When it comes to boys' baby names, we sure like to play it safe. According to this list of the most popular baby boy names since 1960, one name in particular remained the most popular nationally for almost forty years, and it wasn't Camden or Ryder or Zayne. In general, we seem reluctant to take risks or flights of fancy when it comes to boys' names. You may know a Max or a Jasper, but parents are much more inclined to name their sons William or Matthew.
Wait until you find out what that most popular boys' name is, though. You'll probably say... uh, yeah, sure. That makes sense.
Here are the top three boys' names since 1960:
1961 - 1998 Michael
1999 - 2012 Jacob
Also hugely popular: James, Jason, Joshua, Ethan, Matthew, and John.
More from The Stir: The Top 3 Baby Girl Names of All Time
Whoa, Michael dominates for nearly four decades! Sorry, every guy named Mike born between 1961 to 1998, you must have hated having five other kids in your class with your same name. What's with all the traditional names, though? Do parents think more about our sons being taken seriously as adults?
Check out how the maps showing most popular names state-by-state show the southeastern states consistently bucking the national trend. Christopher is popular throughout the South during many of the years when Michael ruled nationally. During the Jacob years William is the most popular name in the South.
Another funny thing is how the most popular names are all derived from the Bible -- see that also hugely popular list above. Even when Jose and Angel gain in popularity in Texas, Jose is Spanish for Joseph, and Angel is, well, you know what that is. Why so many Bible names? Are we really that religious? Not so much anymore, from what I've read. I don't think people are really thinking about the prophet Jacob, son of Isaac, when they name their babies Jacob. (Obviously they're thinking werewolves and Twilight -- just kidding!) But it's an interesting legacy.
What do you think it means that so many of the most popular boys' names come from the Bible?
Image via Heide Benser/Corbis