This Name Took a Nose Dive in Popularity in 2020

Can you guess which girls' name fell out of favor last year?

By: Amanda Mushro
Baby Names


Photo by: Caroline Purser

Caroline Purser

Usually when there is a rise in popularity of a baby name, there tends to be a celebrity or a pop culture event to thank. The name Emma saw a sharp jump in popularity in 2002 after Ross and Rachel on Friends named their baby Emma. The name Arya is still climbing the baby name charts after the widely popular Game of Thrones character, and thanks to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Archie became one of the fastest rising names.

However, baby names can also fall from popularity for the same reasons, and one name that plummeted in the year 2020 may never recover.

According to the Huffington Post, which cited Social Security Administration data, in 2020, the name Karen fell 171 spots on the popularity list, from 660 to number 831. Karen hasn’t seen this few babies with the moniker since 1932. Sorry, Karen.

So why the drop in Karens? Well if you’ve been on the internet you’ve seen the memes and videos where women have been dubbed “Karen” for demanding to “speak to a manager” or throwing a tantrum in public. So it’s easy to see why this once popular girls name now has a bad reputation. With the rise in “Karens” and the rise in these types of videos being shared, it’s no wonder the name had such a large drop on the baby name list.

Karen—the name not the meme—actually peaked in 1965 when there were nearly 33,000 babies named Karen. That’s a sharp contrast from 2020 where only 325 baby girls were named Karen, compared to 439 in 2019. While the name has been on the decline for some time, the negativity surrounding the name online has also encouraged the drop in popularity.

Need some baby name inspiration? Check out this list of gender neutral names or the names that were at the top of the popularity chart.

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