It’s a joke for a reason: You have no idea how many people you don’t like until it’s time to pick a baby name.
How many expecting moms and dads have ruled out perfectly good names because they just so happened to be shared by a childhood bully, or an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or any random person that just happens to jog a bad memory? On the flip side, some parents pick names because they’re linked to someone they admire or discover a name they never would have heard of before when a celebrity makes it trendy.
The 10 baby names on this list have seen big swings upward or downward in popularity in recent years—and we have some guesses as to why.
It’s a simple fact that President Donald Trump is a hugely polarizing figure. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground between those who love him and those who disagree with him. Statistics from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which tracks the names of all babies born in the U.S. in any given year, show that you won’t be likely to meet many little Donalds running around anytime soon. When Trump took office in 2017, his name was at spot 485 on the SSA’s top 1000 list. Since then, it’s dropped even further, clocking in at 553 in 2019. In his real estate tycoon days, the president was nicknamed “The Donald,” and it’s pretty likely to be the main association with the name for many years to come.
While the President’s first name started to drop in popularity once he took office, his wife’s got a brief boost. First Lady Melania’s name—which comes from the Greek and means “black,” according to Nameberry—cracked the top 1000 for the first time in 2017. It fell off the list completely by the next year, however, and hasn’t returned since.
Politics obviously aren’t the only thing that can turn people off certain names. It seems tabloid notoriety can, too. Paris Hilton’s first name has been on a fairly steady decline in popularity since her heyday. Back in the early 2000s, when Paris was an “It Girl,” her name climbed as high as 157 in the top 1000 names for girls. A decade and a half later, it’s dropped nearly 150 spots. Paris also appeared on the list of boy names, just once, back in 2000.
Speaking of tabloid notoriety, we can’t talk celebrity baby names without mentioning the Kardashian/Jenner clan. The crew is responsible for tons of unique monikers. North, Saint, Chicago, Psalm, Stormi and True could potentially never meet another kiddo with the same first name, but that’s definitely not true for Kourtney’s eldest son Mason. It was already a fairly popular name the year he was born, making the chart at number 34 in 2009. By the next year, though, moms and dads apparently trying to keep up with the Kardashians propelled the name to the 12th spot. The year after that, the name cracked the top 10 and hasn’t left since.
The year 2020 isn’t over yet, but if you’ve been on social media at all, you know that we may as well call this “The Year of the Karen.” It’s not about a famous person, but instead about a seemingly endless series of infamous women caught doing outrageous (and often entitled and racist) things on camera. Twenty years ago, Karen was hovering around the top 150 baby names. In the past two decades, it’s dropped a whopping 500 spots. With all the viral “Karen” videos we’ve seen going around this year, we’d bet on there being another massive drop when this year’s done.
Back in 2013, when Meghan Markle was starring on Suits and Prince Harry was the most eligible bachelor in the British Army, the name Meghan had just dropped off the charts in popularity. It stayed off the list for the next few years, before climbing back on in 2018—the same year the pair had their royal wedding. While it’s not an overwhelmingly popular name (sitting in the 700s), there’s a decent chance it’s linked directly to the Duchess, since the more common spelling of “Megan” hasn’t gotten the same bump in usage.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend were a power couple before they had kids, but they’ve definitely turned into two of the internet’s favorite parents since welcoming daughter Luna in 2016. Her adorable name has been steadily rising through the popularity ranks since the early 2000s, but since Luna Stephens (not Legend!) was born, it’s climbed as high as the top 20.
We can’t forget John and Chrissy’s other little love, baby boy Miles. The name’s been growing in popularity since 2000, so the famous mom and dad may have been following the trend instead of setting it. But with Miles a regular presence on his parents’ social media, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this cute name keeping on climbing the charts in years to come.
Kelly Clarkson is another famous mama who seized on a not-so-common name and brought it into the mainstream. She gave birth to a baby girl in 2014, giving her the gorgeous name River Rose. The name’s been climbing for the past decade and doesn’t show signs of slowing—especially since it’s rising in popularity for both girls and boys.
Actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith welcomed daughter Willow in 2000. Since then, her sweet first name has been on a non-stop climb to the top of the charts. In 2019, it made the top 50 for the first time ever. Singer Pink nabbed the name for her daughter, too, welcoming Willow Sage in 2011.