What happened to those creative juices while we were all cooped and masked up this last year?

And what happened to the baby boom we all thought would happen since we were all, well, cooped and masked up this last year?

The results are in and media are calling 2020 a “COVID-19 Baby Bust.”

We have all heard that the U.S. birthrate has been on a downward curve for years, but the Brookings Institution estimated there will be a 13 percent drop from 2019. The reason? Not because of COVID says Time Magazine.

They reason that birthrates have been sinking anyway for years and they blame the cost for having and raising a baby, and the lack of time for two working parents trying to raise a baby.

It was not a surprise to discover that the most popular baby names in 2020 were not much different from what we named our kids in 2019.

The most popular baby girl name in 2020 was — drum roll please — Olivia. Guess the most popular baby girl name in 2019. Yup, Olivia.

Same for boy names. Liam was most popular last year and this year, too.

I will not hold you in suspense anymore. The top five baby girl names, according to Social Security, were, from first to fifth, Olivia, Emma, Ava, Charlotte and Sophie.

The top five baby boy names were Liam, Noah, Oliver, Elijah and William.

Parents who thought they were naming their offspring something unique had to be disappointed. Gianna was 12th most popular while Luna was 14th. I do not know where in the world Luna came from, but Gianna was the name of the daughter of Kobe Bryant who died in that tragic helicopter crash. In fact, Gianna was one of the hottest naming trends last year, up 216 percent, according to Nameberry.com which is a baby-naming website. The name Kobe did not make the Top 50 boys names, but it was listed by Nameberry as up 175 percent in popularity.

Looking through the Social Security list of most popular names — they have been revealing the most popular names for 20 years and their records go back to the 1880s — I see some odd ones, well, odd in my view. Hudson (number 42), Jaxon (number 48), and Maverick (number 49) for boys. Luna (number 14), Nova (number 38), and Paisley (number 50) for girls.

The British Broadcast Corporation — the BBC to you — blogged a hilarious post about how unusual and unique names are becoming far more common, pointing out that judges around the world have had to take parents to court for names they chose for their babies.

Three examples: Nutella was banned in France. Cyanide was outlawed by a British court. And then there is the New Zealand judge who put a kid under court guardianship after her parents tried to name her, take a deep breath for this one, ‘Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii.’

I feel for kids with weird names that, I suppose, their parents think are unique. I am thinking of what the babynames.com website calls “power names,” like Rogue, Maverick and Remington, or “city names” like Aspen, Boston, Dallas, Denver and Memphis.

I am not making this up — really!

The poor kid must live with name his parents give him, at least until he is legal and 18.

Which brings me to my college friend, Rusty. I told this story in last year’s Baby Names column, but it bears repeating. I knew Rusty all through college. Always called him Rusty. One day, he was writing a check — remember when you wrote checks?

I happened to glance over his shoulder, innocently, of course, and saw, up in the corner, his real name was, gasp, Wilmer. And not just Wilmer but Wilmer III. He was mortified. I promised never to reveal his real name.

Oh, you are probably wondering where Thomas was on the Social Security list. I was pleasantly surprised, flabbergasted would probably describe me more accurately, when I checked and there was Thomas in the Top 50!

I am as surprised as you are. Most guys I meet named Thomas are on their way to collecting their Social Security. Thomas was 45th most popular, still in the Top 50.

I look forward to the day when I see a little tyke on the street — and his mom calls him Thomas.

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Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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