Menu
  

1950s Boys’ Names: Where are they now?

posted by: karacavazos View all posts by this author

By Kara Cavazos, The Art of Naming

Let’s take another look at the past! The year 1950 was smack dab in the middle of the century. Babies born that year will celebrate their 65th birthday this year. Many of them are grandparents now and may even be lending their own names to their grandchildren.

The most popular boy names in 1950 were James, Robert, John, Michael and David. How did these names rank 63 years later in 2013? Well, most of them are classics that don’t fade very far down the charts. In fact, James, Michael and David are still in the Top 20 today. Here’s how the 1950’s Top 25 names rank in 2013:

 

Boys:        

James

Robert

John

Michael

David

William

Richard

Thomas

Charles

Gary

Larry

Ronald

Joseph

Donald

Kenneth

Steven

Dennis

Paul

Stephen

George

Daniel

Edward

Mark

Jerry

Gregory

1950:    

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

2013:

13

62

27

7

18

5

140

61

57

578

477

403

20

415

187

136

455

198

252

157

10

145

184

450

299

The most popular boy names in 1950 were James, Robert, John, Michael and David. How did these names rank 63 years later in 2013? Well, most of them are classics that don’t fade very far down the charts. In fact, James, Michael and David are still in the Top 20 today. Here’s how the 1950’s Top 25 names rank in 2013:

As you can see, all of the boy names that were in the Top 25 in 1950 are still within the Top 600 in 2013.  I found it interesting that even though some of these seem very dated, they’re still hanging around and being used.  Specifically, I was a little surprised to see Gary, Larry, Ronald, Donald, Dennis and Jerry still ranking as high as they do.  Do you know any babies with these names?  I’d wager that many of them are named after a relative but perhaps not all of them.

Next, I went through the Top 1000 names of 1950 and chose a single favorite per 100 names. These are names that are either fashionable and climbing the charts today, or names that I’d like to see get more usage! If you’d like to play along, browse the chart at the SSA website and in the comment section below, post your favorite names, one per every 100 names!

#99 – Theodore

The nickname Theo seems to be a big draw lately. This name ranked Number 99 in 1950 but has declined in usage since then. In the past decade, though, it has started regaining some popularity, ranking at Number 170 in 2013. This is one of my favorite classic names but I tend to love it more in the middle name spot!

#165 – Wesley

My grandfather’s middle name is Wesley so I always thought of it as an old man name. Now that I’m older, I see the charm it has. I’d like to see this one used a bit more today. It ranked at Number 165 in 1950 and is actually doing even better than that today, ranking at Number 139 in 2013.

#287 – Edmund

I haven’t been able to pinpoint why I love this handsome, classic name so much, but modern parents don’t seem to feel the same. While it ranked at Number 287 in 1950, it isn’t even on the charts today! It ranked Number 1192 in 2013. I find it much more handsome than Edward. Edmund would be my Eddy of choice. I’d like to see it get more love!

#371 – Woodrow

You may think me a bit nutty for this one, but there’s something appealing about Woodrow. Perhaps it’s just Toy Story and Cheers nostalgia because of the nickname Woody. This name spiked majorly around 1918 because of President Wilson, but it’s been off the charts since then. In 2013, it ranked way down at Number 3314. I doubt it’ll ever come back, but I like it anyway.

#468 – August

It is no secret that this name is zooming up the charts today. Overnight, everyone and their grandmother seemed to suddenly love the name August. It was big in 1915 but fell mostly out of sight since then. It ranked at Number 468 in 1950 but fell even lower than that afterward. It wasn’t until recently that it’s climbed again. Now in 2013 it is up to Number 319 and I imagine it’ll keep on going!

#588 – Bennett

Parents seem to love surname names these days. A new trend of names ending with -et is growing for both genders, too. Bennett ranked down at Number 588 in 1950 but it has been in an upward trajectory since the 70s. It is up to Number 194 in 2013 and will probably continue gaining popularity.

#627 – Fletcher

This is another surnamey, occupational name that is rising quickly today. Fletcher seems to be a new favorite lately. It ranked at #627 in 1950 but it nosedived off the charts thereafter. Only recently have people rediscovered it. It’s now up to Number 790 in 2013 and has the potential to be the next big thing soon.

#702 – Benedict

This is a love of mine. It seems to be a bit polarizing though. Some think it isn’t usable today and some really like it. It ranked pretty low in 1950 and has only gone lower. It hasn’t ranked in the Top 1000 since 1968! I think it deserves a little better than a ranking of Number 1482 in 2013 but maybe that’s just me.

#847 – Leonardo

Like Theo, Leo is becoming a go-to nickname. Leonardo ranked down at Number 847 in 1950 but it has actually been climbing the charts since then. DiCaprio gave it a boost after 1997 and today it ranks at Number 131 in 2013. I don’t see it leaping up the chart but it’ll definitely keep inching its way toward the top.

#967 – Jarvis

Jarvis is a cool choice. It feels old but new at the same time. And that stylish V doesn’t hurt! A cool namesake is that of Iron Man‘s advanced computerized helper J.A.R.V.I.S which stands for “Just A Rather Very Intelligent System”.  The name Jarvis ranked way down at Number 967 in 1950, spiked in 1989 and has declined in usage again today. It is down at Number 1238 in 2013 but I think it deserves more love.

What do you think of my Top 10 picks from 1950? What would you have chosen? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

Kara Cavazos is a mother of two, a blogger and a baby name enthusiast. She loves ancient and vintage names most of all but she regularly features a variety of names on her blog The Art of Naming.

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required
karacavazos Berry Juice default profile image

About the author

karacavazos

Kara Cavazos is a mother of two, a blogger and a baby name enthusiast. She loves ancient and vintage names most of all but she regularly features a variety of names on her blog The Art of Naming.
View all of karacavazos's articles View all Berry Juice Bloggers

comments

5 Responses to “1950s Boys’ Names: Where are they now?”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

The_Supernatural_Hufflepuff Says:

March 2nd, 2015 at 1:46 am

#96. Alfred
#120. Dean
#282. Isaac
#331. Dallas
#441. Simon or #447. Harrison
#552. Toby
#696. Graham
#700. Milo
#893. Hugo
#977. Reese

natasha8 Says:

March 2nd, 2015 at 3:19 am

Michael….Alan….Steven….Ronald….Donald….David….Douglas….Scott….Craig….Mark….Bruce….Timothy….Thomas….Richard….Robert….Daniel….Gary….Jeffrey….John….James….Kenneth….Keith….Paul….Douglas….Brian

also….Raymond….Frank….Edward….Charles (Chuck)….Larry

doesn’t matter what the numbers say, these were the quintessential boys’ names identified with the 1950’s

SimoneKadele Says:

March 2nd, 2015 at 6:56 pm

I like William and James.

hermione_vader Says:

March 3rd, 2015 at 3:18 pm

73. Kevin
124. Nicholas
293. Preston
350. Hal
438. Kermit
584. Errol
642. Alejandro
721. Donovan
805. Jeremy
900. Brooks

ElsaAnne Says:

March 7th, 2015 at 10:40 am

47 – Henry
104 – Jerome
220 – Otis
385 – Wilfred
464 – Reuben
578 – Solomon
606 – Ignacio
787 – Ezra
869 – Xavier
946 – Rupert

I found this list much harder to create than the girls, so many of my favourite names are in the top 200!

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.