We all know that pop culture plays a strong influence when it comes to baby names, which is the reason why the Twilight series was solely responsible for an entire generation of little girls named “Bella” and why children born in 2016 will serve as a cultural reminder of everything from Stranger Things to Pokemon Go.
But did you know that pop culture also has an adverse affect on baby names? A perfect example of this is that just one year after Caitlyn Jenner revealed her new identity, the name “Caitlyn” — including variations Caitlin, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn — have all plummeted more than any other baby names in the past year, dropping out of the top 1,000, according to Social Security’s annual list of the most popular baby names.
BabynameWizard.com founder Laura Wattenberg told the Associated Press that the drop was “inevitable,” elaborating: “Caitlyn was already falling in popularity. Now it is suddenly controversial.”
Since her transition, Jenner has been a polarizing figure on both sides of the political spectrum, as even many in the LGBT community don’t hold the former I Am Cait star in very high regard thanks to her notoriously right-leaning conservative viewpoints. Wattenberg says that in general, parents try to avoid naming their children after controversial figures.
She points out that this is precisely the reason parents avoid naming their children after politicians.
“Even parents who are huge Donald Trump supporters are unlikely to name their child Donald,” Wattenberg said. “In part, we just want to avoid controversy in picking names.”
For the record, Donald fell 45 spots last year, to No. 488. Hillary fell out of the top 1,000 names in 2009 and has not returned.
Ouch. And after the tumultuous 2016 election, it seems unlikely that we’ll see the name “Hillary” make a resurgence in our lifetime. You know it’s crazy times we’re living in when people would rather name their baby after an almost universally reviled Star Wars villain.
(Via The AP)