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Thursday, March 12, 2009

1979 Names: Are You in the Top 10?

Here is a list of the Top 10 girl names from 30 years ago, in 1979, in the United States:
  1. Jennifer
  2. Melissa
  3. Amanda
  4. Jessica
  5. Amy
  6. Sarah
  7. Heather
  8. Angela
  9. Nicole
  10. Michelle

I'm going to put a poll over to the right with these names. [Poll closed; see results below.] If you are a U.S. GIRL, and if you were born, say, 25-35 years ago, and one of these is YOUR first name, vote for that name. If you were born about 25-35 years ago and none of those is your first name, choose "other."

Because my goal is to get a general idea rather than an accurate statistical report, the age range is flexible: If you're 24 or 36 and you want to vote, go right ahead. Also, for the same reason, let's include alternate spellings: any "Sara"s should vote for Sarah; any "Nichole"s should vote for Nicole, etc.


Poll results (441 votes total):
Jennifer: 25 votes, roughly 5.67%
Melissa: 11 votes, roughly 2.49%
Amanda: 10 votes, roughly 2.27%
Jessica: 5 votes, roughly 1.13%
Amy: 15 votes, roughly 3.40%
Sarah: 23 votes, roughly 5.22%
Heather: 9 votes, roughly 2.04%
Angela: 5 votes, roughly 1.13%
Nicole: 5 votes, roughly 1.13%
Michelle: 5 votes, roughly 1.13%
none of these: 328 votes, roughly 74.38%

59 comments:

Blueberry said...

my name is carey. that list looks like my a list of my friends growing up though! i had at least one friend with each of those names- except angela and michelle.

Anonymous said...

I was born in 1979 and my name is Breanne- but my dad wanted to name me Jennifer. And obviously, my mom won on that one. But I can't tell you how many Jennifers I knew growing up!

Giselle said...

Um, yea. My name isn't on this list. Or any other list for that matter ;) But these names were so popular that it made me hate my name growing up. Imagine being Gigi in a sea of Jenny and Amy's.

stephanie said...

Born in 1975 and not on the list, but not UNCOMMON. I definitely grew up with a few other Stephanies. And I know a LOT of them in my age-range now.

I never thought it was a bad thing.

...says the pregnant woman whose #1 girl name choice is in the current Top Ten list.

Fine For Now said...

I'm totally surprised by how many people so far have voted for 'none of these', considering, just like everyone else, I knew someone named EACH name!

Rachel, age 26

Peyton said...

I'll be 25 this year. My middle name is Michelle, but my mother was about 20 years before her time--my first name, which was nowhere on the top 1000 in 1984 (or the 10 years following), is now hovering around number 150 on the girls' list, and has been for the last 5 years or so.

BDS said...

Not on here. But by 1987, 5 year old Brooke so wanted to be a Nicole.

Jenni said...

The funny part about being named Jennifer is that my mom chose this name because, "It was original and no one was named Jennifer."

Really mom? Because in a class of 30 of us there were 4!!! In a dance class fo 15, there were 2!!! In high school there were too many to count.

Maybe the clue could have been when she was at the hospital and every other little girl there was named Jennifer.

Don't take this wrong, I am happy with my name. The above is said in a 100% sarcastic tone.

Tracy H said...

I'm 36 and am not on list, but my middle name is on the list, Nicole. But, like others I knew lots of Jennifers, Heathers, Melissas and Michelles.

AH said...

I'm an Alyssa, born 1980, but you should absolutely do a poll of how many middle names "Ann" or "Marie" we have from the same era! I'm and Ann, and I think all my friends are either Anns or Maries!

Nowheymama said...

1974 Sarah in the house! I would like the byproduct of this poll to be proof that there are a LOT of us Sara(h)s and Jennifers in the blog world.

Fine For Now said...

Or Lynn!

saly said...

1978 Sara! Though I maintain Sarah and Sara are totally different..... ;) but whatevs.

Erin said...

I'm an Erin, which I believe was in the 20's, popularity-wise. Those were all my friends' names, though!

saly said...

And to No Whey Mama’s point--- I know 3 other Sara(h)’s in the blogworld and I think 4 Jennifer’s

Catharina said...

My name may not be on that list for the US, but I just found out that it was the Nr. 6 most popular name in Austria, where my parents are from (though I was born in the US). So I had the interesting combination of having an unusual name for almost 20 years (while I lived in the US) and now that I'm in Austria, I feel like all the Jennifers...my name is everywhere.

Jess said...

1978 Jessica here! I can't say that I hate my name but I find it quite boring....

Kate said...

Just over the edge of the polling age - a 1985 Katherine posting. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that while there hasn't been another Jennifer-type explosion since that name itself, Katherine was pretty close in the 1980's. I was in a preschool class of perhaps 20 with another Katie, a Kate, a Katherine Anne, and a Katerina. I literally didn't know that my last initial wasn't supposed to be part of my first name until I got to 1st grade and was the only Katie in the room.

Karen L said...

Just for completeness, should we have the boys' 10 ten in the poll, too? Or even add an option: I'm a 1974-84 boy.

R said...

I was born in 1980 - and with RED hair - so my dad named me Rusti... not many girls named Rusti/y :)

I knew several people by almost every name on the list though :) CRAZY!

Michele said...

I'm a 24yr old Michele

Joceline said...

My middle name is Michelle and my sister's first name is Nicole, but my first name doesn't actually fall on the list!

Sarah said...

I certainly grew up with a lot of Sarahs--there were THREE in my class of 27 (17 girls) when I was growing up. Now, though, I don't know so many.

My dad wanted to name me Stephanie and while that is a perfectly fine name, I'm glad that I was named Sarah. Sarah was so popular for so long that it doesn't seem quite as 'time stamped' as Stephanie does today. Of course, growing up I always thought of Sarah as too bland and too common.

But then, I grew up and named my daughter Anna.

Lara Jane said...

I, too, am surprised by the amount of "none of these" votes. Those Top Tens are all of my best friends! LOL

My mom wanted to name me Jennifer. No offense to you Jennifers, but I'm so glad my dad won. And since he died 8 months after I was born, my not-so-common name has become an extra-special gift.

Bethtastic said...

I'm 1974 Beth. Just Beth, not Elizabeth.

But I have EIGHT friends named Amy. Yes. Eight.

And my high school basketball team was: Amy, Amy, Amy, Angie, Angie, Angie, Shelly, Shelly and Beth.

Daycare Girl said...

I would have been Jennifer if my cousin wasn't born 4 months before me and named that. Instead I got the extremely unusual "named after great-grandmother" name.

Christina Fonseca said...

I was in high school in 1979 and loving disco. My little sister was born in 1975 and my mom seriously considered Jennifer for her - opted for Olga instead!

At the time I wanted my first daughter to be named Heather. My plan changed when I realized that Heather does not sound pretty in Spanish!

Sarah said...

1985 Sarah. I voted. Sorry for cheating!

Allyson said...

While none of those are my name, I have at least one friend with each of them (many with the names Sarah and Melissa). I was born in 1980.

Allyson said...

Just read the comment above about the middles names Ann and Marie. My middle name is Marie, and I agree that at least half of my friends have one of those two middle names.

Mandy said...

I'm a 1979-born Amanda. My parents named me after the country song: "Amaaaaanda, light of my life..." I've always gone by Mandy, though.

Melio said...

Melissa. I think when you have a common name, you might feel "common." I've always wondered how life might be different if I had a less popular name. I knew a girl named Sonnet. I would have loved a name like that. When I went in to change my maiden name, I had a Phoebe moment where I thought, "I can change my name to ANYTHING I want!" I resisted, but sometimes that thought still lingers.

I think Jacob and Emma are beautiful names, but I don't go there with my kids' names. I personally don't even know other people with their names, and I like that. No expectations or connotations. There's something to be said for that.

Butterfly Chaser Photography said...

I know an Amanda named for that song! We always called her Mandy, until she grew up and decided to be an Amaya.

I'm a 1984 Sarah. I was named Sarah because it was a Bible name that ended with a A/AH. (My sister's are Lydi@, H@annah, and Rebek@h).

I've always liked my name, probably because Sarah from the Bible was a pretty cool cat, being described as beautiful and having a good sense of humor. Besides, the name means "princess" and what little girl wouldn't love that?

However, I did go through a period of wishing my name were more unique, more individualized...more like Lydi@ ;P

Melissa said...

Ok, so I am a 1979 Melissa... & Melissa Lynn at that! It's nice to know my parents were original. The alternate was Amy... & my last name is pretty common so before I got married I've known 3 people with my first & last name in my life. It's gotten so bad that I have email mix-ups with several others of us around the country... we politely forward each other's emails back & forth when someone misses the right email address by a letter. Needless to say I am avoiding the top ten list like the plague.

Michelle said...

I'm a 26 year old Michelle. Although it was in the top 10, I only had 1 other Michelle in all my schooling years. My sister is an Angela, which was #8. Apparently my parents liked top 10 names. In her "group" of friends growing up there were 4 Jessica's, 3 Angie's, and many Sarah's. Not much else :)

Commanda Amanda said...

I was born in 1979 and was one of five Amandas in my graduating HS class of 134. There were also four Jennifers, two Melissas, three Jessicas, two Amys, only one Sarah that I can recall, two Nicoles, and no Heathers, Michelles, or Angelas. The 1998 class had three Angelas, so maybe that name hit our area a little later than the others.

Commanda Amanda said...

Just read the comments. Mandy, my dad sang that song to me all the time! Back then, it got a little embarrassing, but looking back it seems sweet.

Frazzled Mom said...

I'm a 1974 Angela. The alternative was Alana (the feminine version of my Dad's middle name Alan), but my parents decided to save Alan for a boy. Thank goodness they did have a boy or I would have been even more disappointed to not get the more unusual Alana. My name never felt over-the-top common though. I knew 2 others in a high school class of about 315, which was just enough for me to feel like it was neat to know someone else with my name without feeling like my parents were completely unoriginal.

Anonymous said...

I think it is so funny what Kate said, my mom was ahead of the pack. I was born in 1971 and I was the only Kathryn/Katie in all of my classes. But then when I was a teen/college kid I heard "Katie!" all the time, and it was always a little girl they were talking to.
(My siblings are Zoe, Pete, Linda, Barb, and John - some ahead of their time and others very dated, and then the classic: John)

I had a good friend, Amy, who was named that because her mom was Sue, and that was so popular when she was young that she wanted something really different. Haha. Now if you named your daughter Jennifer or Amy in 2009 I think you would be just fine!

Jennifer said...

I'm a 28 year old Jennifer. Another girl at my high school had my Exact. Same. Name. middle and all. And, my husband's brothers each married a 30 year old Jennifer and a 26 year old Jennifer respectively. We now all have the Exact. Same. Name. Our kids are going to be so confused.

Becky said...

My name peaked about six years before I was born (1980.) I guess I was *thisclose* to being an Amanda, but my parents changed their minds at the last minute.

I only remember a handful of Beckys/ Beccas/ Rebeccas besides me in high school, even though it was still pretty popular.

Amy said...

I was born in 86 so I'm outside of your age range but I knew ATLEAST 1 girl (many in some of those cases like Amanda) in elementary school/high school for each of those names and my name is also on the list.

brooke said...

1982 Brooke Elizabeth (middle name is a family name)

The only name on this list I would use today is Sarah. However, I would probably do something like Sarah, nn Sadie :)

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

29 year old Kimberly (Kim). Used to think there were more of us, but now I only know one besides myself. Where did we all go? My boyfriend is 5 years younger and he tells me that he'd NEVER met a Kim until me.

Just going through my cell phone, out of curiosity:

1 Amanda, 1 Amy, 3 Jen(n), 4 Jess, 1 Sara

But I also have 3 Kristen/in and 3 Mary so go figure.

Eleanor Q. said...

I'm a 1979 Eleanor, there are 4 of us I think. My mom liked the name and just went with it, not caring about popularity or trends. The 1979 list looks like my elementary school class roster (west coast public school) but virtually none of those names were in my high school class (midwest private school) which I find interesting. Are there names that are more popular and concentrated in certain parts of the country?

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I'm born in 1985, and I'm a Stephanie... shocker. So this isn't my list, and I don't fit into the 25-35 range YET (24 this July though! so, close!).... but still... c'mooon. STEPHANIE.

It's so insanely popular with people my age. My best friend is named Stephanie, and so is one of our other best friends from high school. Not to mention that time I took a first-year Canadian History course in university... and on the online sign up for essay topics, there were NINE... NINE "Stephanie's" who signed up for the same topic as myself.

NINE. In one topic. In one course. And there were other "Stephanie's" signed up for the other topics, I kid you not.

So... I relate to these very popular names. Most of which remained on the top ten, seeing as my 85'er classmates growing up all had these names too (except for Angela, I've only ever met one Angela close to my age IRL).

Carolyn said...

Growing up, I only knew one other girl my age with my name. I was named after a Carole and a Lyn, though. I've had a love-hate relationship with my name, but now I appreciate its uniqueness and the family connection.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 1979 Melissa and my middle name is Marie. Very original :)

C C Donna said...

So Swistle.....are you going to tell us???? Is your name on the list?????!!!

Anonymous said...

I love Alyssa's suggestion about the Ann & Marie middle name poll - when I was at college (a very large university - about 30,000ish) somehow this poll came up in my freshman dorm - on my floor, only myself and one other girl did not have a middle name that was Ann or Marie. My first name is nowhere near the top ten either.

Tess said...

I am 25, and I am not on the list, but my sister is 23 and her name is Jennifer. I don't know about first names, but it seems as if all the girls I grew up with had the middle name, Lynn. Much like Grace is a popular middle name currently. Actually, Carley and Amanda were probably the most used first names in my area.

Anonymous said...

I am a 1979 Jennifer. I graduated in a class of 70 and I was the only Jennifer for most of those years. For a couple years there was another Jennifer. In the classes around me, there was maybe 1 Jennifer per class.

The class ahead of us had around 40 people and there were at least 6 Kristin and variations of that name.

I have never felt irritated about my name being popular. I don't particulary like my name, but not b/c it was popular in the 70's.

BTW, I was sort of named for a great-great grandma who was named Jennie. I have also met a Jenny who was born in the early 1950's.....that was an unusual name then.

Queen of Carrots said...

Turning 30 is not so bad, if it weren't that everyone else your age is suddenly 30 too.

Anyway, I was supposed to be named Sarah, but when my father first looked at me he decreed, "She is not a Sarah." So they quickly flipped through the name book and came up with Karen. (They were always in a hurry to get home.)

And thus instead of having the same name as all my friends, I had the same name as their moms. And my mother-in-law.

Hadey said...

I'm a 1976 Hadewych (pronounced Ha'-duh-vee). My family is from Holland, but I have lived in the U.S. since I was 2. I have never met another person in my life with my same name, although I know there are some out there! And, only 2 people in my life have EVER pronounced my name correctly by looking at the spelling. Try that one on for size growing up! I absolutely love my name now because it's unique and pretty (I think), and I get compliments on it all the time. In a sea of Michelles, Sarahs, Heathers, etc., I like that I stand apart. :-)

Anonymous said...

My great aunts' names and nicknames (all born in the '20s/'30s) fit this list better than my name does!, Katie, Genny, Sara, and even Fannie (for Stephanie).

Bethany said...

I'm pretty close to 25 and none of those are my name..but two of my younger sisters (who are 23 today and almost 21) are both on there!

Hope said...

I'm 26, and I think my name was ranked around 400 when I was born. The list is very interesting though, I would say the most popular names in my high school crowd were Sarah, Katie, and Jennifer.

MLE said...

I'm a 1979 Emily. I've only ever met 2 others my age with my name. And then 15 years later, everyone decided to name their kid Emily.