The Social Security Administration has revealed the most popular baby names of 2019, with Olivia taking the top spot for girls and Liam topping the list for boys.
But one name that most certainly didn’t rank among the most-used is Karen, which in the past few years has been increasingly used as a derogatory nickname for entitled women whose offenses include demanding to speak to the manager over tiny inconveniences and calling the police on people of color for barbecuing in parks or painting their own property.
According to SSA data, the instances of babies named Karen have dropped dramatically in the past decade, and are now at their lowest since the 1930s.
Going down: According to Social Security Administration data, the name Karen is declining in popularity for babies (stock photo)
Association: This is likely due in part to the use of Karen as a derogatory nickname for entitled white women
Losing steam: However, the use of the name has been declining for years since it’s peak in the ’60s
Looking back: The last time the name Karen was this unpopular was 1930, when it was ranked 689
Karen comes in at #660 in the baby name rankings for 2019. That represents 438 babies named Karen last year, and 0.024 percent of total female births in 2019.
The last time it was that unpopular was 1930, when it was ranked #689.
While the relatively new usage of the name Karen as an insult may very well be contributing to its unpopularity for babies, Karen memes and viral videos aren’t entirely to blame, as the name has been dropping in popularity for some time.
It was barely in the top 1,000 in the 1910s and ’20s, but in the ’30s it quickly started to rise — jumping to #39 by 1939.
Karen spent the ’40s climbing the list, and it broke the top 10 in 1951, coming in at #8.
It stayed in the top five from 1957 to 1966, hitting its peak spot in 1965 at #3. Rhat year, the number of girls named Karen was 32,873, which represented 1.799 per cent of total female births in 1965.
Infamous: Well-known examples of women called Karen include Amy Cooper, who tearfully called 911 on a birdwatcher who asked her to leash her dog in Central Park
Yikes… There’s also Jennifer Schulte, a.k.a. Barbecue Becky, who called 911 on a group of black people using a grill in a park in Oakland, California and sobbed while hovering over them
It certainly seems that the new use for the name Karen has made parents less likely to bestow it upon their children in recent years, however.
Answer to her! Another example is Lisa Alexander, who also called the police on a man who was painting his own property because she was convinced he didn’t live there
The origins of this usage can be traced back to 2014, when a popular meme was launched. The image shows a woman with chunky highlights and hair that is long and straight in the front and cropped short in the back.
The meme was used to discuss women who demand to speak to a manager when they are not getting exactly what they want, regardless of how unreasonable their expectations are.
Over time, it merged with the name Karen, which was used to describe an entitled woman — usually middle-aged and white — who bulldozes others to get her way, and is often complaining.
But the Karen identity has evolved in the past couple of years. Now, it’s just as often used for a woman — again, usually white — who has found fault with something a stranger is doing and demands that they answer to her for it.
Often, these women call the police. Well-known examples include Amy Cooper, who tearfully called 911 on a birdwatcher who asked her to leash her dog in Central Park, and Lisa Alexander, who also called the police on a man who was painting his own property because she was convinced he didn’t live there.
Most popular: Meanwhile, the top baby names this year include quite a few familiar ones that have earned top spots in previous years
There’s also Jennifer Schulte — a.k.a. Barbecue Becky — who in May 2018 called 911 on a group of black people using a grill in a park in Oakland, California and sobbed while hovering over them.
Meanwhile, the top baby names this year include quite a few familiar ones that have earned top spots in previous years.
Following Liam at number one for boys are Noah, Oliver, William, Elijah, James, Benjamin, Lucas, Mason, and Ethan.
Coming after Olivia in top spot for girls are Emma, Ava, Sophia, Isabella, Charlotte, Amelia, Mia, Harper, and Evelyn.