Here are 10 baby boy names that were once-popular but are nearly-extinct now


Study uncovers once-popular boy names in the US that are nearly extinct. —Fort St. John North Peace Museum
Study uncovers once-popular boy names in the US that are nearly extinct. —Fort St. John North Peace Museum

A recent study delving into 121 years of US Social Security Administration data has unveiled a fascinating list of male names that were once commonplace but have now vanished from popularity. 

The research, conducted by a Reddit user known as u/Phanyxx, scrutinised the top 1,000 most popular names in the 20th century, tracking their decline over time.

The findings, posted on the ‘r/dataisbeautiful’ page, spotlight 10 names that enjoyed popularity in the early 1900s but have since disappeared from the modern naming landscape. Among these names are Willie, Elmer, and Herbert, with much of the decline attributed to shifts in pop culture.

The Redditor’s analysis reveals intriguing insights into the rise and fall of these names. Notably, the release of the screwball comedy film “Ernest Goes to Camp” in 1987 is linked to the decline of the name Ernest, which fell out of the top 1,000 in 2019 after a 32-year steady decline.

Here is a snapshot of the list, showcasing the most popular year and the year each name fell out of the top 1,000:

1. Willie – 1946 / 2021

2. Ernest – 1906 / 2019

3. Clarence – 1905 / 2011

4. Elmer – 1901 / 2010

5. Clifford – 1909 / 2006

6. Herbert – 1929 / 2003

7. Herman – 1909 / 2000

8. Chester – 1919 / 1996

9. Claude – 1901 / 1994

10. Bert – 1901 / 1984

‘Ernest,’ once ranking as high as 28th in the nation in 1906, experienced a gradual decline over the years, exiting the top 1,000 in 2019. Similarly, ‘Bert,’ a counterpart to ‘Ernie,’ peaked in 1901 and dropped out of the top 1,000 in 1984.

The study offers a glimpse into the ever-evolving landscape of baby names, where cultural influences and societal shifts play a significant role in shaping naming trends. While these names may have faded into obscurity, they remain a testament to the dynamic nature of naming conventions over time.

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