The Worst Most Popular Baby Names for Each Decade Since 1880

Once again, I’m here to take babies down a peg
The Worst Most Popular Baby Names for Each Decade Since 1880

Choosing a childs name is a big responsibility. You want to make sure its something that feels right, that perhaps honors your ancestors, but also wont get them repeatedly gut-punched against a piece of playground equipment. A safe route, then, is to just go with a nice, common name for the time. Unfortunately, like fashion or an uncleaned protein shaker, these names dont always age well. 

All of which is to say, time to locate and ridicule the worst popular baby names of each decade in the U.S. since 1880, as recorded by the Social Security Administration. If you're saying, “how is this guy criticizing other peoples names with a whopper of vaguely religious vowels like Eli Yudin?” I would respond: Leave me alone!

Anyway, lets go!

The 1880s: Bertha (8th, Female)


“Someday, youre going to grow up to be a great big lady.”

This just feels like a straight-up rude thing to call someone. I feel like, not knowing what struggles your child may have with weight, its generally smart to stay away from words that are alliterative with “big.” Thats how you end up sharing a name with a classic carnival game centered around feeding balls to a morbidly obese puppet.

The 1890s: Bessie (14th, Female)

We all know this is a cows name. Bessie is so much a cows name that making a joke about Bessie being a cows name now feels hack. If you saw someone pointing behind you going, “Thats Bessie,” youd expect to hear the sonorous clunking of a cowbell and the odor of cud. You never want your kids name to be something that feels like it should be preceded with “whoa there!”

The 1900s: Clarence (17th, Male)

Just generally not great. For a second, I wondered if it was influenced by the release of To Kill A Mockingbird. Then I realized that releasing a book about civil rights in the late 1800s was patently insane, and a quick Google search revealed that I am, indeed, stupid. Nevertheless, its a real honker of a thing to saddle a kid with. Clarence is not a name thats ever going to rule the schoolyard. Its more likely to be the kid eating bugs, whether of his own volition or under duress.

The 1910s: Walter (11th, Male)

My apologies to any Walters out there, but its the name of someone I dont want to be alone with unsupervised. It gives off a “blinking-way-less-than-they-should” vibe. You go over to a guy named Walters house, and youre going to hear thumping from a locked chest. I will say, its a name that can be grown into, and if you turn into an old guy with a mustache thats always a little bit asleep, I completely take back everything I just said.

The 1920s: Mildred (9th, Female)

Go directly to ghost, do not pass go. What a haunting name. What are you, out in the gardens in a nightdress? Suffering from the throes of some mental disease they wouldnt understand for another 40 years? Go to bed, lady! Sure, you can go by Millie, but youre not exactly jumping many rungs on the ladder. Ladies named Mildred always have “an ailment.” The official name of bedrest.

The 1930s: Ronald (13th, Female)

Even before it became a clowns name, this wasn’t a particularly blessed moniker. Its hard to judge, though, because the connection between Ronald and a clown that is tackily dressed (even for clowns!) is completely inexpungible in the modern brain. If youre naming your kid Ronald post-clown-debut, youre a menace. Anyways, back to the 1930s, its still just kind of a duck of a name. Saying “Ronald” feels like throwing a wobbling football out of your mouth. “In first place, Ronald!” just sounds off.

The 1940s: Larry (11th, Male)


Yup, thats a Larry.

Larry is a name that feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will create a man that is fun, but also isnt ever watching anybodys kid. If I had a baby and the doctor was like, “Hes been winking at people a lot,” I would be like, “Thats a Larry.” Or like, if the baby somehow already had a lot of chest hair.

The 1950s: Gary (12th, Male)

The gruesome twosome along with Larry. Hundreds of thousands of babies had to be named Gary to balance the scales from the influx of Larrys the last decade had wrought. One cannot exist without the other. They are the sun and the moon, yin and yang, Salt and Pepa. I feel like you could enter an ancient tomb and find a mural on the wall of two great beings labeled “Gary” and “Larry” washing the earth clean with floods and famine.

The 1960s: Tammy (13th, Female)

If your name is Tammy, odds are youre currently on the run. I havent done the research, but I assume Tammy is also in the top 20 of “names charged with Social Securities fraud.” Its the name of a thoroughly sauced woman at the end of the bar whos drinking the continents last existing bottle of Rumple Minze.

The 1970s: Kimberly (5th, Female)

Kimberly definitely had a glow up for a while, due to the name being connected to the Pink Power Ranger, and by extension, the formative development of Americans passing through puberty at that time. Unfortunately, the name got stuck there. To me, its inextricably connected with malls, blonde bangs and cutting remarks about your weight. The Kimberlys of the world created a generation of eating disorders from their throne outside the Orange Julius.

The 1980s: Crystal (20th, Female)

Honestly, this is just fully wild to me. Its a testament to how fucked up everyone was in the 1980s that a name like “Crystal” was bestowed with enough frequency to crack the top 20 of names for the entire decade. For context, more babies in the 1980s got named “Crystal” than “Aaron.” Thats outlandish. Its almost hacky that a decade dominated by crack and cocaine was pumping out Crystals, but this is information straight from the government (just like crack, allegedly).

The 1990s: Cody (27th, Male)


This is Cody, and hes going to be a little bit sticky his whole life.

I didnt want to dip below the top 20 for any of these names, but Cody really called out to me as a name that communicates the true essence of the 1990s. If you grew up in the 90s, you knew a Cody, and he looked like a doodle from Limp Bizkits liner notes. Ski-jump-shaped spiked front bangs, cargo shorts, SoBe stains all over his No Fear T-shirt. He had severe ADHD, but no one knew what that was yet, so he spent a lot of time doing puzzles in the counselors office.

The 2000s: Tyler (16th, Male)

One of my good childhood names is named Tyler, and he's cool. That said, in retrospect, he definitely had serious Tyler energy. When a Tyler is involved, mischief abounds, and theres a good chance youre going to be talking to a very frustrated police officer. When I broke my collarbone, Tyler was the one who informed my parents via my Motorola Razr, and Im pretty sure my mom was like, “Of course.”

The 2010s: Liam (2nd, Male)

Again, this one is just so deeply strange to me. Where the fuck did all these Liams come from? Youd think Ireland invaded the U.S. at the turn of the millennium. A century of minimal Liams, and suddenly its number TWO? What is happening here? Stop worrying about the Southern border and focus on controlling the flow of Liams into the population. Also, its neither here nor there, but Liam backwards is “mail.” So theres that.

The 2020s: Zorgoth (1st, Both)


Hail Zorgoth!

Were not even halfway through the 2020s, so it may be bold to predict the top name of the decade, but Im pushing all my chips squarely onto Zorgoth.

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