The News Cycle’s Influence on Baby-Naming Trends

The Social Security Administration has released the latest data on American baby names, and what was once a popular choice may anything but, thanks to the news cycle.

The presidential election may be far behind us, but it’s still having an impact on baby names, with a drop in kids named Donald and Hillary. 

It’s one of the latest examples of how the news can push a baby’s name into or out of fashion.

Take Katrina, for instance. The once popular name plummeted in popularity after the devastating 2005 hurricane, and it’s yet to recover. 

“It makes a lot of sense,” Lauren Kay, deputy editor of The Bump, told Inside Edition. “People don’t want a negative connotation associated with their child.”

Another once-popular name that appears to have fallen out of favor with parents is Caitlin, as in Caitlin Jenner. 

Ellen, as in Ellen DeGeneres, saw a dip after she came out in the 90s, but the name has since bounced back. 

“We did see a little decrease in popularity after Ellen DeGeneres came out on her show but the name is already up 87 spots, so from 2012 to 2016 it rose in popularity and it remains a classic name today,” Kay said. 

Olympic stars, like gymnast Simone Biles, have also had an impact on naming trends. 

“We saw a rise in the name Simone after our most recent summer Olympics,” Kay said. “Similarly, we saw a decline in the name Tonya, which at one point was a very popular name ranked 97 on the list. It hasn’t appeared in the top 100 since the Tonya [Harding]-Nancy [Kerrigan] scandal.”

She added that sometimes you can’t go wrong with the timeless classics, like Noah or Jacob for boys and Emma or Sophia for girls.
“Classic biblical names have a little more staying power. They usually stick around on the list for a decade or two longer than something trendier just because they are classic. We’re used to hearing them; we feel good about them and make good associations with those names,” she said. 

Click here for more baby name information on baby names from the Social Security Administration.


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