Where did the baby name Macaulay come from in the 1990s?

Actor Macaulay Culkin in the movie "Home Alone" (1990).
Actor Macaulay Culkin in “Home Alone

The wildly successful Christmas comedy Home Alone, released at the end of 1990, starred child actor Macaulay Culkin as a little boy (Kevin McCallister) mistakenly left at home by himself for the holidays while his family went on vacation.

Thanks to the movie, Macaulay Culkin became a household name virtually overnight. In fact, he was soon being called “the biggest child star since Shirley Temple.”

Unsurprisingly, the year the movie came out, the unique name Macaulay began appearing in the U.S. baby name data:

Boys named MacaulayGirls named Macaulay
*Debut, †Peak usage

Soon after, the variants Macauley, Mccauley, and Macauly (a one-hit wonder) popped up in the data as well.

Macaulay Culkin was born in 1980 and named for 19th-century English* historian Thomas Babington Macaulay. He was the third of seven children; his siblings are named Shane (m), Dakota (f), Kieran (m), Quinn (f), Christian (m), and Rory (m).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Macaulay? Do you like it better for boys or for girls?


*Speaking of England…usage of Macaulay spiked in Britain in 1995, which was weirdly late. Anyone know why?

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Macaulay come from in the 1990s?

  1. Nancy, regarding the spike for this name in England, I put up a Twitter thread back in July in which I may have found out the reason for the spike (that being the baby named Macaulay in the military drama ‘Soldier, Soldier), though I did wonder at the time why the people I spoke to back in college gave Culkin as the influencer for this.

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