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If you were born 50 years ago, you probably went to school with quite a few kids named Jennifer and Michael, the two most popular baby names of the early 1970s. Kids born last year — and in the past several years, actually — will likely have a lot more friends named Liam and Olivia.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released its roster of the most popular baby names of 2022. For the fourth straight year, Olivia topped the list for girls, while Liam reigned among boys’ names for the sixth straight year.
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Olivia — Latin for “olive tree” and the feminine form of Oliver — ranked 504th among girls’ names 50 years ago. It cracked the top 100 in 1990, the top 10 in 2001 and muscled Emma aside to hit No. 1 in 2017.
Liam is an Irish name meaning “strong-willed warrior.” Short for Uilliam, the Irish equivalent of William, Liam’s climb was even steeper than Olivia’s — it wasn’t among even the 1,000 most popular boys’ names in 1972. After a steady, decades-long rise, Liam entered the top 10 in 2012 and quickly reached No. 1.
There were 20,456 Liams born in 2022, according to the SSA, representing 1.1 percent of all male births. The 16,573 Olivias represented 0.92 percent of newborn girls.
There was only one new entry on either top 10 list for 2022, with Luna dislodging Harper to make the girls’ top 10.
Top Baby Names of 2022
||Male Name||Female Name|
|Source: Social Security Administration|
The most common names of 50 years ago have slipped in popularity, particularly on the girls’ side.
Jennifer, an Anglicized version of the Welsh name Guinevere and meaning “fair complexion,” reigned as the top girl’s name from 1970 through 1984, when it peaked in popularity with 50,561 Jennifers being born. In 2022, it slipped out of the top 500, dropping from 494 to 502. Among the 10 most popular girls’ names of 1972, the highest-ranking now is Amy, then No. 5, now No. 205.
Michael, a biblical name meaning “who is like God,” dominated the boys’ list for nearly four decades, ranking No. 1 from 1961 through 1998, when it peaked with 36,617 births. It ranked 16th in 2022, between Jack and Alexander.
For soon-to-be parents on the cutting edge, the fastest-rising names of 2022 were Dutton for boys, making its first appearance in the top 1,000 at No. 835, and Wrenlee for girls, coming in at No. 712 (not to be confused — or, perhaps, often to be confused — with Wrenley, No. 284).
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