Mary, Patricia and Jennifer are the top three most popular names for females in the United States over the 100 years between 1915 and 2014, according to Social Security Administration data. During the 21st century, the names Emily, Emma, Ava, Isabella and Olivia have significantly risen in popularity.
The most popular name for female children in the United States, Mary, is of biblical origins. There are six Marys in the Bible, most prominently the Virgin Mary. Prior to the 12th century, this name was considered too sacred for regular use. The name is common in popular culture; famous fictional Marys include magical nanny Mary Poppins and one of the three daughters in "Downton Abbey," Lady Mary Crawley.
The name Patricia comes from Latin and means "noble." It originated in Scotland as a female version of the name Patrick. There are many common nicknames for Patricia, including Patsy, Patty, Trisha and Tisha. An alternate version of this name, Patrizia, is common in Italy.
Jennifer, the third-most popular name for female children in the United States, comes from the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar (later spelled Guinevere), which means "fair lady." The name Jennifer reached the height of its popularity during the 20th century.