A woman holding her hair and screaming against a dark background.
Unsplash | Malicki M Beser

Almost Nobody Is Naming Their Baby 'Karen' Anymore

Name trends come and go over the years and decades. Chances are you or someone you know has a pretty common name for the year they were born (my own name was really popular for a good couple of decades!).

Some names in the United States will always be common, like Jennifer or William. But some names follow trends, like the Cottagecore name trend, which might not be so common a few years from now.

The United States Social Security agency released their list of most popular baby names for 2022.

A hand holding a newborn baby's feet.
Unsplash | Omar Lopez

The list, which is compiled using the data generated when new parents file Social Security paperwork for their babies, shows some names we've come to expect.

Names like Liam and Oliver for boys, and Emma and Charlotte for girls have made the list.

A person in a medical gown holding a newborn baby.
Unsplash | Christian Bowen

Meanwhile, more vintage-sounding names like Theodore and Evelyn have started making comebacks, as each have cracked the top ten for their respective genders.

But there's one name that hasn't made the list, and most definitely won't anytime soon.

A blonde woman looking slightly outraged as text under the image reads, "Can I speak to the manager?"
Giphy |

That name, of course, is Karen. Widely associated with the meme of an entitled white woman who sports short, blonde hair and demands to speak to the manager, it's no wonder why people don't want to name their kids Karen anymore.

In fact, the name is beyond unpopular.

Jay-Z awkwardly backing out of a room.
Giphy | Complex

Out of all the names people gave their newborn daughters in 2021, Karen doesn't even crack the top 1000. As in, there are at least a thousand names out there that are more popular than Karen. Let that sink in.

To be honest, though, who would want to name their kid Karen these days, anyway?

A person laughing awkwardly as text reads, "Yeah... no."
Giphy | Ra Ra Riot

After all, the name is heavily associated with a negative portrayal of entitlement, judgement, and racist behavior. Plus, it just doesn't sound like the kind of name you could call a baby.

Of course, this wasn't always the case.

A woman holding a swaddled baby.
Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

Decades before social media, before anyone even knew the word "internet," people were naming their daughters Karen left and right. In fact, it was an incredibly popular name in the 1950s and 1960s!

Which might explain why a "Karen" in today's understanding is typically middle-aged.

A smiling woman with blonde hair that's tied up in a bun.
Unsplash | Michael Mims

Though the origin of using "Karen" specifically as an offhand for middle-aged, entitled white women is unknown, it kind of makes sense. After all, the majority of people named Karen are middle-aged white women (whether they're actually entitled or not).

Karen isn't the only name that sunk in popularity.

Two older women sitting on a bench and laughing.
Unsplash | Dario Valenzuela

Other names commonly associated with middle-aged white women, such as Deborah and Susan, have also experienced a decline in popularity over the years. Of course, not quite as drastic as Karen.

Alexa and Alexis have both dropped in popularity as well, presumably because nobody wants to confuse their kids with Amazon's virtual assistant technology.

Could this mean the end of Karen as we know it?

A man shrugging with a look of slight resignation.
Giphy | Portlandia

Based on the current trends, we probably won't see any babies or young kids named Karen for the foreseeable future. Much like how people don't want to name their kids anything that sounds similar to Corona (because coronavirus), no one likes the negative connotation that comes with Karen.

But who knows, maybe it'll come back someday.

Two people walking down a hallway as one says, "Nothing is impossible."
Giphy | New Amsterdam

In the distant future, probably. Popularity comes and goes, and what might be considered a "bad" name today, might very well end up being popular a few generations from now!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!