The 1950s marked a significant period of economic growth. World War II had ended in 1945, and for many, there was new hope for peace.

Television joined movies and radio as major sources of entertainment and information. This visual medium brought cultural icons into homes in a brand-new way.

Popular names during the 1950s reflected both a respect for tradition and a fascination with popular culture. The top ten baby names for both boys and girls were largely unchanged from the previous decade, with James and Mary remaining the most popular baby names.

1950s kids

1950s Girl Names

  1. Mary 
  2. Linda
  3. Patricia
  4. Susan
  5. Deborah 
  6. Barbara 
  7. Debra 
  8. Karen
  9. Nancy 
  10. Donna 
  11. Cynthia 
  12. Sandra 
  13. Pamela
  14. Sharon 
  15. Kathleen 
  16. Carol 
  17. Diane
  18. Brenda 
  19. Cheryl 
  20. Janet
  21. Elizabeth 
  22. Kathy
  23. Margaret 
  24. Janice 
  25. Carolyn 
  26. Denise 
  27. Judy 
  28. Rebecca 
  29. Joyce 
  30. Teresa 
  31. Christine 
  32. Catherine 
  33. Shirley
  34. Judith 
  35. Betty 
  36. Beverly 
  37. Lisa
  38. Laura 
  39. Theresa 
  40. Connie 
  41. Ann
  42. Julie 
  43. Gloria
  44. Gail 
  45. Joan 
  46. Paula
  47. Peggy
  48. Cindy 
  49. Martha
  50. Bonnie 
  1. Jane 
  2. Cathy
  3. Robin
  4. Debbie 
  5. Diana 
  6. Marilyn 
  7. Kathryn
  8. Dorothy 
  9. Wanda 
  10. Jean
  11. Vicki
  12. Sheila 
  13. Virginia
  14. Sherry 
  15. Katherine 
  16. Rose 
  17. Lynn 
  18. Jo
  19. Ruth 
  20. Maria 
  21. Darlene 
  22. Jacqueline 
  23. Rita
  24. Rhonda
  25. Phyllis
  26. Helen 
  27. Vickie
  28. Kim
  29. Lori
  30. Ellen 
  31. Elaine 
  32. Joanne 
  33. Anne 
  34. Valerie 
  35. Alice 
  36. Frances
  37. Suzanne 
  38. Marie 
  39. Victoria 
  40. Kimberly 
  41. Anita
  42. Laurie
  43. Michelle 
  44. Sally
  45. Terri
  46. Marcia
  47. Terry
  48. Jennifer 
  49. Leslie
  50. Doris
Top 100 Baby Names for the 1950s

Down at number 98 sits the quiet beginning of a new era. Jennifer made its appearance on the list of most common 1950s girl names. The name's surge in popularity can be attributed to Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Jones, who became the reason so many girls received this name at the time. Jennifer continued to grow in popularity and became the most favored name of the 1970s.

Deborah, a name with Biblical roots, gained tremendous popularity in this decade. The traditional spelling rose from number 68 to number five on the list. Additionally, an alternate spelling, Debra, made an astonishing entrance to the list at number seven. Notably, Debra Kerr, a popular actress during this era contributed to the rise in popularity of this name with her roles in films like “From Here to Eternity” and “The King and I.”

Leslie, which had traditionally been a common name for boys, was now becoming a popular name for girls and entered the list at 99.

While some names went out of fashion in this decade, such as Phyllis (falling from 38 to 75), Doris (falling from 44 to 100), and Judith (falling from number nine to number 34), others disappeared completely from the list. Evelyn, for instance, was at 64 in the 1940s but fell completely off the list in the 1950s.

1950s kids

1950s Boy Names

  1. Walter 
  2. Craig
  3. Willie
  4. Johnny
  5. Arthur 
  6. Steve 
  7. Joe
  8. Randall 
  9. Jack 
  10. Russell
  11. Henry 
  12. Harold 
  13. Roy
  14. Andrew 
  15. Philip
  16. Ralph
  17. Billy 
  18. Glenn
  19. Stanley 
  20. Jimmy 
  21. Rodney
  22. Barry 
  23. Samuel 
  24. Eric 
  25. Bobby 
  26. Albert 
  27. Phillip 
  28. Ronnie
  29. Martin
  30. Mike
  31. Eugene 
  32. Louis
  33. Howard
  34. Allen 
  35. Curtis
  36. Jeffery 
  37. Frederick
  38. Leonard
  39. Harry
  40. Micheal 
  41. Tony
  42. Ernest 
  43. Eddie
  44. Fred
  45. Darrell 
  46. Jay
  47. Melvin
  48. Matthew 
  49. Lee 
  50. Vincent 

1950s kids

When it comes to popular boys' names in the 1950s, most made less dramatic movements on the list. One exception is George, which had sat at number 15 during the 1940s, and fell to number 25 in the 1950s.

Randall made an entrance to the list at number 58. This name was even more popular than such traditional favorites as Jack, Henry, and Andrew.

Kevin, a name with Irish origins, entered the list at number 27. Actor Kevin McCarthy's appearances in the film adaptations of “Death of a Salesman” and the science-fiction movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” contributed to this popularity.

Actor Tony Randall rose to popularity and appeared in the popular TV show “Mr. Peepers.” His Emmy-winning performance may have been part of the reason parents favored this name.

Finally, Vincent entered the list at number 100. Vincent Price was a popular and well-respected movie and radio actor of this era.

Top 100 Baby Names by Decade

About the Author