Top UK babies' names from the 1940s

1940s baby boy
Rank Girls' names Boys' names
1 Margaret John
2 Patricia David
3 Christine Michael
4 Mary Peter
5 Jean Robert
6 Ann Anthony
7 Susan Brian
8 Janet Alan
9 Maureen William
10 Barbara James

Girls' names

The most popular girls' names in the 1940s in the UK were Margaret, Patricia and Christine.

How did girls' names in the UK differ from in the USA?

The top 10 baby girl names in the USA were (UK position in brackets):

The names Mary, Patricia, Barbara and Susan were popular in the UK and in the US.

The US names Sandra and Carol had some following in the UK. As did Judith and Linda. Linda was much more popular in the UK in the 1950s.

The top ten UK names less popular in the US were:

Christian names and social class

In 1947 John W Leaver started to make a list each year of the most popular Christian names given to girls and boys in birth and adoption announcements in The Times. He continued to do this up to 1973.

His list of girls' names for 1947 was as follows. Figures in brackets are where the names were on the top one hundred names of all births from 1944.

Source: The Times 9 January 1948, page 5

Leaver's numbers are for all given names, not just first names. So there isn't a direct comparison.

However, we can conclude that Caroline, Jane and Diana were much more popular with the Times' readers than the general population. They could be considered 'posh' girls names.

Jennifer and Elizabeth were also more popular with Times' readers but were moderately popular names in the whole UK population.

Patricia, Christine, Jean, Janet and Barbara were less popular with Times' readers. So could be considered popular rather than 'posh' names.

Boys' names

Boys' names tend to be more traditional and less subject to fashion than girls' names. The top three boys' names from the 1940s in the UK were John, David and Michael.

How did boys' names in the UK differ from in the USA?

The top ten baby boy names in the USA were (UK position in brackets):

Donald, Charles and Joseph were much more popular names in America than they were in Britain.

The top ten UK names less popular in the US were:

The most English names were Brian, Alan, Peter, Anthony and Michael.

Names common to both the UK and the USA were Robert, James, John, William, Richard, George and David.

Posh boys' names

The top ten boys' names announced in The Times in 1947, according to John Leaver were:

Figures in brackets are where the names were in the list of first names for 1944 in the UK.

There is less difference between the two lists compared to girls' names. Only Charles was a 'posh' name.

More popular names were Brian, Alan and William

References

I compiled the information about UK names from 'First names - The definitive guide to popular names in England and Wales', by Emma Merray and published by HMSO in 1995. The information refers to the year 1944.

The data for the US names was provided online by the United States Social Security Administration

Read more:

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★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★