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How popular was your name when you were born - and how's it doing now?

Posted May 18

The Social Security Administration has a baby name calculator that lets people look at the top names of a given year, measure how popular a name was in the last century and decide if that moniker's hot or not. (Deseret Photo)

Is your moniker hot or not?

Figuring it out is as simple as checking out the Social Security Administration's name database, where you can plug in a first name and figure out its trendiness.

Noah's been No. 1 for three years and was hot a decade before that. Emma, the 2015 top female name, has sizzled for about a decade, too. And it was a popular name nearly 100 years ago, as well, though it fell out of favor for a stretch in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

On the other hand, Jacob and Sophia are the current champs for top name of this decade, though Jacob was paired with Emily as name boss at the beginning of the century. One hundred years before that — in fact, from 1880 through the 1920s, John and Mary reigned. And Michael had a pretty good run in the 1980s and 1990s, paired with Jennifer and Lisa in different years.

If there was a "most improved" in popularity category for 2014 to 2015, the winners would be Riaan and Huxley for boys and Alaia and Meilani for girls. The opposite is true for Arnav and Jayse on the boys' side and Isis and Annabell for girls.

Wonder how name popularity varies state to state? It's there, too. Parents in most states in 2015 had some variation of either Liam or William and Emma or Olivia in their top two spots. But Washington, D.C., was a standout: William and Henry, both generally top 10 across the country, were paired with the unusual Genesis as the top girl's name and the more common Ava in the second spot. Oklahoma broke ranks on the boys' side, matching Elijah and Jaxon with Emma and Olivia.

It's worth noting, as well, that in a few years when all those Emmas and Olivias get ready for prom, they're apt to be dancing with William or Liam or Noah or Mason, depending on where they live. In Maryland, though, it might be Logan.

As for Lois, it hasn't been popular since 1929.

On a historical note, the administration says the idea for the baby name database came from the 1998 publication of Actuarial Note #139, Name Distributions in the Social Security Area, August 1997, which was written by actuary Michael W. Shackleford.

Email: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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