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Grandparent Names Today May Surprise You

July 10, 2020 Clare Green
grandparent names

You might be surprised what counts as a grandparent name these days.

Recently we looked at how the new mom names and dad names are the popular picks of the 1980s and 90s. And that means that grandma and grandpa names are evolving too. They’re not your grandparents’ names (although we still love hearing about those). We’re talking about the names of people becoming grandparents right now.

As this xkcd comic points out, we live in a time when some children have a Grandpa Jason or Grandpa Chad (maybe even both!). If you’re old enough that you grew up with a lot of Jasons and Chads, this is one of those strange facts that makes you realize Time Is Passing.

If you’re old enough to remember those names coming out of virtually nowhere in the 1960s to a soaring crescendo in the 70s, even more so.

It’s the sudden emergence that makes them potentially surprising grandparent names. Up until 50 years ago, very few people had them: their freshness made them cool. It was vanishingly rare to have a Grandpa Jason or Chad. It would be almost like a kid today having a Grandpa Kylo or Grandma Kehlani.

All this got us wondering which other once-exclusively-young names are crossing into grandparent territory.

Let’s say, as xkcd does, that the average age of a new grandparent in the USA is 50 (according to the AARP in 2018). The average new grandparent was born around 1970, but younger ones were born in the 70s, or even the early 80s.

The newest grandparent names are those that rose significantly during this time and reached their peak popularity in the late 70s, 80s or even later. The ones that could easily belong to younger grandparents whose own parents were slightly ahead of the trends. Some of these names have faded, but others remain popular today, modern classics shared by three generations.

Just to be clear, we’re not saying you shouldn’t name your kid Jonah or Maya just because some younger grandparents have those names. It’s just…isn’t it mind-blowing that ten years ago hardly anyone had a Grandpa Jonah or Grandma Maya, but now potentially thousands of children could? 

Here are 100 names ⁠— 50 for boys, 50 for girls ⁠— of people who could have grandchildren by now.

Surprising Grandpa Names

In brackets are the number of people with each name born from 1970-1980, a rough age range for younger grandparents.

Austin (6003)
Brendan (8050)
Brooks (1682)
Bryson (606)
Caleb (5007)
Chase (1331)
Cody (11,485)
Cole (1717)
Conor (679)
Damien (7771)
Devon (3539)
Dylan (4866)
Elijah (4155)
Ethan (6036)
Ezekiel (939)
Ezra (1439)
Hunter (1461)
Isaiah (1936)
Jackson (1875)
Jamal (5271)
Jared (29,633)
Jonah (2162)
Jordan (7071)
Josiah (1199)
Justin (113,340)
Kendrick (4394)
Levi (4851)
Liam (904)
Logan (2012)
Lucas (11,909)
Marquis (1960)
Mason (2649)
Maxwell (1160)
Micah (8027)
Noah (6622)
Nolan (2337)
Omar (10,704)
Parker (772)
Prince (733)
Riley (1257)
Ryan (164,539)
Seth (19,640)
Silas (1036)
Tanner (1126)
Taylor (2861)
Tristan (1253)
Tyson (6318)
Weston (1316)
Wyatt (1859)
Zachary (23,328)

Surprising Grandma Names

In brackets are the number of people with each name born from 1970-1980, a rough age range for younger grandparents.

Abby (4069)
Alexis (7331)
Alyssa (7261)
Ariana (1098)
Amber (59,627)
Ashley (28,364)
Aubrey (2536)
Autumn (8887)
Bethany (14,683)
Bianca (3677)
Brandi (33,778)
Brittany (4887)
Brooke (19,473)
Caitlin (1930)
Callie (2041)
Carly (3731)
Chelsea (4023)
Courtney (29,613)
Desiree (11,656)
Destiny (2052)
Ebony (8268 )
Elisha (3366)
Hayley (1533)
Jade (1616)
Jasmine (5324)
Jenna (5300)
Kasey (3878)
Kayla (2255)
Krystal (7412)
Kylie (1585)
Lacey (3719)
Latoya (13,962)
Lauren (29,321)
Lindsay (16,714)
Maya (2535)
Megan (46,507)
Meredith (17,915)
Misty (47,918)
Mindy (16,283)
Morgan (2634)
Natasha (22,757)
Olivia (8974)
Precious (1269)
Raven (1597)
Regan (1706)
Rhiannon (2074)
Summer (10,786)
Tanisha (6379)
Taylor (862)
Tiffany (81,387)

Top Names of 1970

For context, these are the top 10 names in the year the average-aged grandparent was born. Already popular and well-established in 1970, these probably won’t be such a surprise.

Peak Grandpa Names

1. Michael
2. James
3. David
4. John
5. Robert
6. Christopher
7. William
8. Brian
9. Mark
10. Richard

Peak Grandma Names

1. Jennifer
2. Lisa
3. Kimberly
4. Michelle
5. Amy
6. Angela
7. Melissa
8. Tammy
9. Mary
10. Tracy

Have you spotted any grandparent names that surprised you?

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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