Baby names go in and out of style for various reasons. Some cultures prize tradition and passing down names through a family over the years. Others are eager to commemorate special events in history with a baby name. Parents often also look to the rich and powerful, or the attention-grabbing celebrities of the world for baby name inspiration. Every generation seems to follow its own trends of name likes and dislikes. It's not always easy to figure out why certain generations aren't fond of some formerly popular baby names.
Millennials are a much-decried generation who in so many ways are a very different group of people when contrasted with other generations. The baby names they're choosing are causing a lot of head-scratching among the older generations, and the names they're throwing off or ignoring are often names that held pride of place for dozens or even hundreds of years. Researchers have a lot of theories as to why, but it's certain that millennials are continuing to focus on originality and personal creativity when searching the baby name lists for just the right moniker for their new baby. Those who are old enough to be parents might be surprised to see their own names on the list. Here are 25 Baby Names Millennials Aren't Choosing Anymore.
25 Let's Cancel Keith
Poor Keith. This name is getting kicked around so much, and even millennials aren't willing to revive it. From its peak in the 1960s, the name Keith has fallen off dramatically, despite being around as a first name since at least the 19th century, according to Baby Name Wizard. The much-derided boy's name may have originated as a Scottish place name, or be derived from Gaelic roots meaning “wind” or “wood.” In a time when old-fashioned baby names are staging a comeback, millennials are closing the door on Keith.
24 Courtney Isn't Catching
The ‘90s parents loved the name Courtney, but the ‘90s kids who are parents now think it's terrible. The number of baby girls who were christened Courtney dropped so precipitously that it's now become a unique baby name, as per BabyCenter. Courtney's origins are French, but even this European connection can't seem to slow Courtney's demise amongst millennials–the name has consistently declined year over year in baby name rankings since 1995, and shows no sign of slowing its downward spiral into baby name obscurity.
23 Just Another John
Sure, every Tom, Dick and Harry is named John–but that's why John is losing ground in the baby name world. Millennial parents prize creativity and originality, and even the ones who also appreciate the traditional and familiar are passing John by in favor of international interpretations such as Giovanni or Johann, as per Nameberry. Where John once reigned supreme as the favorite everyboy's name, now Jack has moved in. For millennials, aloof grandfathers and suit-wearing stockbrokers are named John, not their new sweet newborn baby.
22 Haven't Heard Hannah
We don't know if it's because of shows like Hannah Montana or if millennials are just closing the door, but the name Hannah has fallen from a top ten high up until 2007 to barely making the top 100 baby names this past year, according to The Bump. This isn't the first time Hannah has fallen into disuse as a baby girl’s name. She was also rarely picked as a first name in the 1950s and 1960s. Maybe Hannah isn't in with millennials, but she's biding her time for the next generation.
21 Stan's Not The Man
Somehow Stan and his even more adult form Stanley got associated with middle-aged men and stayed lodged there in our imaginations for far longer than just the recent millennial generation. Stan hasn't been a fun and cool baby boy name since the mid 1950s, according to Baby Names Pedia. Millennial parents just can't seem to saddle their little bundles of joy with such a serious and seriously uncool name. Stan's all-time high as a baby boy name was between 1910 and 1920. Soon it may drop off lists altogether.
20 Breakfast Without Tiffany
Tons of ‘80s and ‘90s kids were given the name Tiffany because everyone's parents loved it, and everyone associated the name Tiffany with beauty and glamour, as per Babble. By the ‘90s, the ‘80s pop star Tiffany was virtually unknown to the baby millennials, who also weren't watching Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, and now this baby girl name is sounding like it was only in our dreams. The name Tiffany is also associated with that high end jewelry brand and robin's-egg blue box, so maybe Tiffany will climb the charts again one day.
19 Gregory Going Gone
One reason why some names are being passed over by millennial parents could be their association with the baby boomer generation. Whether people really believe the baby boomers and millennials are at loggerheads or not, there certainly does seem to be some distaste for boomer favorites like Gregory, according to Upswing Baby Names. The acclaimed actor Gregory Peck and the fictional character Greg Brady made the baby name Gregory seem hip at the time, although it's certainly lost its luster nowadays.
18 So Over Scarlett
The baby name Scarlett has a long and rich history, from its transliteration from French to English, and then its shift from surname to given name, as per British Baby Names. Early on it was incredibly popular with the oldest millennial parents, especially when actress Scarlett Johansson starred in huge films like Lost In Translation–Scarlett was cool. Then Scarlett got some mileage as a nature-themed name, but in the last year or so the passionate feelings have cooled as millennials move away to newer choices.
17 Bob And Leave
We know eventually babies grow up to become adults, but there are just some names that just feel too old and grandfatherly for a baby, like Bob. This diminutive of Robert doesn't have the cute ring that Bobby does, but both are in significant decline since Bob's heyday in the 1930s, according to BabyCenter. It's understandable why millennials can't get onboard with Bob–if we saw a birth announcement for a Bob, we'd half expect a full-grown CPA with bifocals instead of a sweet baby boy.
16 Gertrude Is Grandma's Name
Once a woman's name synonymous with leadership and strength, Gertrude rocketed to superstardom as a baby girl name in the 19th century and was a top choice well into the 1930s, explains Appellation Mountain. Somehow between the 1930s and the 1960s, Gertrude fell from favor and even out of the top 1000 names, and has never really recovered in all the years since. It could be that ensuing generations just couldn't separate the word grandma from the name Gertrude, and that association just stuck.
15 The Ol' Heave Harvey
It's not the name's fault, but poor Harvey has fallen far from grace because of the association with the now infamous Harvey Weinstein and his assault scandals, as per Metro. The name suffered a double whammy by also being the name of a very destructive hurricane that struck the US. Even parents who don't particularly care about pop culture couldn't ignore all the negative press associated with the name Harvey, and that's far exceeded the cool factor that Harvey had begun to build up.
14 Not Jazzed About Jennifer
The generation right before millennials’ birth saw the name Jennifer rule as THE girl’s name. Everyone either was a Jennifer or knew at least one–often several, as per National Post. Classrooms were filled with variations on Jennifer without much variation in spelling to distinguish, and there are whole websites now dedicated to girls who wished they'd been named anything but Jennifer. One day, it's like parents all woke up and collectively removed the name Jennifer as a choice–and it's never regained its former glory.
13 Didn't Pick Dick
We have to say that this is a name we always ask, “Who would give this to their baby?” yet inevitably at some point we encounter a Dick Cheney or Dick Butkus or even Dick Van Dyke and someone had to give them that name. Dick is usually derived from Richard, which is also a very un-baby-like name, according to Nameberry. It is definitely not liked by millennials in recent years, but Dick was once a very common name and nickname that we obviously still see in use today.
12 Not Missing Mary
The one name that held mostly steady from the beginning of record-keeping until the beginning of the 1960s was Mary, according to The Atlantic. Mary was an uber-pleasing combination of a traditional, short, and multi-denominational religious name and that meant she held sway for longer than any other name on the books. The values that previous generations held and wished to embody in naming their babies have changed over the years, and now millennials don't prize family names as much as they prize originality.
11 Brandon Abandoned
Brandon is not as popular as people think, but it just feels like it is, somehow. Millennials really aren't choosing Brandon anymore and he's been sliding down the charts and is currently on the outside of the top 1000 baby names, as per Every Day Family. It could be because a lot of millennials themselves are named Brandon, and also know other Brandons, and that's why they focus so much on finding a totally original name–just like everyone else. There are still Brandons being born, but that star is fading fast.
10 Ann Unlikely Choice
Whether it's Ann or the slightly chicer variation Anne, it's just not being chosen. There are a lot of reasons why millennials could choose Ann–it's a quaint classic and has great literary references–but Ann just hasn't appealed to modern parents when choosing baby names, according to Behind The Name. It was a lot more likely to encounter an Ann in the 19th century than it is today. Nowadays, Ann is lucky if she even makes an appearance as the middle name of a baby.
9 Mister Christian The Time Has Come
Christian wasn't always just a boy's name–it was sometimes given to girls. Interestingly, when Christian peaked as a boy's name around 2005, it didn't seem to have any direct ties to real religious fervor–people just liked it as a name, as per Baby Name Wizard. After 2005, the name Christian started falling behind in the baby name race. Whether parents were considering the religious aspect of Christian before, it's clear that millennials are more conscious of it now, and are choosing this loaded name less and less.
8 Cody Decoded
Even when we're trying to be original, we end up following larger trends even when it comes to naming our babies. The 1990s saw an impressive number of boys named Cody born, as per Bustle. Once the new millennia rolled in, however, Cody just wasn't a cool choice anymore, and now millennials aren't even considering it on most lists. Cody has a number of different meanings, but even the meaning behind the name doesn't seem to be enough to stave off its decline.
7 Won't Demand Amanda
Amanda hasn't tumbled down the baby girl name lists quite as far as other names, but she's definitely in decline, ranking at number 334 last year and still falling, according to Nameberry. The name Amanda only feels trendy because everything that was popular in the ‘90s still feels weirdly trendy, but it's actually been around long enough to be considered a true classic. The root of the word that Amanda is based on is Latin, and the girl's name has been around since at least the 1600s.
6 Not Digging Derek
We seem nostalgic for baby names like Derek, but not enough so to start naming our newborn boys Derek again like before. Sociologists have a lot of theories for why names like Derek decline in popularity, including that today's parents like softer sounding names, that names can skip a generation, or that names often follow the influence of celebrity, as per BBC. Maybe that means the generation after the millennials will return to the baby name Derek, if a celebrity names their baby Derek first.
5 Jamie's On The Run
The baby girl name Jamie is based on the traditional boy's name James, which in turn is based on the same biblical name that gave rise to Jacob, according to Baby Names Wizard. There are plenty of spelling variations, but some form of Jamie was in everyone's classrooms during the 1980s and 1990s in the US. Once the name Jamie had apparently reached critical mass, it seemingly imploded on itself and suddenly no one was choosing this name. Millennials continue to studiously avoid the name Jamie.
4 Howard They Know
A few prominent celebrities and characters have reintroduced the baby name Howard to millennials, but it remains to be seen whether they'll like it enough to propel the name Howard to his former glory as a top boy’s name in the US, according to BabyCenter. At one point in time, Howard was a very distinguished choice for a baby, but post-WWII, that popularity declined dramatically and Howard was a rare choice. Even now with a little attention, it still hasn't broken the top 1,500 names.
3 Not Betting On Becky
Becky is a diminutive of Rebecca, and that's a classic biblical name, but Becky has taken on a whole new aura in the last couple of years as memes become a more pervasive and legitimate form of communication. Now, Becky has come to connote a woman who is of a particular racial and ethnic background and is motivated by things that are not generally positive, as per USA Today. Millennials have lived and breathed meme trends like Becky and the name now carries far more baggage than in previous generations.
2 Avoiding Aaron
Yes, Aaron is still in the top 100 of baby boy names as of last year, but the number of babies with this classic biblical name is on a steady decline, according to BabyCenter. While Aaron surprisingly held steady throughout the 1980s and 90s and into the 2000s, in the last few years the name seems to have hit a tipping point and the numbers are beginning to avalanche in the other direction. It won't continue to backslide because of any negativity, but because millennials just don’t feel that it's creative enough.
1 So Long Susan
While Susan was never the most popular girl name, it enjoyed a comfortable and often high-up position for many years as a safe and suitable name for babies born into any kind of family. Now the name Susan is given so rarely that it's in danger of disappearing off the charts altogether–it's barely keeping just within the top 2000 baby names in the UK, as per Independent. In the US, Susan has dropped from a top name to number 963 as of last year, according to Nameberry.
References: Baby Name Wizard, BabyCenter, Nameberry, The Bump, Baby Names Pedia, Babble, Upswing Baby Names, British Baby Names, BabyCenter, Appellation Mountain, Metro National Post, Nameberry, The Atlantic, Every Day Family, Behind The Name, Baby Name Wizard, Bustle, Nameberry, BBC, Baby Names Wizard, BabyCenter, USA Today, BabyCenter, Independent, Nameberry