Picking a name for a newborn is one of the most pain-staking jobs from the beginning of parenthood. And of course, parents tend to reject names with negative connotations such as Katrina and Isis. Well, there is another name that has found itself on that list. Recent 2020 Social Security Administration data shows that the name “Karen” has plummeted as a popular baby name.
Over the past few years, with the uptick in racially charged news headlines of “Karens gone wild” the popularity of the name has taken a definite downturn.
Fewer newborn girls in the U.S. were named Karen in 2020 than in any year since 1932.https://t.co/jyua4z56dw
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 2, 2021
According to the Huff Post, in 2020, Karen fell 171 spots on the popularity list to No. 831, (down from No. 660 in 2019). That makes the decline of the name “Karen” the 14th-biggest decrease on the girls list in 2020 and marks its lowest ranking on the annual SSA list since the year 1927.
Only 439 babies were named Karen in 2019 and in 2020 that number dropped to 325. In comparison, in 1965, almost 33,000 baby girls were named Karen.
“[Karen is] usually used as a pejorative for middle-aged white women,” explained Matt Schimkowitz, a senior editor at Know Your Meme, an online meme encyclopedia, said to Yahoo! News. “It’s almost like they have an entitlement, where they’re kind of lording their privilege over another.”
The origins of how “Karen” came to be are somewhat unclear. Some believe that it came from the 2004 film Mean Girls while others attribute its creation as a pejorative to the 2005 Dane Cook comedy special. In the special, Cook talks about how every group of friends has that one person everyone talks about when they are not around.
“Every group has a Karen, and she is always a bag of douche,” Cook says in his routine. “And when she’s not around, you just look at each other and say, ‘God, Karen, she’s such a douchebag!'”
By 2021, experts imagine that “Karen” will fall completely off of the Top 1,000 baby name list.