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Introduction to 10 Most Popular Baby Names of All Time

The popularity of Prince William brought the name William back to the top 5 after a 60-year absence.

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In Shakespeare's play, "Romeo and Juliet,"Romeo asks, "What's in a name?" Unfortunately, the answer was "a lot," and things didn't end well for the young lovers. All drama aside, parents today don't usually have to consider family feuds when naming a baby. But just like Romeo and Juliet, a name is a big deal. Here are just a few factors to consider:

  • family names to pass down
  • the meaning of a name
  • people you've known, good and bad, with that name
  • potential nicknames
  • the family's last name

The popularity of a name is also important. Some people swim against the tide while others follow the flow. If you were one of five Jennifers in your class, you may name your children something unique; if you had flower children parents who named you Rainbow, Michael or Susan may be your preference.

A 2003 study reported in Britain's Daily Telegraph looked at why certain cultural ideas, such as naming trends, take hold. The answer? There's not always a rational reason but imitation is a key component of our society. So if an idea gains a foothold, it can potentially skyrocket.

When you decide to name your baby, will you look for the uncommon or the popular name – and how can you know which ones might stand the test of time? While the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) may not be touted for managing retirement funds, they've done a great job of tracking names over the last century. Read on to see if your name made the Top 10 of 1911-2010.

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