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The Baby Names We're Totally Over

The Baby Names We're Totally Over

Looking for a cool, fresh baby name that’s ahead of the curve? You’d better avoid these ones.

All names rise and fall in popularity. Sometimes it’s dramatic, like sporty Shaquille, which went from off the charts to Top 200 and back again within seven years. Others move at glacial pace, like Emma, which slowly faded from the top of the charts down to the 400s and back up again over the course of a century.

When a name declines, occasionally there’s an obvious reason (sorry, Alexa). But often it’s just the forces of fashion: a name is fresh, cool, appealing, then it runs its course and others take its place.

If you’re naming a baby, you might want to know if your favorites are on the way down the rankings. Even if it’s not a make-or-break, it can at least prepare you for people’s reactions. Then it won’t come as a surprise when you mention your daughter Caitlin and everyone thinks you’re talking about your wife.

Here, we look at names that have fallen in popularity in the USA in recent years, and are on a clear downward trend.

Just to be clear, we’re not saying they’re bad names — in fact, many are still very popular. And for those that are truly out of favor, there’s something deliciously counter-cultural about a small child with a mom name, dad name, or grandparent name. (I recently met a seven-year-old Judy and I kind of love it.)

But on a national level, they’re past their peak. So if you’re looking for something that’s just about to take off and not shared with many older people… don’t use these.

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Popular Names Past Their Peak

Ok, it’s not fair to say we’re “totally over” these names, because they’re still given to thousands of children a year. And many are solid, classic names you may have good reasons to give a child. But they’re certainly not as big as they were five or ten years ago.

Since 2015, Abigail, Emily, Ethan, Jacob, Mason and Michael have dropped out of the US Top 10 — Michael for the first time in over 70 years. Other popular classics just past their peak include Anna, Hannah, Anthony and Matthew, while modern names now on the way down include Madison and Addison, Aiden and Jayden.

Here are more names in the US Top 100 that have fallen in recent years:

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Falling Name Trends

Further down the rankings, some notable categories of names are losing popularity. Sometimes it’s a whole trend on the way out, like the Caitlin family of names. In other cases, similar-yet-different names rise to take their place, like the one-syllable boy names replacing 90s bros like Scott and Shane.

Types of names falling in numbers include:

Alex and Alys names: not just Alexa, but also Alexandra, Alexis, Alyssa, Allyson, and more.

Ann names: classic Ann has dropped out of the Top 1000, and compounds like Annalee and Annabelle are falling fast. Annabelle (in all spellings) started dropping in 2014, the year the horror film of the same name was released.

Ariana and similar names like Aryanna, Ariadne, and Aubrianna.

Br- names that were big in the 1990s: Brandon, Brianna, Brittany and co.

Early-wave occupational names: Taylor, Tyler, Hunter and Sawyer have dropped out of the Top 100 (but others like Cooper have taken their place).

Jay and Kay names like Jason, Javion, Kaylee and Cadence.

Katherine, Caitlin and all their spelling variations, like Kathryn and Kaitlynn.

Ky- names for girls like Kylie and Kyra: parents are more likely to choose Kailani now.

One-syllable dude names like Blake, Drew, and Scott.

“Vin” boy names: Kevin, Gavin, Marvin, and more.

Here, 50 names still in the US Top 1000, but falling in popularity for at least the last five years:

Got a name story to tell? If you'd like to write about your personal experience with your own name, your child's name, names in your family or your culture, we'd love to consider your story for publication on Nameberry. Email us a sentence or two about your idea at clare@nameberry.com

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from the next high-rising names to how to choose a multilingual name, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and lives in England with her husband and toddler. You can follow everything she reads about names on Twitter or Scoop.it, or reach her at clare@nameberry.com

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