Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Least Popular American Baby Names

The Least Popular American Baby Names According to Early Records | Mental Floss

Update (5/9): Noah and Sophia were the top names of 2013.
Like a lot of people, I have been entranced by this animated map of the most popular baby names for girls by state over the past 50+ years. It shows how the country shifted from Mary to Lisa before giving over completely to Jennifer, after which the Jessica/Ashley and Emily/Emma battles eventually resolved into the current dominance of Sophia. The map was created by Reuben Fischer-Baum of Deadspin using baby name data from the Social Security Administration. The SSA website gives the top 1000 boy and girl names (as reported on social security card applications) for each year from 1880 onward.
This brief historical tour of the most popular names got me curious about the least popular names. If you look at the low end of the top 1000 names for 2012, you see boys’ names like Dangelo, Foster, Jaidyn, Briggs and Davon. For girls, you see names like Katalina, Hayleigh, Sloan, Karlie, and Meadow. These names are a bit different, but not all that unusual. Even the 1000th most popular name represents a few hundred babies, or even a few thousand if added up over four or five years. However, in the early years of SSA data, the population was much smaller, so the low end of the list represents fewer babies. And there are some pretty fabulous names in there. 
I went through first 53 years of the SSA records and pulled out some of the best boy and girl names from the 900 to 1000 range for each year. Together, they make for great couples. I love imagining that among all the Johns and Marys who settled down together, Orange and Leafy (1893), or Henery and Florance (1897), or Lillian the boy and Lillyan the girl (1908) might have found each other too.
If you’re looking for a baby name and want something truly original, but with historical precedent, here’s your list:
YearBoy (Rank)Girl (Rank)
1880Handy (970)Parthenia (914)
1881Okey (972)Erie (1000)
1882Ab (943)Dove (944)
1883Commodore (925)Lovey (992)
1884Spurgeon (958)Kathern (974)
1885Fount (989)Icy (977)
1886Squire (953)Texie (987)
1887Bliss (946)Lockie (907)
1888Boss (930)Indiana (989)
1889Starling (962)Easter (967)
1890Lawyer (999)Pinkey (918)
1891Manley (962)Chestina (974)
1892Little (914)Odell (1000)
1893Orange (1000)Leafy (933)
1894Flem (1000)Ova (986)
1895Toy (969)Sister (974)
1896Josephine (937)*Clifford (935)*
1897Henery (1000)Florance (1000)
1898Pleasant (973)Tiny (915)
1899Fate (972)Cuba (884)
1900Gorge (935)Electa (948)
1901Joesph (999)Buelah (923)
1902Rolla (917)Bama (942)
1903Ples (992)Capitola (982)
1904Council (989)Pearly (993)
1905Son (912)Wava (967)
1906Virgle (999)Carry (971)
1907Geo (956)Arizona (949)
1908Lillian (992)Lilyan (991)
1909Murl (1000)Flonnie (1000)
1910Lemon (964)Classie (994)
1911Wash (978)Lavada (806)
1912Christ (940)Almeta (940)
1913Louise (982)Louis (974)
1914Stephan (1000)Vella (1000)
1915Mayo (990)Dimple (980)
1916Green (929)Golden (908)
1917Elza (968)Loyce (984)
1918Curley (998)Ivory (979)
1919Metro (982)Louvenia (993)
1920Berry (941)Merry (934)
1921Reno (969)Glendora (976)
1922Author (950)Gaynell (981)
1923Burley (994)Dorathy (995)
1924Dorman (954)Mardell (982)
1925Buddie (973)Bobbye (990)
1926Wardell (929)Willodean (941)
1927Estel (914)Gregoria (970)
1928Gust (996)Hildred (998)
1929Vester (984)Jettie (953)
1930Otho (972)Charlsie (951)
1931Early (1000)Ferne (1000)
1932Dock (928)Jack (992)
* Not an error!