The 100 Most Popular Baby Names from the ’80s
These days, hospital nurseries in the U.S. are full of Olivias and Olivers, Emmas and Liams. But back in the 1980s, it was all about Jessica and Joshua and Jennifer and Christopher.
The Social Security Administration issued Social Security Numbers to 469,520 Jessicas born in the 1980s, making it the most popular baby girl name of the whole decade. Michael took the blue ribbon on the boys’ side with a final count of 663,844. Behind it was Christopher at nearly 555,000, with Matthew, Joshua, and David rounding out the top five. For girls, Jessica was followed by Jennifer, Amanda, Ashley, and Sarah.
It’s worth mentioning that the SSA logs each variant spelling of a name as its own entry. Some names would’ve ranked significantly higher if that weren’t the case. There were 272,636 Sarahs, for example, but there were also 104,675 Saras. If you add those two figures, Sarah/Sara would climb from third to fifth place. Other pairs to make the top 50 include Steven (25th) and Stephen (36th); Lindsey (42nd) and Lindsay (44th); and Kristen (38th) and Kristin (43rd).
Of the top 10 baby boy names from the SSA’s most recent ranking—which is from 2021—three are also in the top 50 from the 1980s: James, William, and Benjamin. On the girls’ side, meanwhile, not a single name from 2021’s top 10 also appears on the 1980s list. The letter y as a name-ending trend—Tiffany, Brittany, Amy, Kimberly, Ashley, etc.—has been supplanted by a. None of 2021’s top 10 end in y; seven end in a, from Olivia and Emma to Isabella and Mia.
How many ’80s babies do you know with the names below?