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Say Goodbye to These Favorite Names…

Flashback to:

 “Y2K” panic
• Destiny’s Child ruling the radio
• “Friends” ruling television
• Palm Pilots being the height of techno cool

Yep, it’s been a while since the year 2000. Long enough, in fact, that we’ve seen a generational turnover in baby names.

I calculated the names that have fallen the farthest since the year 2000: the names that have just turned the generational corner. If the first X-Men movie still feels recent to you, you might want to sit down for this list of “Turn of the 21st Century Throwbacks.”

Jessica Nicholas
Alexis Tyler
Ashley Brandon
Hannah Zachary
Megan Justin
Lauren Joshua
Sarah Kyle
Taylor Jacob
Kayla Christopher
Alyssa Michael


In theory, that list is diverse in style. It includes names short and long, old and new, biblical standards and unisex surnames. And yet, they all go together, don’t they? You can feel that despite their differences, they make up a coherent set. That’s the feeling of a generation. In particular, it’s the generation of the 1980s-’90s, which was still ruling the roost in 2000 but has been sliding since. Here’s the same list in NameVoyager graph form:

Graph of falling names

Just to be clear, there’s nothing remotely wrong with these names. After all, they’re a whole generation’s favorite names – and, likely, names of people you know and love. What’s more, they can still be considered popular. 18 of the 20 names on the list (all but Megan and Jessica) still rank among today’s top 200 for boys or girls. Plenty of them are such classics that they will never fully disappear.

Yet the shape of that graph reminds us that a lot of these names that we take for granted as standards were virtually unheard of back when our parents were born. They’re names that define a specific era, an era which is rapidly being supplanted on the baby name popularity charts. They’re stepping aside to make way for new hits like Harper, Penelope, Bentley and Maddox, that were themselves unheard of back when the Palm Pilot was king.


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