Although it has dropped off in use significantly, Linda remains the most popular girl's name throughout American history. Using data collected by the Social Security Administration, David Taylor at prooffreader.com arrived on the name by using the metrics of the speediness with which a name goes in and out of fashion, as well as the intensity of its popularity, to define his analysis.
Linda was the clear front runner for the most popular name, and this can be attributed to a major pop culture moment. The 1946 hit single by Jack Lawrence called “Linda” resulted in the name peaking in popularity in 1947, accounting for 5.48 per cent of the population. Unfortunately by 1954 it had been overtaken by Mary in the number-one spot.
It's unlikely there will ever be a name that peaks in popularity as much as Linda. Although Sophia was the top name for girls in 2012, it only reached 1.2 per cent of all girls, whereas Mary, the most popular girl's name (but not for as long as Linda) reached 5.7 per cent.
The rise and fall of popular girl’s names is likely attributed to the influence of pop culture, as there has been a strong rise in the names Arya and Aria from TV shows Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars respectively, and a decline in once common Britney and Miley. Multiculturalism and globalisation also affect trends, with diversity, variation and uniqueness in name much more likely now than in 1947 – Apple or Moses anyone?
Curiously, nine out of 10 names in the top-ten list belonged to girls, with Dewey being the sole boy’s name, popular from 1897 to 1903. Presidents strongly influence trends in boy’s names, with Woodrow spiking around 1918, in line with Woodrow Wilson's presidential term. Dawson also spiked the year Dawson’s Creek first aired, in 1998.
Although Linda may not be as common as it once was (it made up 0.022 per cent of total female births in 2015, with only 423 baby girls with the name, as reported by the Social Security Administration database), this iconic name has become an unexpected choice for new mothers.