Baby names come in trends. What’s popular today may be out of fashion tomorrow. And while the most popular baby names have changed over the years, some of the classics have held their top spots for a surprising number of years. Let’s review some of the most popular baby names by the decades, from data provided by the Social Security Administration.

1920s

Credit: suteishi / iStock

There are few people left who remember the decade defined by the aftermath of World War I and the Wall Street Crash of 1929, but those born in this watershed era will remember these baby names as the most common among their peers:

Boys

First place: John

Runner-up: William

Honorable mention: James

Girls

First place: Mary

Runner-up: Dorothy

Honorable mention: Helen

1930s

Credit: George Marks / iStock

The 1930s were a tough time. The decade began right after the Wall Street crash that sparked the Great Depression, and right as the country reached the highest period of unemployment it had seen in decades, the country was rocked by the Dust Bowl. Regardless, the country endured, with its newest residents often receiving the following names:

Boys

First place: Robert

Runner-up: James

Honorable mention: John

Girls

First place: Mary

Runner-up: Betty

Honorable mention: Barbara

1940s

Credit: Matt_Gibson / iStock

Another tough era for the U.S., the 1940s were characterized in their earliest years by World War II and recouping the losses suffered during the Great Depression. While things began to turn around during the latter half of the decade, it’s clear that the country was still in the grip of some of the toughest times it had ever experienced. Maybe to cling to some semblance of comfort and familiarity, many of the previous decade’s names remained popular in this era:

Boys

First place: James

Runner-up: Robert

Honorable mention: John

Girls

First place: Mary

Runner-up: Barbara

Honorable mention: Patricia

1950s

Credit: LifeJourneys / iStock

While the 1950s also gave us some difficult times—such as the start of the Korean War—it was also a time of great economic growth throughout the country. In a post-WWII world, people were hungry for good news, and while the brightening future didn’t do much to change our preference for baby names, we began to see a bit more variety:

Boys

First place: Michael

Runner-up: James

Honorable mention: John/James

Girls

First place: Mary

Runner-up: Susan

Honorable mention: Linda

1960s

Credit: Eva-Katalin / iStock

The 1960s were a period of growth—both economically and culturally. Many readers will be well-acquainted with the civil rights advancements made throughout the decade, and while many people of the time were getting more adventurous in their personal lives, the decade’s most popular baby names remained pretty standard:

Boys

First place: Michael

Runner-up: David

Honorable mention: James

Girls

First place: Lisa

Runner-up: Mary

Honorable mention: Susan

1970s

Credit: michelangeloop / Shutterstock.com

Finally, in the 1970s, we get to see some variety in baby names. While the nation was rocked by the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, parents were electing to go a different way with their kids’ names. Chief among these new ones are Jennifer and Christopher—two names that would see a burst in popularity over the coming years.

Boys

First place: Michael

Runner-up: Jason

Honorable mention: Christopher

Girls

First place: Jennifer

Runner-up: Amy

Honorable mention: Michelle

1980s

Credit: TierneyMJ / Shutterstock.com

The most popular names in the 1980s were quite similar to those in the previous decade, with a few notable exceptions. While boys’ names stayed fairly consistent, we began to see more variety in girls’ names, with several contenders clamoring for the top spot:

Boys

First place: Michael

Runner-up: Christopher

Honorable mention: Matthew

Girls

First place: Jennifer/Jessica

Runner-up: Ashley

Honorable mention: Amanda

1990s

Credit: SeventyFour / iStockphoto

Again, boys’ names in the 1990s stayed fairly consistent with those in the previous years, while girls got to experience a little more variety. It’s hard to pinpoint why boy names seem to progress more slowly than girls’, but regardless, this decade saw a swath of diversity in new baby names:

Boys

First place: Michael

Runner-up: Christopher

Honorable mention: Matthew

Girls

First place: Jessica/Emily

Runner-up: Ashley

Honorable mention: Ashley/Emily/Brittany

2000s

Credit: DisobeyArt / iStock

The new millennium was a time of hope; personal computing was exploding in popularity, and people around the world were hungry to see what the new era would bring. This was reflected somewhat in our naming culture, in which longstanding favorites like Jessica and Christopher fell by the wayside in favor of newer contenders:

Boys

First place: Jacob

Runner-up: Michael

Honorable mention: Joshua

Girls

First place: Emily

Runner-up: Emma

Honorable mention: Madison

2010-2017

Credit: Orbon Alija / iStock

We’re still working our way through this era, and the Social Security Administration has only released name data up to 2017. Regardless, it’s clear that parents are getting more experimental with their names, with new options like Olivia, Noah, and Liam entering the picture:

Boys

First place: Noah

Runner-up: Liam

Honorable mention: William

Girls

First place: Emma

Runner-up: Olivia

Honorable mention: Emma/Sophia/Ava

It’s hard to say exactly why some baby names remain fashionable for decades and others fall by the wayside. There are lots of cultural and social factors at play, and answers aren’t easy to come by. But however you look at it, it’s clear that our preference for some baby names endures over the years.