Just a few short days ago, the Social Security Administration released a list and data of the most popular baby names of 2020. The list includes not just the top spots of baby names, revealing interesting naming trends across the country, but also what names are not popular at all, and what names have dropped from popularity or grown over the past few years.
The lists are great fun — and a wonderful peek into what’s “in” when it comes to names across the country. But one piece of data that is being pulled out by many is what’s not in, and that is, in particular, the name Karen. (This was also true, for what it’s worth, in June of 2020.)
Per the Social Security Administration, fewer newborn baby girls were named Karen in 2020 than in any year since 1932, marking a nearly 100-year-low in the use of the name. This shouldn’t be too surprising. Over the past few years, the name ‘Karen’ has become a pejorative term, synonymous with white women exerting their privilege and racism by calling the police on people of color while they do innocuous stuff like barbecue in the park or sell bottles of water or bird in Central Park.
The events became so synonymous with the name “Karen” and with entitled behavior from white women who put people of color at risk or attempt to get them in trouble for doing normal, non-threatening, non-illegal stuff, that unfortunately, the baby name has plummeted in popularity, which is definitely understandable.
The name has dropped so far since its height of popularity in the ‘60s that only 325 baby girls were named Karen in 2020, while in 1965, per Huffington Post, 33,000 newborns were named Karen.
And while that name is sure to suffer in popularity due to its popular association for quite some time, it could only be a matter of time before a new generation of Karens emerges, maybe an Emily or Hannah or Madison, all ultra-popular names in the early 2000s, will fill the gap. Anyway, we’ll just have to see what happens, and for now, Karen is on the bottom.