Popular 1940s Baby Names

The top names of the 1940s still commonly grace birth certificates today, as it seems that these basic names never quite go out of style. The Social Security Administration’s list of most popular names from this decade is littered with simple names with a classic, American-as-apple-pie, feel. The simplicity of these names reflects the simplicity of the era itself.


James, a biblical name, caught the attention of the most parents in the 1940s and earned the top boy’s name spot, reports the Social Security Administration. This name has remained popular in decades since, frequently topping, or sitting near the top, of lists of common baby names.


While Mary is most popular as a middle name in 2010, it was a common first name choice in the 1940s. This religiously significant name sat in the number 1 spot on the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names for this decade.


Robert, a Germanic name which means “fame,” was a popular baby boy name selection during the 1940s. This name offers an assortment of nicknames including Rob, Robby and Bob.


Linda was the second most-popular baby name for girls during the 1940s. This name comes from a Spanish name meaning “pretty,” making it an appropriate name to bestow on a baby girl.


John proved popular during the 1940s, taking the number 3 spot for boys’ names. This name can stand alone, or sit paired with a middle name, perhaps even by a hyphen, giving it a more distinct feel.


The third most-popular baby girl name during this decade comes from Greek origins. It is derived from a word meaning “foreign.”


William sat in the number 4 spot on the baby boy list for the 1940s. Like other names near the top, this name offers an assortment of nicknames including Will, Willy, Bill or Billy, giving parents who selected this popular name the option to call their infant by something less common.



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