The 20 Most Popular Middle Names in the Decade You Were Born

If your middle name is Marie, that tells us nothing about when you were born.
This baby's middle name is probably Lee.
This baby's middle name is probably Lee. / Vince Streano/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

Between 1900 and 1909, the second most popular middle name for a baby girl in the U.S. was Marie. Everyone knows that names come in and out of fashion, so it’s no surprise that Marie no longer held that position between 2010 and 2015. During that span, it was … in first place.

In fact, Marie has never fallen past fourth place in any decade since 1900; and during most decades, it was either in second or first place. It’s far from the only moniker that has remained in the top 10 middle names for more than a century—Ann and Elizabeth have, too.

And that’s just on the girls’ side. For boys’ middle names, Joseph, James, and Lee have all ranked every single decade. Lee in particular deserves a special shout-out: Not only was it in first place for five consecutive decades (the 1930s through the 1970s) on the boys’ side, but it also made the top 10 girls’ middle names in every decade of the 20th century.

The data is from a 2016 study by MooseRoots, a now-defunct genealogical site that trawled some 57.5 million middle names from the Social Security Death Index to create the lists. The timing of the study explains why the 2010s data cuts off at 2015—and if all the research were updated with nearly a decade’s worth of additional death records, it’s possible or even likely that the rankings would shift slightly. Still, though, it probably wouldn’t be enough to threaten Marie’s and Lee’s supremacy.

The lists aren’t completely without fads. Margaret and Dawn each only made the top 10 girls’ names during one decade: Margaret in the 1900s, and Dawn in the 1970s. Scott, meanwhile, is only on the boys’ list for the 1960s; and Wayne made its first appearance in the ’40s, but fell off after the ’70s. Rose had the opposite trajectory, first appearing in the ’80s and climbing the list by a couple spots every decade since then.

In general, it seems like people prefer to go short in choosing middle names for girls: Seven of the top 10 from 2010 to 2015 are only one syllable. (It’s probably not a coincidence that so many of today’s most popular first names for girls are quite long: e.g. Olivia, Amelia, and Isabella.) For boys’ middle names, “traditional” seems to be a common theme—Michael, William, etc.

Is your own middle name one of the most popular from your birth decade? Find out below.

1900 – 1909

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Mae

William

2.

Marie

Joseph

3.

Elizabeth

Edward

4.

May

John

5.

Louise

Henry

6.

Mary

James

7.

Margaret

Francis

8.

Irene

Charles

9.

Ann

Lee

10.

Lee

George

1910 – 1919

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Mae

Joseph

2.

Marie

William

3.

Elizabeth

Edward

4.

Louise

John

5.

Mary

Henry

6.

Ann

James

7.

May

Lee

8.

Lee

Charles

9.

Jane

Francis

10.

Irene

George

1920 – 1929

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Mae

Edward

2.

Marie

Joseph

3.

Louise

William

4.

Jean

Lee

5.

Ann

Eugene

6.

Elizabeth

John

7.

Jane

James

8.

Lee

Robert

9.

Ruth

Henry

10.

Mary

Charles

1930 – 1939

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Ann

Lee

2.

Jean

Edward

3.

Mae

Eugene

4.

Marie

Joseph

5.

Lee

William

6.

Louise

James

7.

Jane

Ray

8.

Lou

John

9.

Elizabeth

Robert

10.

Ruth

Richard

1940 – 1949

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Ann

Lee

2.

Jean

Edward

3.

Marie

James

4.

Lee

Eugene

5.

Louise

William

6.

Sue

Joseph

7.

Mae

Ray

8.

Kay

Wayne

9.

Elizabeth

Allen

10.

Jane

Michael

1950 – 1959

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Ann

Lee

2.

Marie

Edward

3.

Lynn

Allen

4.

Jean

Michael

5.

Lee

Wayne

6.

Sue

James

7.

Louise

Joseph

8.

Kay

Ray

9.

Elizabeth

William

10.

Anne

Eugene

1960 – 1969

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Ann

Lee

2.

Marie

Allen

3.

Lynn

Edward

4.

Lee

Anthony

5.

Jean

Michael

6.

Sue

James

7.

Kay

Wayne

8.

Louise

Joseph

9.

Renee

Alan

10.

Elizabeth

Scott

1970 – 1979

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Marie

Lee

2.

Ann

Michael

3.

Lynn

James

4.

Lee

Allen

5.

Michelle

Edward

6.

Renee

Anthony

7.

Elizabeth

David

8.

Dawn

Joseph

9.

Jean

William

10.

Anne

Wayne

1980 – 1989

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Marie

Michael

2.

Ann

Lee

3.

Lynn

James

4.

Nicole

Anthony

5.

Elizabeth

Joseph

6.

Renee

David

7.

Michelle

Allen

8.

Lee

Robert

9.

Anne

William

10.

Rose

Edward

1990 – 1999

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Marie

Michael

2.

Nicole

James

3.

Ann

Lee

4.

Lynn

Anthony

5.

Elizabeth

Allen

6.

Renee

Joseph

7.

Michelle

David

8.

Rose

Thomas

9.

Lee

Robert

10.

Anne

William

2000 – 2009

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’ Names

1.

Marie

Michael

2.

Nicole

James

3.

Elizabeth

Lee

4.

Ann

Allen

5.

Lynn

Joseph

6.

Rose

David

7.

Grace

William

8.

Renee

Thomas

9.

Mae

Anthony

10.

Faith

Robert

2010 – 2015

Rank

Girls’ Names

Boys’›› Names

1.

Marie

James

2.

Grace

Lee

3.

Rose

Michael

4.

Ann

Joseph

5.

Elizabeth

Alexander

6.

Faith

David

7.

Mae

William

8.

Lynn

Andrew

9.

Renee

Matthew

10.

Jane

Robert

Read More About Baby Names:

manual