The Most Popular Baby Names in 1980 and Now

My high school graduating class was about 700 students. There was only one other Karen. In college and medical school, I can’t remember meeting another person with my name. When I moved to the city to do my residency, yep, you guessed it, still the only Karen. I was named after the title and main character of a book my mom loved. I don’t think many other people even knew the book existed.

Then, I moved to Ridgewood, NJ. If you live in this town and you are about my age, your name is Karen, that is, if it isn’t Jennifer. When we picked the ’80s to focus on this week, it seemed like the perfect time to see just how popular my name was. In 1980, it was 54th on the list, right between Stacy and Anna. I know what you are thinking. I realize I’m not 33.  I checked my birth year as well. In that year, which wasn’t that long before 1980, Karen was 23rd on the list. Maybe more people read the book than I thought. Jennifer was #1 in both years.

Just for fun, here are the top 20 boy and girl names of 1980 and the top 20 boy and girl names of 2013. These are according to


Boy’s Names Girl’s Names
1 Michael Jennifer
2 Christopher Amanda
3 Jason Jessica
4 David Melissa
5 James Sarah
6 Matthew Heather
7 Joshua Nicole
8 John Amy
9 Robert Elizabeth
10 Joseph Michelle
11 Daniel Kimberly
12 Brian Angela
13 Justin Stephanie
14 William Tiffany
15 Ryan Christina
16 Eric Lisa
17 Nicholas Rebecca
18 Jeremy Crystal
19 Andrew Kelly
20 Timothy Erin


1 Liam Emma
2 Noah Olivia
3 Ethan Sophia
4 Mason Ava
5 Jacob Isabella
6 Jack Mia
7 Lucas Emily
8 Jackson Charlotte
9 Logan Amelia
10 Aiden Ella
11 Benjamin Abigail
12 James Lily
13 William Madison
14 Oliver Chloe
15 Elijah Avery
16 Alexander Harper
17 Jayden Sofia
18 Michael Hannah
19 Luke Grace
20 Daniel Addison
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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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