How Older & Younger Millennial Names Have Changed

By now, most of us are aware that the Millennial generation is divided into two groups — the older Millennials, like myself, and our younger Millennial counterparts. But long before anyone deemed these categorizations to be true, we Millennials were acutely aware of key differences. This includes, of course, the most common older Millennial names and their younger Millennial equivalents. Because just as we grew up with different fads in fashion and entertainment, we likewise grew up when different names were at the peak of popularity. My name, for example, was in the Top 100 in the '80s and had slipped wayyyy down the list by the time my younger Millennial cousins were born. The times, they do change, am I right?

To put together this list, I looked at the Social Security Administration's data on the most popular baby names for three different decades: The 1980s, the 1990s, and the 2000s. Millennials are broadly defined as anyone born between the years of 1982 and 2004... but as we've discussed more than a few times in the past, there's a pretty wide gulf between someone who turned 22 in 2004, as folks who arrived on the planet in 1982 did, and someone who was actually born in 2004. Although we're part of the same general cohort, we're at dramatically different points in our lives no matter which era you're looking at — and we've got some pretty dramatically different names, too.

At the same time, though, both the older Millennial generation and the younger Millennial one have a lot of the same personalities, despite the decades that might separate us: The Jennifers of yesteryear, for example, are definitely the Morgans of today. So let's take a look a eight different name pairings which seem oddly analgous to each other. Maybe we're not that different after all, us older and younger Millennials...

1. Jessica...

When I was growing up, you couldn't shake a stick without hitting a Jessica — which makes sense because, as the top female name of the '80s, it was given to nearly 500,000 little girls in the decade. It was, undoubtedly, the "It Girl" name of the '80s. Just think of some of the older Millennials who share it: Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jessica Chastain, Jessica Simpson. The list goes on!

...Versus Taylor

While Jessica held onto the top spot throughout the '90s, however, the It Girl baton seems to have been passed to the name Taylor. If you're looking for a prime example of a Younger Millennial with this moniker, look no further than Miss Swift.

2. Michael...

Let's be clear — dubbing your son Michael was all the rage in the '80s, with nearly 700,000 tykes being branded this Biblical name. In fact, Michael remained at the top of the little boy list until 1999...

...Versus Jacob

...When it ceded its number one spot to none other than Jacob. Another Biblical name, this one meaning "supplanter," Jacob held that title until 2013. So, yeah, if you're a younger Millennial, you likely grew up with more than a few of these guys.

3. Amanda...

I kid you not: I must have had 10 Amandas in my trusty address book when I was a kid. A favored choice for older Millennials, this name actually stretches way back, appearing in literature as early as 1694.

...Versus Samantha

Alas, Amanda lost some of its sheen between the '80s and the '90s, dropping from nearly 400,000 females by the name to just under 200,000. Meanwhile, the similar sounding Samantha rose in rank from number 26 in the '80s to number five in the '90s. Still, in the case of these trendy names, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

4. Christopher...

Like Michael, the name Christopher was considered the cream of the crop where little boys' monikers were concerned in the '80s. It had a solid grasp on the number two spot for pretty much the entire decade (and is actually still in pretty good standing these days). As was the trend back then, it is a Biblical name, meaning "bearer of Christ." But you know, while I know tons of Christophers and Chrises (and even a few Tophers) in my age range, I don't know nearly as many younger millennials by that name. I do, however, know a metric ton of younger millennials named...

...Versus Ethan

Yep: Ethan — a super trendy name given to baby boys born in the '90s. And like Christopher, it also has a Biblical connection as there are several Ethans in the Old Testament. Maybe the popularity had something to do with Ethan Embry? Who knows.

5. Tiffany...

In the '80s, Tiffany was the 11th most popular name — and that likely isn't surprising to any older Millennial. Tiffany's were everywhere! They were the cheerleaders. They were the point guards on the girls' basketball team. They were your cousins and BFFs.

...Versus Brittany

But in the '90s, that ubiquitous girl was Brittany. At number seven for the decade, Britt slid in when Tiffany wasn't looking and took her spot at the top of the social hierarchy of names.

6. Adam...

Every decade has that guy, right? You know — the one everyone and their sister seemed to have a crush on. When I came of age, that guy was Adam. There were several in my high school alone, and they were all just so damn dreamy.

...Versus Austin

Sitting at the number 22 spot on the top names of the '90s list, though, Austin was apparently that guy for the younger Millennial crowd.

7. Jennifer...

What older Millennial doesn't know a Jennifer? Or, better yet, is a Jennifer? Outside of Jessica, this name was the name of the '80s — topping out at 440,000+ girls given the name during that decade.

...Versus Morgan

Now, no one is saying Jennifer didn't remain on the hot name radar. However, more eclectic names began growing in popularity and breaking the stronghold Jennifer had on the top name chart. Namely, Morgan! This Welsh name meaning "sea" made a major jump between the '80s and '90s, going from the mid-100s all the way up to No. 30.

8. David...

To be fair, David is still pretty popular in the younger Millennial set; it's just not nearly as popular as it is for us older Millennials. The name clocked in at number five in the 1980s, with 383,610 boys being given it by their doting parents; by the 1990s, though, it had slipped to number 12, where it has stayed throughout the first decade of the 2000s. Plus, the precise number of Davids keeps dropping, too: In the 1990s, 253,542 were born, while in the 2000s, it was a mere 179,703.

...Versus Mason

Mason, however — which gets its meaning from the profession — has steadily been on the rise: It didn't rank at all in the '80s, but came in 115 in the '90s and 48 in the 2000s.

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