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What’s in a Name? Popular Names in the 1950s and Today

By Margaret Manning December 30, 2013 Mindset

Do you love your name? Or, do you sometimes wonder what your parents were thinking when they decided what to call you? While naming our children seems like a personal decision, we probably don’t realize how much we are influenced by outside trends. In fact, looking at the data, it’s fascinating to see how the most popular names vary from decade to decade.

In the past, attention craving celebrities have chosen intentionally obscure and creative names for their children. Some of the most interesting were Blue Ivy, North West, Fifi Trixibelle or Apple. My personal favorite is the name celebrity chef Jamie Oliver chose for his daughter – Petal Blossom Rainbow Oliver. Be thankful your parents were moderately more subdued. Or perhaps they weren’t.

Since nostalgia is a powerful tool for brain health, and researching the past is just plain fun, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and investigate the most popular names from my childhood. According to the Social Security Administration, here are the most popular names of children born between 1950 and 1959. Can you remember how many people you knew when you were a child that had one of these names? Mary, Linda, Patricia, Susan, Deborah, Barbara, Debra, Karen, Nancy, Donna.

It’s probably also not surprising that many names that were popular when we were children are due to make a comeback, at least according to this article on the Huffington Post. They suggest that we bring back some of the classic favorites for girls like Margaret, Florence, Grace, Evelyn, Lucille, Marlene, and Veronica.

Do you love your name? If not, what would you change it to?  Which “old fashioned” name would you like to see revived? Leave your comment below – it will be fascinating to see what names everyone chooses!

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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