Jackson: Baby Name of the DayThis post was originally published on December 19, 2009. It was substantially revised and re-posted on December 7, 2015.

This might be the most popular name for boys in the US.

Our Baby Name of the Day is Jackson.

Jackson: Traditional Favorite

We’ve been borrowing the surnames of loved ones and those that inspire us for generations, and Jackson is a great example.

The name has charted in the US Top 1000 for boys every year since 1880. It hit a low of #832 in 1969, but has made a comeback since.

By 2008, the name ranked #32, and in 2014? #17.

That makes it the most popular form of the name John in the US at the moment. Jack stands at #41, and John at #26.

But that’s before we add in Jaxon (#46) and Jaxson (#85).

Tally them all up, and combined, Jackson becomes the most popular name in the US, more common than the current #1, Noah.

Jackson: Son of Jankin

English: Publicity photo of the Jackson 5 from...

So how do we get Jack from John? John has been a common name for generations. Instead of Johnny, in the Middle Ages, John might have been Jankin for short. Over the years, the ‘n’ was dropped and Jankin became Jack.

Add the ‘son’ and it’s a surname worn by plenty of notables, including:

  • Artist Pollock; the King of Pop, Michael, and his musical family; and Oscar-winning director Peter.
  • It’s presidential, thanks to the seventh president of the United States.
  • Athletes galore, from Shoeless Joe to Bo,as well as scientists, writers, and more.

There was a 1988 movie called Action Jackson. A year later, Dermot Mulroney played Shelby’s husband Jackson in the celebrated movie Steel Magnolias, and the couple gave the name to their son, too.

Dozens of pop culture references followed. The name was worn by the big brother in Hannah Montana, as well as characters on Grey’s Anatomy, Sons of Anarchy, Teen Wolf, and more. 

Jackson: On the Map

Jackson Square in New Orleans

It’s also a name found all over the United States and beyond, in Queensland and Nunavut.

Johnny Cash and June Carter recorded a song about a couple headed to Jackson – though they don’t say if it was the Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, or Louisiana city … the list goes on.

New Orleans’ Jackson Square is an especially well-known location, home to Saint Louis Cathedral, and named for the statue of the former president standing at the center of the square.

Jackson: 2016 and Beyond

Jackson: Baby Name of the DayWith so many different associations, no wonder this name is popular. Since it’s a common surname and place name, doubtless many families have ties to this name. It’s a winning combination.

But is it just too common? While the bad news is that the variant spellings could mean many little Jaxsons on the playground, and occasional confusion overing spelling, remember that even the most common names aren’t as nearly as popular as they once were.

While it can no longer be calling surprising or unexpected, Jackson remains a handsome name with broad appeal. It’s a modern traditional choice for a boy that will wear well.

Do you think Jackson is too popular to use? Do you prefer another form of John/Jack?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I know someone named Jackson. When his mom was pregnant with him his older sister wanted to name him Jackety.

  2. My nephew is a Jackson.

    If I remember correctly SIL wanted Sutton or Oliver which are both family names and my brother wanted Cameron or Aubrey because “they’re different.” Instead they ended up with the the most common of the bunch as a compromise.