Baby names losing popularity in the 21st century
The 20th century saw some world-changing inventions: automobiles, airplanes, radio, television, antibiotics, personal computers, and nuclear energy, to name a few. That being said, not everything made the jump from the 20th to the 21st century. Several notable inventions have all but disappeared—think fax machines, VCRs, floppy disks, and beepers. If nothing else, this just goes to show that there is a clear life cycle for almost everything humans have created, including baby names.
While baby names may not go obsolete like some of these technological innovations, they follow a cycle of popularity. What was popular or trendy 50 or 100 years ago often isn't popular now. For example, the 1980s saw plenty of babies named after the British royal family (William, Diana, Elizabeth), minor Biblical characters (David, Sarah, Ruth), and trendy pop star names (Misty, Michael, Brandi). However, many of those names have dropped to the bottom of today's Top 1,000 baby names list or have fallen completely off.
Stacker has compiled a list of names that are on their way out or at the bottom of their popularity cycle. Using the Social Security Administration's historical archives of baby names, we compiled a count of the birth names from 1980 to 1999 and 2000 to 2018 (the last year from which data is available, although it was released in 2019). The names were then ranked in order of lowest percent change between the two datasets to uncover the baby names that are losing popularity in the 21st century.
From Rick to Myron and Janie to Mist, read on to find out which vintage names won't be popular over the next 100 years. And if you're looking for something sure to stand out over the next few decades, maybe one of these once-popular names will fit the bill.
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#25. Boy: Kirk
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 36.1
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 557.0
- Percent change: -93.85%
"Spartacus" and "Paths of Glory" actor Kirk Douglas, who died Feb. 5, 2020, was perhaps the best-known Kirk; although, ironically, it was not the actor's birth name (Issur Danielovitch). The one-syllable name has English and Scottish origins and means "church."
#25. Girl: Janie
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 12.5
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 285.8
- Percent change: -95.85%
Janie is a diminutive of Jane, which is essentially a female version of John. The name Jane (and in turn, Janie) is a Medieval English form of Jehanne, which developed from the older French name Johannes.
#24. Boy: Neal
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 27.2
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 428.2
- Percent change: -93.96%
Often described as the second-best spelling of the name Neil, Neal means "cloud" in its native Irish. Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, carried the more popular spelling of the name, which certainly helped to boost its overall popularity a few decades ago. However, Neal and Neil have been on a 50-year decline but have not slipped out of the Top 1,000 list.
#24. Girl: Kristine
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 41.8
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 1005.1
- Percent change: -96.04%
A Scandinavian form of Christine, Kristine means "anointed." Forty years ago, the name was a part of a popular trend wherein baby names that traditionally started with a C (i.e. Christy) were "updated" replacing the first letter with a K (i.e. Kristy).
#23. Boy: Demarco
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 8.1
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 128.0
- Percent change: -93.98%
The name Demarco was first recorded being used as a surname in Messina, which was founded in the 8th century B.C. A patronymic name, it literally means "Son of Marco." Aside from football players Bob DeMarco and Brian DeMarco, there are very few notable figures who carry DeMarco as either a first or last name.
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#23. Girl: Dayna
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 11.6
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 287.2
- Percent change: -96.17%
Found in both Celtic and Scandinavian mythology, Dayna (which is a variation of the more common Dana) was originally a boy's name before American parents started giving it to their daughters. The name peaked from the 1960s to the 1990s but has been on a slow decline ever since.
#22. Boy: Tyron
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 9.2
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 148.7
- Percent change: -94.15%
Tyron is an alternative spelling of the name Tyrone, which comes from the name of a county in Northern Ireland. Tyrone Power of "The Mark of Zorro" and "Witness for the Prosecution" fame, popularized the name upon his rise to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s.
#22. Girl: Yvonne
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 26.8
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 674.2
- Percent change: -96.22%
Yvonne is a French name, and it is the female form of popular boy's name Yvon. Translated, the name means "yew wood." Notable women with the name include Yvonne Hudson, the first female African American "Saturday Night Live" cast member.
#21. Boy: Brandyn
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 8.1
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 136.5
- Percent change: -94.36%
The name Brandyn (and it's alternatively spelled counterparts, Brandon and Branden) reached the height of its popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, even reaching the #6 spot at one point. The name, which means "broom-covered hill," has experienced a sharp decline since then, being replaced with names like Braden and Caden. Still, "90210" fans will remember heartthrob Brandon Walsh, played by Jason Priestly, who helped give the name a boost.
#21. Girl: Roxanne
- 2000-2018 average babies born annually: 25.2
- 1980-1999 average babies born annually: 666.5
- Percent change: -96.41%
Roxanne is a Persian name that means "dawn." Roxane Gay, the feminist writer and activist, has an alternative spelling of the name.
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