Once upon a time, Mary was America’s most popular girl’s name.

From the beginning of record-keeping (so back until at least 1800) right up until 1961, it was the most common name for a female. But then, it wasn’t.

According to Philip Cohen at The Atlantic, “In 2011, according to the latest report from the Social Security Administration (SSA), Mary fell three more places, to 112th. In absolute numbers, the number of girls given the name Mary at birth has fallen 94 percent since 1961.”

But why? What is so wrong with Mary?

It’s a combination of people wanting different and uncommon names (culturally, people value individuality), and fewer Christians standing by the religious significance behind the name ‘Mary’. Cohen notes: “It’s not just that there may be fewer devout Christians, it’s that even they don’t want to sacrifice individuality for a (sorry, it’s not my opinion) boring name like Mary.

But based on Cohen’s linear prediction methods, could Mary be due for a resurgence? Will she have her day once more?

Read at The Atlantic: Why Don’t Parents Name Their Daughters Mary Anymore?





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  • Reply December 7, 2012


    My girlfriend has a Mary, shes 6. And a Bernard, he’s 3. 😛

  • Reply December 8, 2012


    Mary is my middle name. I like it! And it’s handy for me to quote the story of Jesus and the two sisters, Martha and Mary. I identify with Mary, who did all the listening, while Martha who did all the work. When I’m a bit slack with the housework, I excuse myself saying, “My middle name’s Mary, not Martha.”

    • Reply December 29, 2014

      John G. Parisi

      I like what you write about Mary. She sat and listened to Jesus speak of so many things, maybe even Heaven, and how one day eternity will be a chance to study and read to your hearts content. For Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus it must have been a taste of heaven for her. Poor Martha. why didn’t she take a break from her pots and pans, and join Mary at the feet of Jesus. Mary is today our contemplative, and Martha is active in the kitchen. I never liked the kitchen. In fact I turned down Cook and Bakers school when I was in the Army.
      That wasn’t too bright. The cooks made life miserable when I was on K.P.

  • Reply December 8, 2012


    Mary will have a re-surgence if Duke & Duchess name a daughter Mary.

  • Reply December 10, 2012


    Why don’t we name our boys Jesus? It’s quite common in Latino cultures but has never seemed to be popular in Anglo/European cultures. Personally, I wouldn’t want my kids named after either.

  • Reply December 10, 2012

    Frankly Feisty

    It would have been my fouth child’s name (if a daughter), but I stopped at three. I love the name. She would have been Mary Rose. X

  • Reply December 10, 2012


    I’m Mary. My great grandmother named me after her mother (born 1834) so to me, my name is special. I would love to see one of my great grand children called Mary.

    I must tell you a funny story. My mother was told one of her great grandsons would be called Joshua and she was horrified. “He’ll get teased at school with that horrible chant ‘Joshua, Joshua, sweeter than lemonade you are’.” we’d never heard of it but apparently it was quite common in her day. My son laughed and said “Yes, he’ll see little old ladies standing at the school fence pointing at him and singing out Joshua, Joshua……..” LOL
    (school bullying great grandma style?)

    • Reply December 10, 2012


      “Joshua Joshua, Sweeter Than lemon Squash You Are”

  • Reply December 10, 2012


    Mary, Mary, sweet as any name can be.
    In society, propriety they said Marie.
    But it was Mary, Mary, long before the fashions came.
    There’s something there that sounds so square (true).
    It’s a grand old name
    Only your very old readers will recognise this old song.

  • Reply December 10, 2012


    Sorry, that song was written by George M Cohan who also wrote I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy and many other toe tapping tunes.

  • Reply December 10, 2012


    In Australian states apparently the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages will not register Jesus as a child’s name.

  • Reply January 7, 2013

    Therese (second name Mary)

    My 17-year-old niece is called Mary sometimes nicknamed Mez. It’s a great name and I predict will make a comeback.

  • […] Why Don’t Parents Name Their Kids ‘Mary’ Anymore? […]


  • […] Why don’t parents name their kids “Mary”anymore? […]

  • Reply January 15, 2014


    My four year old cousin is named Mary Lola. It suits her a lot!

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