The latest news in baby names for girls is that old-fashioned names are making a comeback—and not just uber-popular ones like Emma and Olivia. The most current list from the Social Security Administration (SSA) reveals that seriously vintage names like Cora, Hazel, and Josephine are on the rise, too.
But what about boys? The vintage trend holds up to a point: Leo, Theodore, Calvin, and Everett have recently crept back onto the SSA list of the top names by decade. But more traditional names like Michael, Daniel, and Jacob are holding steady in the top 10.
Why? “Throughout history, boys’ names have been more focused on establishing lineage and cementing inheritance, while girls’ names are more about decoration and beauty,” says Pamela Redmond Satran, co-creator of the baby-name site Nameberry. “It’s sexist, definitely, but some of that thinking lingers, however unconsciously, in the minds of many parents.” There’s still a stronger desire to link boys to their fathers and grandfathers than there is to link girls to their mothers and grandmothers, she says.
So what’s the most timeless name a parent can give a baby boy? Michael.
The Hebrew moniker, meaning “Who is like God?,” is currently the seventh most popular boys’ name on the SSA’s list of popular baby names by decade but has been in the top 60 names dating as far back as the 1880s. It’s also been in the top 10 for more than 75 years—including a spectacular run at No. 1 every year from 1961 through 1998. "That’s an awfully long time for a name to remain in the Top 10,” says Satran, “and it’s even more surprising that it’s held since the 1960s, when names really started to move in and out of style more quickly."