We all know that John was the #1 name for ages. A venerable classic, John’s history of use traces back to the New Testament.
The name has faded over the last few generations, dropping from perpetual #1 to a still-common #26 in 2014.
But if you look at the US Top 100, it could be that maybe – just maybe – John’s influence is far from over.
Is John still the most popular boy’s name in the US? Read on …
John: Names in the Boys’ Top 100
In pure numbers, John’s heyday is long over. The name has fallen steadily since the 1920s, leaving the US Top Ten in the 1980s, and the Top 20 after 2008.
But look a little more closely at the US Top 100:
- Jackson, a surname name derived from John, ranked #17, given to 12,121 boys.
- John still held on to #26, given to 10,600 boys.
- Jack ranked #41, given to 8,685 boys.
- At #44, Jonathan was the name of 8,035 boys.
- #46 Jaxon was the name of 7,635 boys.
- Evan, a Welsh form of John, ranked #58, and was the name of 6,667 boys.
- Ian, a Scottish form of John, came in at #77, and was given to 5,422 boys.
- #85 Jaxson was given to 4,900 boys.
- #98 Juan, the Spanish form of John, was given to 3,887 boys.
Add them up, and that’s 67,952 newborn boys given a form of John – either a nickname, surname, or other European-language version.
Noah, the #1 name in the US as of 2014, was given to just 19,144 boys.
John: The Competition
Are there other names that, if all forms are tallied, would still rival John? Let’s see:
- The logical possibility is Jacob and James. Jacob was a long-time #1 name in the US, and James is just as evergreen as John. There were 14,301 boys named James, plus 17,712 called Jacob. That’s 32,013 boys – more than Noah, but far short of John.
- Another thought is Joseph and Jose. But add up 11,995 boys named Joseph, plus 5,442 more called Jose, and you still fall short, with just 17,437 boys.
- Here’s a possibility: Liam and William. There were 18,342 Liams and 16,687 Williams. That’s 35,029 – more than Jacob/James, but still less than John & company.
- Luke and Lucas are fewer than 23,000.
John: Names for Girls
Just one feminine form currently ranks in the girls’ Top 100: the Italian Gianna, #95 in 2014.
But there are dozens of feminine forms, and many others do chart in the US Top 1000: Jane, for one, and Joanna in more than one spelling, as well as Gianna’s longer form, Giovanna.
John: Most Popular?
It’s not accurate to call the most popular name for boys in the US, not when the overwhelming majority of boys answer to something other than John.
And yet, it’s fair to call this name the most influential. Even as parents have looked for something different, fresh, and distinctive, it’s fascinating to see how many of those choices circle back to that longtime favorite.
What’s your favorite form of John?