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Most Popular Baby Names by Decade

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You've bought the baby name books, visited the websites, taken a look at what your friends named their kids, and you still haven't quite landed on the perfect moniker for your little mini-me. You can go with modern-day favorites—or choose a blast from the past and opt for one of the most popular baby names from a decade gone by.

Modern-Day Marvels

You can start your baby name search with what's popular in the present. For example, in the year 2013, the Baby Center website notes that the No. 1 boy name was Liam and the first place winner for girls was Lucy. You'll also find celebrity shout-outs in the top 10, including Mila and Scarlett. As for boys' names, Biblical names found their way to the top of the list, with Jacob, Matthew, Noah and Elijah ranking as popular names.

Born at the Millennia

If you want to go for a contemporary favorite from a bit farther back, check on popular baby names from the first decade of the new millennia. The U.S. Social Security Administration rates Jacob as the most popular name of the 2000s, with 273,523 babies receiving this appellation from 2000 to 2009. The top girls' spot for this decade goes to Emily, at 223,529. Other popular baby names during this decade include Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Daniel, Christopher, Andrew, Ethan, Joseph and William for boys and Madison, Emma, Olivia, Hannah, Abigail, Isabella, Samantha, Elizabeth and Ashley for girls.

Late 20th Century

The second half of the 20th century saw the transition from the hippy 1960s to the disco '70s, excessive '80s and more modern '90s. While the '60s may have had a splattering of Moonflowers and Sunshines, the actual popular names were Michael, David and John for boys, and Lisa, Mary and Susan for girls, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. Michael also took the top honors for the 1970s, '80s and '90s, followed by Christopher for all three decades. Jennifer, Amy and Melissa were the most popular for the '70s for girls. Jennifer moved down to second place during the '80s, with Jessica taking first place in the '80s and '90s.

First Half of the 1900s

Parents looking for an old-fashioned name may want to choose a popular option from the first half of the 20th century. The earliest decade of the 1900s saw the rise of John, William, James, Mary, Helen and Margaret, notes the Social Security Administration. John, William, Mary and Helen stuck around for the following three decades. During the 1940s, James and Robert took the top two spots for boys with a repeat winner—Mary—for girls.

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