How Will Coronavirus Affect Baby Names?

We’ve seen data suggesting that the health of the economy has an influence on baby names — specifically, that strong markets embolden expectant parents to go for uncommon names, whereas weak ones have the opposite effect (because times of uncertainty/fear make us want to blend in, not stand out).

With this in mind…what do you think will happen to baby names during 2020?

Our lives have not just been dominated by the news of the Coronavirus outbreak, but totally disrupted due to various containment measures: the closing of businesses, the practice of social distancing, etc. Anxiety levels have been running high for weeks, and no doubt this will continue for weeks to come.

If the prevailing social mood really does affect baby names, should we expect name creativity to plummet in 2020? Or, do you think (like Zoe on Twitter does) that the crisis will instead inspire parents to take more risks, because it’s reminding us that “life is fragile”?

9 thoughts on “How Will Coronavirus Affect Baby Names?

  1. Well, I’m from Italy and here the Covid-19 is hitting very hard (especially in the Northern area where I live).
    In my opinion this unprecedented situation will affect naming towards something “bolder” or “more badass” baby names and so you’ll probably see a spike of certain names like King, Major or Royal.
    Since Italian naming customs are not so creative like American ones probably we’ll experience a shift towards more “important” names of our tradition (for example a friend of mine decided to name her baby Enea or Achille instead of a boring and overcommon Alessandro, because: “Enea or Achille are stronger and more important names ideal for a baby born during this peculiar situation”).

  2. I’d bet on the rise of virtue names, or at least modern version of virtue names, like Brave/Bravery, Courage, Honor, etc. And I’d say names like Legend, Messiah, Legacy, Major, King, will probably rise some more too

  3. @Christa – Hehe. :)

    @Gheba – I like that you have theories for both the U.S. and for Italy! We’ll have to keep an eye on the trends in both countries for sure. (I’m sorry you guys are being hit so hard right now — please stay safe!)

    @Skizzo – I could absolutely see names like Brave and Courage having added significance (and therefore picking up steam) this year. Good thinking.

  4. I think it will also affect which media influence names this year. Eg we’ll miss out on names inspired by Olympic athletes, but might see even more from Netflix and YouTube.

  5. This was in my email…am I missing part of the message here on the web site?
    “We’ve seen data suggesting that the health of the economy has an influence on baby names — specifically, that strong markets embolden expectant parents to go for uncommon names, whereas weak ones have the opposite effect (because times of uncertainty/fear make us want to blend in, not stand out). With this in mind…what do you […]”

    That makes perfect sense. Excellent prediction, Clare!

  6. @Christa – It sent half the original post, and then the most recent comment? I’m not sure what that means, but it could be that you’re subscribed to the comments…?

  7. Chalk it up to a dire lack of sleep! LOL I’m having to double check everything now before I post it on social media haha
    I see what I did there! Ah, well…I’ll take a nap.

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