A scroll through the most popular baby names in 2020 feels like a recap of one of the worst years in living memory, but at least some things have remained the same. For starters, almost no one is naming their baby Karen after a year full of Karens going out and misbehaving all over the place. But there were some old standbys that remained popular.
This week, BabyCenter released its list of top baby names of 2020, and there were a few surprises. Not when it came to the most popular names for a baby girl and a baby boy — those were Sophia and Liam respectively, no change from 2019. Sophia has actually been holding the top spot since 2010, making that name the classic to end all classics. But there was a new member of the top 10 list for boys' names this year — Mateo finally made the cut, edging out Mohammed for the number 10 spot. Beyond those findings, here's a breakdown of BabyCenter's top 10 data:
Top 10 Names for Girls
Top 10 Names for Boys
While the top 10 list might look mostly familiar — with some shifting around, like Riley did in the top girls names when she jumped six spots — there were some surprises in other names further down on BabyCenter's list. Notably ones that were affected by current events.
For instance, according to BabyCenter, the name Kamala jumped by 104% in popularity since 2019, perhaps a testament to the popularity of Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris.
Celebrities continue to have an effect on baby names as well, with the name Liberty jumping 69%, which is the name The View host Meghan McCain's daughter, Liberty Sage.
The tragic loss of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who died a helicopter crash along with seven others, in January saw both names rise in popularity. Kobe climbed 379 spots while Gianna moved up 52 spots, claiming number 24 on the girls' list.
"2020 has been an especially emotional year for families, filled with stress, loss, and uncertainty. At a time like this, parents are seeking comfort by naming their babies after people they admire, especially those who've passed on," BabyCenter's global editor-in-chief Linda Murray said in a statement shared with Romper. "We expect this trend to continue well into 2021."
While parents might have wanted to pay tribute to some beloved icons, they didn't want to pay tribute to Karen. The name plunged 153 spots after it became shorthand for a rude, entitled, frequently racist middle-aged white woman. Alexa also dropped 121 spots, perhaps because it's the name kids are always yelling at their devices to play "Baby Shark."
After the comically bizarre year we've experienced, it will be interesting to see what names continue to be popular with parents in the coming months. COVID, Corona, and Lockdown have already been used... so that could be a thing in 2021.