Top Boys Name For Each Letter: a 130-year survey

Yesterday, we looked at the girls’ names, and today, as promised, it’s the boys’ turn.  Again, we present the Top 10 baby names for every letter of the alphabet—from Anthony to Zecheriah—compiled by nameberry’s own Nephele.  (The U.S. Social Security Administration’s complete names lists spanning a 130-year period were used in the tabulation of these special statistics.)

And again, there are some listings you might find surprising: even more nickname names, with Billy and Bobby both among the ten most popular ‘B’ names, Willie  the Number 3 ‘W’ name, and twice as many Larrys as Lawrences.  Almost a dozen Latino names appear, but no José (blame the profusion of other popular J-boys for crowding it out); and four different spellings of Zachary make the list.  As compared with the girls’ statistics, there are more top names racking up much greater numbers, with several of the male classics being given to two, three, four and even five million boys over time.

Here, the full roster of  Top 10 names for each starting initial:

A

1. Anthony 1,335,664

2. Andrew 1,192,233

3. Alexander 542,038

4. Arthur 518,307

5. Aaron 515,997

6. Adam 507,633

7. Albert 481,705

8. Austin 357,449

9. Alan 326,687

10. Allen 259,359

B

1. Brian 1,142,501

2. Brandon 705,063

3. Benjamin 626,514

4. Billy 379,598

5. Bruce 376,645

6. Bryan 356,776

7. Bobby 310,269

8. Bradley 286,800

9. Bernard 197,528

10. Barry 179,089

C

1. Charles 2,328,053

2. Christopher 1,933,416

3. Carl 498,906

4. Christian 342,738

5. Clarence 300,847

6. Craig 296,345

7. Cody 268,196

8. Carlos 256,115

9. Curtis 253,327

10. Chad 236,666

D

1. David 3,511,227

2. Daniel 1,793,991

3. Donald 1,404,652

4. Dennis 612,014

5. Douglas 553,349

6. Dylan 280,799

7. Danny 276,431

8. Dale 275,554

9. Derek 213,847

10. Dustin 199,245

E

1. Edward 1,267,267

2. Eric 847,385

3. Eugene 376,042

4. Ernest 298,854

5. Earl 287,443

6. Ethan 287,149

7. Edwin 229,872

8. Eddie 205,683

9. Evan 205,669

10. Elijah 170,792

F

1. Frank 901,908

2. Fred 341,881

3. Francis 280,856

4. Frederick 256,432

5. Floyd 152,941

6. Franklin 130,475

7. Francisco 119,967

8. Fernando 83,579

9. Freddie 71,792

10. Fredrick 62,404

G

. George 1,441357

2. Gary 895,566

3. Gregory 697,591

4. Gerald 444,415

5. Gabriel 248,068

6. Glenn 246,121

7. Gordon 151,149

8. Gilbert 126,962

9. Gene 125,637

10. Glen 124,268

H

1. Henry 607,592

2. Harold 547,116

3. Harry 417,970

4. Howard 343,052

5. Herbert 227,022

6. Hunter 165,722

7. Herman 134,783

8. Harvey 116,108

9. Hector 91,294

10. Hugh 79,300

I

1. Isaac 196,421

2. Ian 178,890

3. Isaiah 144,155

4. Ivan 105,894

5. Ira 51,877

6. Israel 46,938

7. Irving 42,523

8. Irvin 37,877

9. Ismael 28,888

10. Isiah 21,463

J

1. James 5,035,271

2. John 5,028,213

3. Joseph 2,505,113

4. Joshua 1,109,624

5. Jason 985,116

6. Jeffrey 962,581

7. Jacob 778,140

8. Jonathan 764,646

9. Justin 732,486

10. Jack 617,395

K

1. Kenneth 1,255,192

2. Kevin 1,120,766

3. Kyle 456,504

4. Keith 428,351

5. Karl 98,512

6. Kurt 84,291

7. Kelly 80,670

8. Kent 67,187

9. Kirk 66,782

10. Kristopher 57,526

L

1. Larry 800,113

2. Lawrence 451,797

3. Louis 385,811

4. Leonard 287,762

5. Luis 237,026

6. Lee 227,800

7. Logan 216,572

8. Leroy 197,009

9. Luke 185,257

10. Leo 167,651

M

1. Michael 4,226,006

2. Matthew 1,483,868

3. Mark 1,331,796

4. Martin 295,296

5. Marvin 245,860

6. Melvin 239,112

7. Marcus 208,315

8. Mike 202,470

9. Manuel 171,562

10. Mitchell 156,964

N

1. Nicholas 837,599

2. Nathan 467,113

3. Norman 250,383

4. Noah 229,461

5. Nathaniel 228,797

6. Neil 98,912

7. Nelson 73,328

8. Nicolas 68,380

9. Nolan 55,031

10. Neal 53,231

O

1. Oscar 180,315

2. Owen 105,497

3. Oliver 82,265

4. Omar 80,226

5. Otis 56,121

6. Orlando 42,847

7. Orville 34,846

8. Otto 28,795

9. Ollie 15,471

10. Odell 14,480

P

1. Paul 1,370,225

2. Patrick 650,692

3. Peter 559,504

4. Philip 332,899

5. Phillip 300,753

6. Preston 89,903

7. Pedro 80,278

8. Perry 73,667

9. Parker 59,183

10. Pete 42,582

Q

1. Quentin 34,894

2. Quinton 24,913

3. Quinn 23,197

4. Quincy 20,828

5. Quintin 12,577

6. Quinten 5,879

7. Quenton 2,824

8. Quinlan 1,749

9. Quincey 1,467

10. Quran 1,404

R

1. Robert 4,759,913

2. Richard 2,539,254

3. Ronald 1,071,156

4. Ryan 846,500

5. Raymond 760,077

6. Roger 435,238

7. Ralph 410,661

8. Roy 400,083

9. Russell 346,895

10. Randy 322,227

S

1. Steven 1,257,066

2. Stephen 844,170

3. Scott 764,992

4. Samuel 660,433

5. Sean 397,133

6. Stanley 295,843

7. Shawn 292,627

8. Steve 238,021

9. Shane 176,764

10. Seth 147,382

T

1. Thomas 2,247,306

2. Timothy 1,044,310

3. Tyler 530,871

4. Terry 418,848

5. Travis 288,370

6. Todd 279,619

7. Tony 243,284

8. Theodore 210,924

9. Troy 200,474

10. Tommy 172,786

U

1. Ulysses 15,868

2. Uriel 11,479

3. Ulises 7,616

4. Uriah 4,786

5. Urban 2,826

6. Ubaldo 1,899

7. Ulyses 1,278

8. Umar 1,264

9. Uziel 1,091

10. Ulisses 978

V

1. Vincent 307,569

2. Victor 293,402

3. Vernon 144,403

4. Virgil 70,558

5. Van 25,244

6. Vance 23,000

7. Vaughn 18,022

8. Vicente 16,212

9. Vito 13,569

10. Vern 11,446

W

1. William 3,969,127

2. Walter 612,488

3. Willie 445,749

4. Wayne 349,359

5. Wesley 188,524

6. Warren 170,245

7. Wallace 80,198

8. Wyatt 77,730

9. Willard 76,908

10. Wade 64,115

X

1. Xavier 90,055

2. Xander 10,236

3. Xzavier 3,983

4. Xavion 1,231

5. Xaiver 822

6. Xavian 775

7. Xavior 729

8. Xzavion 648

9. Xavien 448

10. Xaviar 410

Y

1. Yahir 6,329

2. Yosef 4,523

3. Yusuf 3,620

4. Yehuda 3,607

5. Yisroel 3,258

6. Yaakov 2,941

7. Yitzchok 2,576

8. Yousef 2,516

9. Yair 2,496

10. Yancy 2,348

Z

1. Zachary 486,948

2. Zane 31,757

3. Zachery 28,040

4. Zackary 26,625

5. Zachariah 21,331

6. Zackery 16,039

7. Zion 13,335

8. Zander 8,530

9. Zack 6,486

10. Zechariah 6,368

What did you find most interesting/surprising in these listings, especially as compared with the girls’?

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38 Responses to “Top Boys Name For Each Letter: a 130-year survey”

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Charlotte Vera Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 4:16 am

These lists are great! I must say that it’s rather refreshing to read a popularity list that doesn’t include an Aiden or Jayden variant.

I was a bit surprised to see Clarence so high up there on the list — I’m a fan, but haven’t ever come across any, not even in the 60+ age group. (Granted, it was my grandfather’s unofficial middle name.)

I see that J has always been a very popular letter; I think I’ll try to avoid it for my own children, both boys and girls.

sadiesadie Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 9:09 am

It doesn’t surprise me that biblical names seem to have top billing. I though Alexander would rival William though! Thanks nephele for all the hard work!

Lola Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 9:09 am

Wow, Steven tops Stephen? My brother would be surprised too, all he ever meets are Stephens. I too was a bit surprised to see Clarence up so high. (He’s Nick’s “Kick Buttowski’s” ) real name, which may give it a boost sometime down the road). but Wow.
And I was just generally pleased that Yancy made a showing, I LOVE Yancy!

Jill z. Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 9:50 am

These lists are a little deceiving since it’s the top ten for each letter instead of the top 250-260 names in general over the last 130 years. It would give a truer representation of name popularity and I would have rather seen it that way.

Kristi Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 9:57 am

I love it! My husband is a Stephen so he was annoyed that Steven topped his spelling. I found that rather funny. I also had to laugh at Larry topping Lawrence because my father is one of those Larry’s and everyone always wanted to give him the formal Lawrence instead. He still gets mail with Lawrence on it.

Nephele Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 10:21 am

Jill z. I can provide the top names by popularity as well, covering the SSA’s 130-year span.

I chose the “top alphabet” names for this purpose because the lists would include rarer names while still giving people an overview of what the most popular names have been for each letter of the alphabet. I actually thought “alphabet names” might be more fun.

I was surprised to see so much interest in this! I especially love Linda’s commentary on the names in her blog here.

Vikki Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 10:45 am

I’ve loved these two lists as well. It is fun to read about name popularity. You see the mix of the formerly trendy and the classics. I think it is odd that Terry made the list, but Terrence or anything that Terry could be short for didn’t. Kelly as a boys name.

E @ Oh Apostrophe! Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:09 am

I think it would be neat to see a tally of the number of babies named x in the past 10, 20, etc years… It’s one thing to know if a name is popular in 2009 or whatever, but would be cool to see how many of a certain name are out there. (Obviously the babies named 130 years ago aren’t out there anymore.)

katybug Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:10 am

Yesterday’s comment about William for girls (that it may be mostly due SSA record error) got me thinking about Ollie here and on the girls’ list. Is is possible that most of the girl Ollies are errors too?

Emmy Jo Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:13 am

I was surprised by the Y list — you have to get down to #10 (Yancy) to find a name that is recognizably English in usage. 1-9 are distinctly foreign-sounding. I would have imagined that names commonly used in English would top names with a foreign-language origin. I guess Y is much more popular a letter in other languages!

katybug Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:13 am

Also, I’m very surprised to see James ahead of John.

Nephele Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:20 am

katybug, I think “Ollie” is most likely a legitmate name on both the boys and girls lists. It’s a very plausible nickname for “Oliver” or “Olive/Olivia,” and nicknames appearing as formal names in SSA registrations were common in the early days.

katybug Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:22 am

That’s a good point, Nephele! Thanks again for all your hard work! I enjoyed seeing the “millionaires” list that Suzanne did yesterday so I did one for the boys. Here’s the top 30 total (all over 900,000 names–so diffrent than the girls!)
1 James 5,035,271
2 John 5,028,213
3 Robert 4,759,913
4 Michael 4,226,006
5 William 3,969,127
6 David 3,511,227
7 Richard 2,539,254
8 Joseph 2,505,113
9 Charles 2,328,053
10 Thomas 2,247,306
11 Christopher 1,933,416
12 Daniel 1,793,991
13 Matthew 1,483,868
14 George 1,441,357
15 Donald 1,404,652
16 Paul 1,370,225
17 Anthony 1,335,664
18 Mark 1,331,796
19 Edward 1,267,267
20 Steven 1,257,066
21 Kenneth 1,255,192
22 Andrew 1,192,233
23 Brian 1,142,501
24 Kevin 1,120,766
25 Joshua 1,109,624
26 Ronald 1,071,156
27 Timothy 1,044,310
28 Jason 985,116
29 Jeffrey 962,581
30 Frank 901,908

SJ Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:33 am

Great work! Thanks for doing this for us. I love the wonky name stats posts.

Pam Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 11:34 am

You berries are all so amazing. These millionaires lists are great….. Thanks, Katybug, Suzanne, and Nephele!

Nephele Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

You’re very welcome, Pam and Linda! It was my pleasure doing these tabulations. As I told Linda, anytime you want expanded alphabet lists (top 100 for each letter of the alphabet), just let me know.

katybug and Suzanne, nice work on the “Millionaires” lists! You’ve actually got all the millionaires from my total stats — 27 boys and 12 girls. It’ll be interesting to see who else joins the Millionaires club this year when the SSA publishes its next update in May.

linda Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Yes, we should definitely do a follow-up!

Macy Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

No wonder I hate John, Richard, Robert, George, Michael, Charles, Joseph, Christopher so much!! Far too many of them.

Kayt Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

High five to me for agreeing to name my son the number one for each letter ever. Good thing I love my James Kenneth. OTOH, I so told my husband that James was too common!

Brittany Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I can’t believe Michael isn’t #1! Very surprised James ranked so much higher.

British American Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

What interesting lists! Thanks for putting these together Nephele. 🙂

kristen Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I’m really loving Ivan right now. I’m kind of happy to see it! And Ulysses!

phoebesmom Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I think it says a lot about naming in general (or just me!) that I would flip my lid if my girls’ names were on this list, but nearly all of my favorite boys’ names were the TOP name of their letter.

suzanne Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Thank for saving me some time today katybug. Boys have a lot less commonly accepted names so I’m not surprised that there are so many male millionaires. Like Lyndsay did yesterder, here are a few combo possibilities that would change the rankings a little. Some of these combos could cause fights with how protective and distinct many argue they are, but I’m doing it anyway:

John and Jonathan – 5,792,859
Bobby and Robert- 5,070,182
William, Willie and Billy – 4,794,474
Michael and Mike – 4,428,476
Thomas and Tommy – 2,420,092
Christopher, Kristopher and Christian – 2,393,680
Steven, Stephen and Steve – 2,339,257
Brian & Bryan – 1,499,277
Edward and Eddie – 1,472,950 (throw in Edwin – 1,702, 822)
Nicholas and Nicolas – 905,979

I was surprised Charles was above Christopher, but I guess Charles has been around a bit longer. Also, no Jeremy or Jeremiah? Too many Js push them off, I guess.

Nephele Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Suzanne, Jeremy is #14 for most popular boys’ J names, and Jeremiah is #29.

suzanne Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Thanks Nephele.

Becca Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Live these lists! Thanks for all the gard work!

Becca Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Love these lists! Thanks for all the hard work!

agirlinred Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Why does this list not surprise me? It matches up perfectly with the names of all of the men and boys I know.

My remaining question is this: why aren’t people more original with boys’ names?

Macy Says:

January 8th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Where did Leslie chart for boys?

Nephele Says:

January 8th, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Macy, the boys’ name “Leslie” is #16 for the “L” names. In overall popularity it’s #243. (That’s in the U.S. over the past 130 years — I imagine that Leslie is more popular in the U.K.)

ycw Says:

January 11th, 2011 at 8:33 am

Names on my short list: Benjamin, Daniel, Ernest (but surprised to see it here!), George, James, John, Mark, Vincent
My son is Peter, and I’m not at all surprised it made the list–but Pete surprises me.

Andrew, Seth, and Gary are on the long list (so I will probably not end up using those).
Isaiah Joseph and Michael are special to me as well.

Kelly and James over John surprised me too.

Interestingly, I like less popular names for boys than girls… When it comes to non-family names, I like Old testament names like Hezekiah, Josiah, Shem, and Asa.

The Baby Namers’ Alphabet: Guidance from A to Z – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

January 28th, 2011 at 9:35 am

[…] trumps Stephen: More boys over time have gotten the new-fangled spelling in the U.S. than the more classic […]

Amanda Says:

May 19th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

i am trying to pick name for baby… i love the following but cant figure out what to pick
boys girls
1. Easton Breighlyn
2. Logan Olivia
3. owen kensington
4. noah McKinleigh
5. Nolan McKaelyn
6. Liam Peyton
7. Ethan Emma
me in my husband cant agree lol… he loves the name chloe for a girl, and he like logan the best for boy i dont like chloe
at all… but i am thinking he should name if its a girl and i can pick the boy name.. 🙂 i have a daughter already her name is Brooklyn Sky.. so i wanted to stick with the ending lyn but cant figure out what… and i wanna use middle name rain for girl. any ideas or suggestions or which name you like?

Macy Says:

June 10th, 2011 at 11:58 am

From the girls list I like Olivia and Emma. Peyton for me is a boys name…

From your boys list, I like Easton the most, followed by Liam and Logan.

chrissy Says:

June 16th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I HATE when they don’t combine Steven, Stephen and Steve-they are all the same name!!! It makes the name MORE popular when you add all the spellings and I do not want to give my child a name that is popular. I don’t want there to be 27 Jennifer’s.

chrissy Says:

June 16th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

in my child’s class and my child to be one of them!

Nyx Says:

October 3rd, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I love that both of my boys first and middle names (and even the one nickname) made the list. When we named them, I wanted names that were strong and also a timeless classic (hence the reason I love that they are on the list!). I also wanted names that would not only last a life time, but also be very usable for future generations looking to name their child after a family member 🙂 It is fun to see that so many of the names that I love are on the list. Lost of fun 😀

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