Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Baby boomer baby names that have gone out of style

1/
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

Baby boomer baby names that have gone out of style

Some names seem so ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine that they will ever be anything other than everywhere in the popular consciousness. However, a look at the history of popular names goes to show that such enduring popularity is far from given.

When the parents of the baby boomer generation came back from World War II, an array of social factors influenced the names they would give their children, including the names of beloved presidents and popular actors. From models to actresses to singer-songwriters, many of the most famous baby boomers had the most popular names of their day, from Jerry Hall to Bob Dylan to Pat Benatar.

However, for some names, in the time between the boomer years and now, other figures have emerged with the same names that cause these monikers to lose their luster. An unpopular television show character, a kidnapper, murderer, or other unsavory character, or simply a dramatic downturn in fortune on the public stage can all contribute to a name losing its popularity. President Richard Nixon, for example, was famously called “Tricky Dicky” for his crimes in office, making the name Dick far less appealing for parents.

To determine which names popular with baby boomers have since lost popularity, Stacker consulted the Social Security Administration’s baby names database. We compiled a list of 974 names which were given to at least 5,000 baby boomers (or, using the Pew Research Center’s definition, babies born between 1946 and 1964). We then selected 25 girls’ names and 25 boys’ names from this list which were given to fewer than 25 babies born in 2018. The names are ranked in this story according to their popularity for baby boomers, or the total number of babies given these names between 1946 and 1964.

Click through for a look at the 50 popular boomer names that have now gone out of style—some to the extent that there were fewer than five children in all of 2018 given the boomer-centric name.

You may also like: Most popular baby names in every state

2/
Unsplash

#50. Blanche (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,024 (#430 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1949 (Rank: #410; 379 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #15,589 (5 babies born)

Two short years after Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire” opened on Broadway, the name Blanche peaked in popularity. Williams’ play was later turned into a film in which the character Blanche is a truly down on her luck—contributing perhaps to negative associations that have led the name to fall from favor.

3/
PxHere

#49. Earlene (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,036 (#389 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #401; 407 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Although Earlene is hardly as popular a name as it once was, parents hoping for an athletic child may wish to consider naming their child after Earlene Brown. Brown was an Olympic athlete famous for her prowess in track and field—and later in roller derby.

4/
PxHere

#48. Jerry (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,245 (#427 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1946 (Rank: #345; 475 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Jerry had been out of high fashion as a girl’s name for ten years when Jerry Hall’s parents named her in 1956. But that didn’t stop Hall from running away to model in Paris at 16 and then marrying Mick Jagger.

5/
Unsplash

#47. Cleveland (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,612 (#414 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #361; 359 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #4,337 (23 babies born)

Cleveland peaked just after World War II, but generations later the name was given a new twist on fame, if not widespread usage. The popular sitcom Family Guy includes a main character named Cleveland, one of the show’s more beloved characters.

6/
Pixabay

#46. Merle (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,685 (#313 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1948 (Rank: #321; 432 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #4,452 (22 babies born)

Country music legend Merle Haggard is one reason for parents to continue considering naming their children Merle. Counting against the name? That it also means the hair of a dog’s coat.

You may also like: Bizarre slang words and phrases from every state

7/
PxHere

#45. Earnestine (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,734 (#407 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1948 (Rank: #356; 475 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Earnestine may no longer be a popular name, but it has an auspicious contemporary claim to fame. Earnestine & Hazel has been called by VICE the most haunted bar in America.

8/
Pixabay

#44. Dick (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,912 (#309 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1946 (Rank: #208; 828 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

One reason the name Dick may no longer be as popular as it once was? President Richard Nixon was famous disgraced in office and nicknamed “Tricky Dicky” for his crimes in office.

9/
Oksana Kuzmina // Shutterstock

#43. Carey (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 5,972 (#300 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1957 (Rank: #354; 459 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #4,452 (22 babies born)

Carey has fallen out of favor as a name for boys, but it has at least one high-profile avatar, who is a woman. The actress Carey Mulligan is widely considered one of the most talented actresses of her generation.

10/
PxHere

#42. Garland (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,090 (#169 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1949 (Rank: #335; 402 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #4,713 (20 babies born)

The most common connotations with the word garland today are likely garlands strung up for the holidays, and President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee who never got a hearing. Given these associations, it may come as no surprise if parents do not continue naming children Garland.

11/
Unsplash

#41. Bettye (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,120 (#197 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #284; 739 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Bettye peaked in popularity just a year after the singer-songwriter Bettye LaVette was born in 1946. Alas, LaVette’s illustrious career and hit singles weren’t quite enough to keep the name in heavy rotation.

You may also like: Origins of the 50 most popular dog breeds

12/
Canva

#40. Myrtle (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,417 (#397 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #319; 596 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Myrtle’s ubiquity has been replaced with a highly specific sort of infamy. Moaning Myrtle is one of the most distinct characters in the Harry Potter series—a ghost who haunts a toilet in a girl’s bathroom at Hogwarts.

13/
Canva

#39. Elbert (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,496 (#390 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #322; 455 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #6,308 (13 babies born)

One ignominious Elbert who may have contributed to the name’s plummet in popularity? The politician Elbert Woodward, who was a crony of the famously corrupt Boss Tweed at the height of New York City’s political corruption.

14/
Pixabay

#38. Gayla (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,529 (#343 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1954 (Rank: #345; 618 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Gayla Peevey was one of the most famous child stars of her day, famous for singing “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Peevey’s star hasn’t remained quite as prominent in the public imagination as her contemporary Shirley Temple, and the name’s luster has faded with her own.

15/
Canva

#37. Sammie (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,670 (#338 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #310; 492 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #6,308 (13 babies born)

For such a diminutive name as Sammie, it has some surprisingly muscular holders. Among these are wrestling legend Sammie Henson, and NFL pro Sammie Coates.

16/
Unsplash

#36. Ernie (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,710 (#386 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #370; 450 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #4,337 (23 babies born)

Ernie Pyle was one of the most legendary war correspondents in American history. He died at the Battle of Iwo Jima, which cemented his status as a popular choice for parents who survived the war.

You may also like: How communities are dealing with invasive species across the U.S.

17/
Unsplash

#35. Bart (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,730 (#384 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #249; 1,022 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Bart may not be as popular as it once was, but at least one Bart will never die. The beloved character of Bart on the television show “The Simpsons” will outlive future fluctuations of the name’s popularity.

18/
Pixabay

#34. Dona (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,763 (#382 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1954 (Rank: #393; 487 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

The golden age of air travel in the 1950s made places like Italy closer to Americans than ever before. The Italian name of “Dona” means “Lady” in Italian and may have been popular with parents traveling to the likes of Italy more easily than ever.

19/
PxHere

#33. Ed (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,790 (#383 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #297; 696 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #7,083 (11 babies born)

Ed may not be as popular as it once was, but if there’s anyone who can stage a resurgence of the name’s popularity, it would likely be Ed Shereen. The Grammy-winning singer songwriter has turned out several hit songs since his debut album in 2011.

20/
Pixabay

#32. Curt (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,809 (#318 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1960 (Rank: #292; 720 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #7,083 (11 babies born)

By the time baseball legend Curt Schilling was born in 1966, his name had already been on the downswing for six years. Parents hoping for sons skilled at baseball may nonetheless wish to follow in his parents’ footsteps.

21/
PxHere

#31. Gerry (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,847 (#348 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1958 (Rank: #336; 525 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #8,096 (9 babies born)

Baby boomer Gerry Gergich is the television show Parks and Recreation’s favorite office punching bag. So much so that Gergich’s real name isn’t even Gerry—it’s Jerry—but the office calls him Gerry simply to have fun at his expense. No wonder more parents aren’t naming their sons Gerry.

You may also like: 50 endangered species that only live in the Amazon Rainforest

22/
Pixabay

#30. Debby (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,904 (#190 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #308; 890 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Debby may not be the most glamorous name for today’s parents, but there is at least one glamorous Debby in the world—the rock icon Blondie. Perhaps, however, Debby Harry gave herself a stage name to skyrocket to fame.

23/
Pixabay

#29. Melba (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,926 (#263 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1946 (Rank: #325; 529 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Melba Moore may be a beloved singer-songwriter, but her name has been eclipsed in the popular consciousness by a food item. Melba toast is dry and crisp and popular at cocktail parties with appetizers. 

24/
Pixabay

#28. Bert (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,933 (#417 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1958 (Rank: #375; 428 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #7,083 (11 babies born)

Bert may have faded from popularity as a boy’s name, but one Bert will live eternally. Bert is one half of the famous muppet couple Bert and Ernie made popular by the television show Sesame Street.

25/
PxHere

#27. Kathi (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 6,990 (#387 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1958 (Rank: #325; 824 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

The most famous Kathi today is another food item, in this case a roll. Entire blogs have been devoted to unpacking the origins of the famous Kathi roll.

26/
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#26. Diann (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 8,265 (#295 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #338; 557 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

That almost no one is naming their daughter Diann today gives all the more spotlight to Christian author Diann Mills. Arguably the most famous living Diann, the author has sold 1.5 million copies.

You may also like: Most popular baby names for millennials

27/
PxHere

#25. Dee (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 8,266 (#536 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1961 (Rank: #386; 623 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Dee Wallace was born two decades before her name peaked in popularity. Forty-some years later, she played the mother in E.T., and today calls herself a spiritual teacher. Few parents are following suit.

28/
Unsplash

#24. Carroll (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 8,416 (#534 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1946 (Rank: #229; 682 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #8,774 (8 babies born)

Caroll Shelbey was a mid-century race car legend. Although his name has currently faded from view, Matt Damon’s portrayal of him in the 2019 film “Ford v. Ferrari” may give it its best chance at a comeback.

29/
PxHere

#23. Saundra (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 8,957 (#522 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #270; 813 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Saundra was once a popular name, and now it’s mainly a term on Urban Dictionary. To be a Saundra means to be a laid back person who “gets her way a lot.” Sounds like her name is due for a resurgence.

30/
Unsplash

#22. Phil (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 8,969 (#500 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #300; 676 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #6,308 (13 babies born)

One of the most famous baby boomers named Phil is Phil Collins, one of the most successful musicians of the 1980s. However, Collins is lesser known by millennials, which may be part of why his name is dipping in popularity.

31/
Canva

#21. Doyle (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 9,454 (#486 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #272; 620 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #6,664 (12 babies born)

Doyle may not be popular as a first name any longer, but mystery aficionados may want to consider naming their sons Doyle. The reason? Arthur Conan Doyle is the creator of the most famous detective in the world, Sherlock Holmes.

You may also like: 10 toxic cleaning products and their natural alternatives

32/
Canva

#20. Sondra (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 9,731 (#473 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #309; 631 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Although Sondra has faded from the limelight, she had quite a heyday. Sondra Locke was one of the most famous actresses of her generation and appeared in six films with her partner, Clint Eastwood.

33/
Pixabay

#19. Gay (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 10,033 (#464 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #362; 682 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

The word gay was once associated primarily with happiness. But as homosexuality became more openly discussed, the word takes on sexual and political tones, which may be a part of why it is less commonly used today.

34/
Canva

#18. Chuck (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 10,351 (#461 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1961 (Rank: #218; 1,283 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #8,096 (9 babies born)

Chuck peaked in the 1960s, several decades after its most enduring namesake was born. Chuck Taylor shoes—more commonly known as Converse, today—were created in the 1920s.

35/
Pixabay

#17. Laverne (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 10,413 (#459 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1948 (Rank: #297; 661 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Laverne was once such a popular name that it took marquee billing in the popular sitcom “Laverne and Shirley.” In the show, set in the 1950s, Laverne works at a factory with her best friend Shirley. The show was a hit, perhaps making it difficult for parents to see their child as anything other than a sitcom character, were they to name her Laverne.

36/
Canva

#16. Cary (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 10,460 (#458 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1957 (Rank: #268; 787 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #4,452 (22 babies born)

Cary Grant was one of Hollywood’s leading men in the golden age of film, but even he wasn’t really named Cary. Grant’s real name? Archibald.

You may also like: What having a baby was like the year you were born

37/
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#15. Horace (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 10,742 (#455 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #237; 741 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #4,713 (20 babies born)

Horace was a Roman poet, so it’s no surprise that in an era of classical education, his name was popular. But when the classics fell out of favor in schools, it corresponded with a decline in the name's popularity.

38/
Unsplash

#14. Delbert (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 11,120 (#422 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #244; 723 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #5,071 (18 babies born)

Delbert has the misfortune of sounding like a comic book character. Specifically, Dilbert, a hapless, disgruntled office worker created in 1989, whom few parents would want their children to resemble.

39/
Unsplash

#13. Pat (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 11,441 (#421 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1960 (Rank: #252; 1,000 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Pat has become a highly outdated name for a boy. It sounds almost as outdated as the television show “Wheel of Fortune,” hosted by Pat Sajak, who spun the wheel in the 1980s and 90s on waiting room televisions across America.

40/
PxHere

#12. Deloris (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 12,554 (#406 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #239; 989 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Deloris today is less likely to be a real person than an animated character. A Deloris is a Pokémon, but even the Pokemon Deloris is “rarely spotted in the wild.”

41/
PxHere

#11. Gale (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 13,632 (#395 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1957 (Rank: #245; 1,209 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Before falling from favor as a girl’s name, one female Gale made it into history. Gale Norton was the first woman to hold the post of Secretary of the Interior, which she did under the George W. Bush administration.

You may also like: States doing the most for a clean energy future

42/
Unsplash

#10. Doug (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 14,116 (#389 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1962 (Rank: #171; 1,846 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #10,700 (6 babies born)

Doug McClure was a baby boomer actor who died young at 59 in 1995. One reason his name may no longer be so popular? The name Douglas can easily be shortened to Doug, giving options for various levels of formality and familiarity.

43/
Canva

#9. Pat (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 14,195 (#381 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1946 (Rank: #147; 1,872 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Her name isn’t topping the charts anymore, but Pat Benatar remains one of America’s foremost rock ‘n’ roll icons. The singer’s real name is Patricia, which is a far more common name these days.

44/
Pixabay

#8. Ronda (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 14,839 (#333 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1964 (Rank: #207; 1,716 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Ronda may be such an unpopular name today that it isn’t even ranked, but there is at least one famous Ronda still making news. Ronda Rousey is a wrestler and mixed martial artist known for her skills in two sports that men have long dominated.

45/
HTeam // Shutterstock

#7. Pam (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 24,558 (#318 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #125; 3,679 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

Pam lives on in the small screen more than in birth registers these days. Although few parents name their daughters Pam, the character of Pam Beesly in the hit show “The Office” may yet spike a surge in names when fans become parents.

46/
Canva

#6. Lynn (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 24,960 (#311 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1947 (Rank: #151; 1,781 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #5,484 (16 babies born)

Lynn’s downswing in popularity may be partly because the name is also—and now more commonly—given to women. It is at this point primarily associated with women, making it a less obvious choice for parents to sons.

You may also like: What marriage was like the year you were born

47/
Unsplash

#5. Kim (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 26,626 (#306 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1955 (Rank: #98; 3,491 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #10,700 (6 babies born)

Although Kim is hardly a popular name for boys any longer, this wasn’t always the case. So popular was the name in decades prior, that the Victorian novelist Rudyard Kipling actually named the protagonist of one of his most famous novels Kim.

48/
Unsplash

#4. Shelia (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 28,718 (#223 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #169; 2,283 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

One of the most gruesome associations with a name no longer in heavy rotation is Shelia Eddy. Eddy was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2012 killing of her friend Skylar Neese.

49/
Canva

#3. Patty (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 31,869 (#208 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #139; 3,117 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

One famous Patty whom parents might have had second thoughts about naming their child after is Patty Hearst. The heiress was kidnapped from Berkely, California, by a group of radicals, who brainwashed her into committing robberies with them.

50/
Unsplash

#2. Bob (boys)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 32,169 (#192 most popular name for baby boomer boys)
- Peak popularity year: 1959 (Rank: #128; 2,824 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: #5,284 (17 babies born)

With all the famous Bobs in the world, parents may no longer wish to give their sons such stiff competition. Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, and Bob Woodward all hold claim to Bob fame, and more parents may wish instead to name their sons Robert.

51/
Canva

#1. Jan (girls)

- Total baby boomers with this name: 38,802 (#174 most popular name for baby boomer girls)
- Peak popularity year: 1956 (Rank: #136; 3,200 babies born)
- Popularity in 2018: Not ranked (fewer than 5 babies born)

The fictional Jan Brady may be responsible for the mass decline in the name Jan. Jan Brady was insecure and envious of her popular older sister Marcia and even invented a boyfriend for herself by the name of George Glass.

You may also like: What the world was like when your grandparents were born

2018 All rights reserved.