Old Person Names

October 21, 2020

What does your name say about your age? The answer: quite a bit. In fact, based on your first name, we can guess how old you are likely to be!

To do this, we looked at Social Security Administration data which lists the first names of people born in the United States in each year. Then we looked at actuarial tables to figure out the odds that a person born in a given year is still alive.

Based on this methodology, we can guess the average age of a person born in the United States who has any given name.

What were the names with the oldest average age, as of 2020?

* This only includes names where at least 10,000 living people have that name.

#1: Myrtle

Average age: 77.25

Myrtle is a type of flowering plant. Its popularity as a name peaked in 1894, when it was the 27th most popular name for baby girls.

#2: Gertrude

Average age: 76.30

#3: Beulah

Average age: 75.36

#4: Bettye

Average age: 75.05

Alternate spelling of Betty. You're going to notice a pattern here.

#5: Bette

Average age: 74.37

Another Betty variation which occurred during the Betty crazy of the 1920s.

Those eyes! Actress Bette Davis (1908 – 1989) won two Oscars in the 1930s.

#6: Mildred

Average age: 73.91

#7: Ethel

Average age: 73.88

A long time ago, Ethel was a popular name. In 1896, it was the 6th most popular name for baby girls. But since the 1980s it has become virtually extinct. Only 23 babies named Ethel were born in 2019.

Americans might recognize Ethel as one of the main characters on popular 1950s TV sitcom I Love Lucy.

#8: Betty

Average age: 73.51

Betty was the second most popular girl's name in the U.S. from 1928–1934. At its peak, more than 3% of baby girls were named Betty.

Betty Boop made her first appearance in 1930, the year that Betty peaked as a baby name.

Did the cartoon character cause the name to decline in popularity?

#9: Bettie

Average age: 73.91

#10: Blanche

Average age: 73.23

Appropriately, Blanche Devereaux was one of the characters on The Golden Girls.

Actress Rue Callahan starred as Blanche Devereaux.

#11: Wilma

Average age: 73.14

Another popular name from the 1920s. By the time The Flintstones debuted in 1960, the name had already become unpopular.

#12: Thelma

Average age: 72.63

#13: Doris

Average age: 72.54

#14: Dolores

Average age: 72.52

#15: Bessie

Average age: 72.37

#16: Lois

Average age: 72.33

#17: Mable

Average age: 71.86

#18: Dorothy

Average age: 71.80

Another one of the The Golden Girls!

Actress Bea Arthur starred as Dorothy Zbornak on "The Golden Girls". She also starred as Maude in the 1970s comedy "Maude".

Note: People named Maude have an average age of 66.86.

#19: Patsy

Average age: 71.43

In the 1910s, there were actually more boys named Patsy then there were girls.

#20: Shirley

Average age: 71.37

The name Shirley exploded in popularity between 1933 and 1935 due to the emergence of child star Shirley Temple.

More Highlights

You might notice there are ZERO male names on this list. This is because male names tend to remain more constant over time but also because men die sooner. The oldest male name used by at least 10,000 Americans is

Want More?

100 Oldest Female Names in the U.S.

100 Oldest Male Names in the U.S.