The Biggest Losers: The Fastest Falling Names of 2016

The SSA sorts its data by increase and decrease in popularity, which is a fun way to spot trends. One caveat: the increase or decrease is based on rank, not number of births, so the fastest falling names tend to be towards the less crowded bottom of the list. Many of the names here have fallen out of the top 1000 this year, but to qualify to be counted, they must have ranked for at least one of the two years.

Boys

  1. Jonael (pictured)- Jonael is something of a one-hit wonder; It ranked in the top 1000 once and once only- #921 in 2015. Parents seem to have been inspired by a child contestant on the Telemundo series La Voz Kids (“The Voice Kids”), but like many suddenly trendy names, Jonael fell as quickly as it rose.
  2. Aaden- Like Jonael, Aaden was inspired by a TV kid- sextuplet Aaden Gosselin of Kate Plus 8. The series is still being produced (despite numerous “cancellations”) but is far less popular than it was at its peak in 2009. The Aiden names show some signs of waning slightly, and I expect these outlying alternative spellings to be among the first to go.
  3. Triston- This spelling of Tristan has been declining for years and it has finally fallen out of the top 1000. The original spelling remains fairly common at #108.
  4. Freddy- Like Triston, Freddy has been declining for years (or, more accurately in Freddy’s case, decades.)
  5. Yaakov- I recall reading a blog post several years ago about how Orthodox Jewish names tend to change in popularity when the list is amended mid-year because of the way data is kept in that community, but try as I might I can’t find it. That may be the case here, or Yaakov may just be a victim of the same falling out of fashion as its English counterpart Jacob.
  6. Braeden- Like Aaden, I think Braeden’s fall is a sign of the very beginning of the end for the Aidan names. Time will tell.
  7. Chace- Chace was never particularly popular, though the more common spelling Chase remains in the top 100.
  8. Brantlee- Brantlee fell precipitously last year, and its more common variant Brantley is losing steam as well.
  9. Gannon- One of the many names launched to stardom by the 16 & Pregnant/Teen Mom franchise, Gannon has been among the fastest risers for 2013 and 2014. But fast rise, fast fall in this case. Gannon and his mom Mackenzie are no longer featured on the show, and his name has clearly not had staying power.
  10. Robin- This Robert diminutive popped onto the very bottom of the charts in 2015, only to sink back of a year later. Perhaps the decreased presence of two famous male Robins- Thicke and Williams- contributed to this name’s fall.

Girls

1-4. Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn- All four versions of this 80’s hit fell out of the top 1000 in 2016. The fall has been widely attributed to Caitlyn Jenner, but I’m not sure she had more than a small influence- Caitlin in all of its forms has been falling for nearly 20 years, and I couldn’t find a single case in the past 3 years where one of the variants rose in popularity.

  1. Neriah- Neriah squeezed in the 900-1000 range from 2013-2015, but fell out of the top 1000 last year. It’s a Jewish/Hebrew name, but I could see it appealing to parents who like the sound of Nevaeh but don’t care for its origin.
  2. Bryanna- Like Caitlin, most spellings of this name are falling in popularity. Briana and friends became popular a little after Caitlin, but I expect the family will follow the same general trend. Perhaps the fast falling names of 2022 will be Breanna, Breeana, Bryana, and Briona.
  3. Kiley- This spelling variant of Kylie peaked in 2008, but has been falling ever since. The original spelling, however, remains popular.
  4. Yaritza- Yaritza’s had a bumpy ride on the popularity chart, rising and falling alternately for several years. I’m not sure this is the end for this name- we’ll have to see where it stands in 2017!
  5. Denise- After years of popularity, this French feminization of Dennis has earned a rest from the top 1000.
  6. Kaelyn- I see this name as another victim of the Caitlin syndrome. Kaelyn, Kailyn, Kaylin etc. fit into the Caitlin family in my book.
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