‘Karen’ baby name going the way of the dodo
No one wants to name their baby girl Karen any more.
The name has tanked in popularity over the past year, according to figures released by the Social Security Administration.
Throughout 2020 the name Karen fell a whopping 171 spots on the popularity list, from a low of 660 to number 831, Huffington Post reported Tuesday.
The name’s popularity had already been ebbing, falling to its lowest ranking since 1929 by the end of last year, Huffington Post reported in September 2020. While it fell 23 spots to 660 on the list of popular baby names for 2019, it has plummeted even more since then.
The parents of just 325 baby girls named their daughter Karen last year, down from 439 in 2019, Huffington Post said, citing the SSA.
In 1965, at the name’s peak popularity, nearly 33,000 newborns were named Karen, HuffPo noted.
While there’s no scientific link between the name Karen and the pejorative connotations with the entitled white woman who “wants to speak to the manager,” there’s no denying that The Name That Launched a Thousand Memes is morphing into something less than desirable.
How could it not, with connotations like the “Central Park Karen” who falsely called police to say a Black bird-watcher who had asked her to comply with the rules and leash her dog had actually threatened to harm her? Or the so-called SoHo Karen, who wrongfully accused a Black boy of stealing her cellphone? Or a woman actually named Karen, who refused to mask up in an Ohio grocery store?
“Baby names are always a mirror of the times,” noted the website Baby Center last October, noting that 2020′s changes reflected “a year of loss and political divisiveness,” with “Kobe” leaping 175% after the helicopter-crash death of basketball great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, whose name popularity soared even further, by 216%.
Also gaining in popularity were Kamala, up 104%, and Liberty, which rose 12%, while Karen dropped by 13%, the parenting website said in its own list of popular baby names for 2020, based on its own database of 550,000 babies born in 2020 to parents registered on BabyCenter.
Similar “stats” apply around the world, with a poll that asked 6,000 British parents and parents-to-be to list “the top three names they would never dream of calling their child,” The New Zealand Herald reported in December. There, too, Karen falls far from the list of most desirable names.
“Boris is the most disliked name for a baby boy,” the Herald said, and “in a blow to the U.K. [Prime Minister] Boris Johnson, is even more unpopular than the name Donald.”