What’s in a name? The trends around names are often hard to predict and ever changing (hello Jackie, Ashley and Nicole) but one man, through lots of research has narrowed down the trendiest name in U.S. history. David Taylor, a biotechnologist applied techniques he used in chemometrics to chart the trends in baby names based on the Social Security Administration database from 1880 to figure it out. Unlike a similar study performed by Flowingdata, where trendiness was based on how quickly a name gained and lost popularity, Taylor based his charts on not only that, but also just how popular the name actually was. So what is it you ask? It’s — drum roll, please —Linda.
Yes, you read that right. The trendiest name in the United States is one of the most, well, normal sounding names ever— Linda. Not even Mary or Jane. How and why you ask? Let’s take a look. Linda reached the height of it’s popularity (5.48 percent of baby girls) in 1947, a year after the hit song “Linda” by singer Jack Lawrence was released. It remained at the top of the list until 1952, before falling out of the top five altogether by 1964. Now, it’s virtually dead, only .022 percent of baby girls born in 2015 were named Linda. According to Taylor’s analysis, names for girls tend to be trendier than names for boys (only one boys name, Dewey made the list of top ten trendiest names ever.) No names have ever reached even as close to Linda at it’s peak; Shirley was the next closest name at around four percent, likely due to the popularity of child star Shirley Temple. And the closest boy name, Jason peaked at around 3.5 percent.
It’s hard to say if any other name will ever reach the peak of Linda (2012’s most popular girl name, Sophia was only given to 1.2 percent) but it will be interesting to see if they do!