Home DataData inSight How Many People Share Your Name?
Home DataData inSight How Many People Share Your Name?

How Many People Share Your Name?

by Pamela Fay

You may have wondered:  “How many people are there with my name?” When it comes to names, it can be difficult for parents to come up with something different.  Yet from Gwyneth Paltrow’s firstborn, Apple, to the Kardashian-Wests’ latest offspring, Chicago, parents keep trying for that one-of-a-kind handle. But is your name unique?

At Spokeo, we work with data — so we decided to crunch the numbers.  We found that there are plenty of names in common.  Even North West, another Kardashian-West charge, gets more than a few hits in our database.  Keep reading to discover the most common male and female names, and how to find out where your name falls on the list.

10 Most Common Male Names

There are some names that stand the test of time, and many of them are rooted in religious or ethnic traditions.  The most popular names a century ago continue to be used, at least for boys.  James, William and Michael are all top 10 baby names in the last decade, just as they were in 1920.

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The most common male first names in Spokeo’s database are:

  1. John – appears 9,140,211 times
  2. James – appears 8,303,705 times
  3. Robert – appears 8,034,281 times
  4. Michael – appears 7,289,143 times
  5. David – appears 6,476,397 times
  6. William – appears 6,066,182 times
  7. Richard – appears 4,344,767 times
  8. Joseph – appears 3,721,167 times
  9. Charles – appears 3,680,812 times
  10. Thomas – appears 3,636,976 times

This, of course, reflects the average age of the people in Spokeo’s database, many of whom are baby boomers born in the middle of the last century.  It’s interesting to note that John, the number one name, is 2.5 times more common than Thomas.

John, however, is losing ground as a top 10 baby name with each passing year.  In the 1980s, it barely ranked at number 9.  By the 2010s, its popularity had sunk to number 26, according to Social Security Administration (SSA) data. 

10 Most Common Female Names

For girls, current naming conventions have definitely shifted.  In fact, none of the names that appear in Spokeo’s top 10 list for females were among the top 10 baby names for the previous decade.  The first one that does appear is Elizabeth, ranked at number 11.  Mary, our top name, has dropped to number 127 in the SSA database for the 2010s.  In fact, Mary, which is three times more popular than Karen according to our data, doesn’t even appear in the top 200 SSA names for the 2010s. 

The most common females names in Spokeo’s database are:

  1. Mary – appears 5,988,613 times
  2. Maria – appears 3,540,191 times
  3. Patricia – appears 2,884,812 times
  4. Linda – appears 2,754,109 times
  5. Jennifer – appears 2,658,175 times
  6. Elizabeth – appears 2,476,560 times
  7. Barbara – appears 2,472,628 times
  8. Susan – appears 2,170,487 times
  9. Lisa – appears 2,119,578 times
  10. Karen – appears 1,902,097 times

Want to know if your middle name makes the list of the most popular? Find out here. 

Popular Combination First and Last Names

Of course, no one goes by only one name, with the exception of a few pop culture icons like Cher and Beyoncé.  So what are the most popular combinations of first and last names?  Not surprisingly, they are a blend of well-worn first names and some very common last names.  Think Smith, Johnson and Garcia.  Surprisingly, Jones does not make the list of top 10.  It is, however, one of the most popular surnames globally.  Interestingly, in Wales 15% of the population share this name. 

There are 100 possible combinations of the 10 most popular first and last names.  But some combinations are more frequently used than others.  According to Spokeo’s database, the top 10 names for men are:

  1. John Smith – appears 148,731 times
  2. James Smith – appears 99,007 times
  3. Robert Smith – appears 85,585 times
  4. James Johnson – appears 74,217 times
  5. Michael Smith – appears 73,878 times
  6. Jose Garcia – appears 72,222 times
  7. Jose Rodriguez – appears 71,893 times
  8. David Smith – appears 68,286 times
  9. Robert Johnson – appears 67,815 times
  10. Jose Hernandez – appears 66,586 times

The thing that jumps out among the men is that 5 of the 10 surnames are Smith.  Two are Johnson.  The remaining three, Garcia, Rodriguez and Hernandez, are very popular Latino surnames, likely reflecting the increase in the Hispanic population in the U.S. 

For women?  Although in general female names exhibit a greater degree of originality, the top combinations are surprisingly redundant.  We have:

  1. Maria Garcia – appears 71,933 times
  2. Maria Rodriguez – appears 67,549 times
  3. Mary Smith – appears 66,699 times
  4. Maria Hernandez – appears 63,327 times
  5. Maria Martinez – appears 59,586 times
  6. Maria Gonzalez – appears 57,017 times
  7. Maria Lopez – appears 55,802 times
  8. Mary Johnson – appears 47,649 times
  9. Mary Perez – appears 43,063 times
  10. Mary Williams – appears 40,313 times

See the pattern here?  Mary is the English form of the name Maria, a name that appears frequently in the New Testament of the Bible, most notably as Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.  Consequently, the name enjoyed tremendous popularity within the Christian faith, although at times it was considered too holy for general use.  The surnames in this list are more varied than among the men, but both Smith and Johnson appear in the top 10, joined by Williams.  Among the women, there are seven popular Latino surnames.

Where’s John Smith?

Remember how the name John is tanking in popularity?  Well, John Smith, a combination of the most popular male first name and the most popular surname, is disappearing as well.  This is according to an article in Slate, which wonders where all the John Smiths have got to.  The name, ubiquitous as it is, has become a synonym for “the average dude.”  It’s also a name frequently adopted as an alias.  There is little mystery why the name is sliding out of favor.  Who knows, though?  One day it may rise again.

How Many People Have My Name?

All of this discussion on names brings us back to the original question:  How many people share my name?  You can find out using the name lookup tool on Spokeo.  Don’t be discouraged if there are thousands.  You may have a common name, but there’s only one you.  And consider how easy it is to find a personalized coffee mug. 

The other side of having a common name, however, is that you’ll be more difficult to find online.  This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you’ve been up to.  But you could also be confused with other people of the same name. 

On the other hand, if your name is Ima Pigg, you may want to celebrate your unique identity and thank your parents for their delightful sense of humor.