71
3.66

10
11
12
13
14
15
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32

35
37
38
39
40

Male
Name
Michael
Matthew
Jacob
Joshua
Christopher
Daniel
Nicholas
Andrew,
Tyler
Joseph
Brandon
Anthony
Austin
John
James,
Zachary
David
Ryan
Justin
Jonathan
William
Alexander
Robert
Christian
Kyle
Kevin
Thomas
Aaron
Jose
Benjamin
Cody
Eric,
Samuel,
Steven
Brian,
Jordan
Dylan
Nathan
Adam
Richard

Rate
18.56
17.42
16.38
14.61
14.46
13.18
13.08
12.68
12.14
12.04
11.65
11.60
11.05
10.91
10.56
10.22
9.72
9.52
9.18
8.93
8.69
8.44
7.99
7.20
6.81
6.51
6.46
6.42
6.12
5.97

5.87
5.53
5.28
5.03
4.93