The Most Popular Baby Names Aren't All That Popular Anymore

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Noah became the most common baby boy name in 2013, ending the 14-year run of Jacob as America's favorite son. But that doesn't mean that suddenly the Noahs are taking over: All the most popular names are decidedly less popular than they used to be.

While names from the Bible, like Noah, Jacob, and Michael, have always dominated the top of the charts, the most-used names are declining as a percentage of all names. In 1990, Michael was the most popular baby boy name with 65,272 kids getting that name. This past year, Noah led led the list, but with just 18,090 boys.

Using data from the Social Security Administration, we graphed the five most used boy names of the year from 1990 to 2013. You can see a marked decrease in the raw numbers of babies with popular names.

The most common name of 2013 was just 28 percent as used as the most common name of 1990. Obviously, parents today work a lot harder to stay away from common monikers.

That jibes with the general sense that names are getting increasingly non-mainstream. "In the past, most parents were picking from a pretty well-defined set of names," Laura Wattenberg, the creator of, told US News. "Today," she said, "we get names everywhere." 

On the girl's side, Sophia took the crown of most popular name for the third straight year.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.