Every year, when I get the latest batch of baby name data, one of the things I check out is popularity change. And every year, as I do that analysis, I say to myself, “I wonder what the biggest popularity jumps of all time are…”
But I kept putting off the analysis. Mainly because it involved manipulating a large amount of data, and…I’m lazy.
Finally, a few weeks ago, I took a look. And I came up with a list of the all-time biggest (raw number, single-year) popularity increases of all time.
Today we’ll look at the boys’ list, and tomorrow we’ll look at the girls’ list.
Before we get into it, though, let me tell you why these lists aren’t so great. The raw numbers (which I’ve become used to focusing on) just don’t work well in this sort of analysis. The top names, as you’ll see, are simply popular names that got a lot more popular. Not very insightful.
I’ll post the lists anyway, but I’m already planning a do-over that focuses on percentage of increase. That ought to be a lot more interesting.
So, now that that’s out of the way, here are all the boy names that jumped by more than 10,000 babies in a single year:
- Robert, +14,194 baby boy from 1945 to 1946
- John, +13,131 baby boy from 1945 to 1946
- James, +12,993 baby boy from 1945 to 1946
- Richard, +12,828 baby boy from 1945 to 1946
- David, +11,381 baby boy from 1946 to 1947
- Michael, +11,268 baby boy from 1945 to 1946
- John, +11,140 baby boy from 1911 to 1912
- Jason, +10,788 baby boy from 1969 to 1970
- James, +10,450 baby boy from 1941 to 1942
- Nicholas, +10,274 baby boy from 1977 to 1978
Notice how neatly the top six correlate to the post-WWII baby boom.
Do you have any theories about the other four?
Trivia question of the day: Only one boy name ever decreased in popularity by more than 10,000 baby boys over a one-year period. Can you guess the name?