Names further down the drain in 2021: Alexa, Karen, and Mary

Amazon continued its assault on real people named Alexa in 2021, degraded the cultural value of the name through association with its robot servant product. The trend in girls given the name Alexa is very dramatic:

I’ve been writing about the Alexa trend since 2018. You can see the previous posts here.

I would also put the name Karen in the category of pointless denigration of real people. There are arguments in favor of calling a certain kind of racist “Karen” as an insult, but they aren’t good arguments. There are people named Karen. They did not choose their name. They are no more likely to be racist than anybody else. Names are important. It is profoundly wrong to turn that name into an epithet. Laughing along with this is the kind of dehumanizing behavior we should oppose. And it’s working. It’s not as dramatic as Alexa, because Karen was already falling from a peak in the 1960s (which is probably why it works as the “OK boomer” of lazy antiracism). But the last two years have seen the steepest drop for Karen this century, and the name fell from 661st to 828th among girls last year.

Finally, Mary. After a few years of not so bad results, Mary took a turn for the worse again in 2021. Another 1% absolute drop, to 2080 births in 2021, or 1.16 per 1000 girls born. Mary fell in rank among girls from 123 to 133. Don’t let them tell you this is a Christian country until they make this right (the old history and sources for the early trends are in my book, Enduring Bonds).

For posts going back more than 10 years, see the names tag. The data are from the Social Security Administration. Note that they tinker with the previous data a little from time to time. This year I replaced my old files with their current versions. You can find the data, and my Stata code for all this, in my OSF project under an open license.

2 thoughts on “Names further down the drain in 2021: Alexa, Karen, and Mary

  1. When there are fewer babies named “Mary” at the same time there are more named “Marie,” “Magdalena,” and “Maria,” I don’t think you need to worry about the fall of Christianity. That’s without even looking at combined forms like “Rosemary” or “Maryanne/Marian.” Or modern Protestant names like Nevaeh.


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