Baby naming is serious—and often tricky—business. You never realize how many people from your childhood you dislike until it’s time to name your offspring. Ditto how many dogs with human names you’ve known. That’s why the trendiest baby name of all time will surprise you. Are you ready?
Drumroll, please… the trendiest baby name of all time is: Linda. Not Jackie (courtesy of Jackie O) or Jessica (second-most popular baby name of 1991). It’s Linda.
According to research from David Taylor, a biotechnologist, Linda is the most popular baby name since 1880, which is as far back as the data goes. He applied techniques to chart trends in baby names based on the Social Security Administration database and the results were surprising, to say the least.
Where a similar study performed by Flowingdata charted trendiness based on how quickly a name gained and lost popularity, Taylor’s study took into account both how quickly a name enters and exits the pool, as well as the intensity of its popularity. This means the name had a major impact, as opposed to just being very popular for a year or so.
The baby name reached the height of popularity (5.48 percent of newborn girls) in 1947. This happened exactly one year after the hit song “Linda” by singer Jack Lawrence debuted. The name remained ultra-popular, staying at the top of the list until 1952, before falling out of the top five altogether by 1964.
Today, not even one percent of baby girls born in 2015 were named Linda. Additionally, according to Taylor’s research, names for girls tend to be trendier than for boys. Other picks on the lists for trendiest girls’ names are Brittany, Ashley, Shirley and Debra. Some of the most popular boys’ names include Jason, Grover, Mark and Woodrow. The unlikely name “Dewey” topped the boy’s list from 1897-1903 but is the only boy’s name to crack the top 10 list of trendiest names.
Now that Linda has begun to fall out of favor, what will the next most popular name be?