Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
The popularity of certain baby names is always a marker of the political times. For example, between 2008 and 2009, the name “Barack” skyrocketed in popularity.
The Social Security Administration will soon release its ranking of the most common names of 2017, but until then, there are a few predictors suggesting “Donald” won’t be a popular one. The drop in baby Donalds fits a pattern since Trump first declared his candidacy for presidency. Between 2016-2017, the popularity of the name dropped by 50%, according to BabyCenter. Time magazine reported last spring that 2016 marked an all-time low in the name’s popularity. Then in 2016, the number of babies named Donald fell more dramatically than it had in years, as the chart below shows.
Elle believes traffic to popular baby name websites could hint at Donald’s lack of popularity in 2017, writing, “The baby-name site Nameberry notes that overall, the pageviews for the name Donald have increased more than tenfold since 2011. Peak months for the name Donald were in November 2016, around the election, and January 2017, around the inauguration. But the traffic for Donald has been dropping since then, and the name got the same amount of pageviews in November as it did in January 2015.”
Even if you aren’t convinced that visits to a website can accurately predict baby name popularity, naming experts may convince you otherwise. According to one theory, Trump is making his name less and less desirable with every needless controversy he initiates. As Laura Wattenberg, founder of parenting website BabynameWizard.com told Newsweek: “Even parents who are huge Donald Trump supporters are unlikely to name their child Donald,” she said. “In part, we just want to avoid controversy in picking names.”
In general, experts say the trend fits a decades-long decrease in the popularity of Donald, simply because it’s an old-fashioned name that’s fallen out of favor as more young parents select hipper names like Noah, Liam and Mason. “I seriously don’t know who would name their baby Donald anymore, including Trump fans,” Pamela Redmond Satran, co-creator of Nameberry, told Elle. “As a name, it’s as out as, say, Shirley. My guess is that it survives mostly as a family name, with baby Donald named for dad and/or grandpa Donald.”
Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.