Karen, Donald set to go extinct as baby names in the UK in 2023

Be on the lookout for some interesting baby names, though you might be hard pressed to find any Karens or Donalds in the UK.

Babies (Illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Babies (Illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Two of the most notable names in the English-speaking world - Karen and Donald -  seem set to go extinct as baby names in the UK within the next generation, according to online resource BabyCentre UK.

This surprising fact was discovered thanks to a careful analysis conducted by the site's baby name experts, when analyzing which names seem set to go extinct, with few to no babies in 2023 expected to be bequeathed these names.

According to the database, just one baby with the name Karen was registered in the UK in 2022, compared to four a year prior. Likewise, only one boy was registered with the name Donald, down from six in 2021.

But Karen and Donald aside, a number of names seem to have already gone extinct in the UK, and are thus considered endangered.

 Illustrative image of a baby. (credit: PXHERE) Illustrative image of a baby. (credit: PXHERE)

Which baby names are endangered in the UK?

The list of baby names predicted to go extinct in the UK in 2023, according to the BabyCentre database, are as follows.

Names for girls:

  • Barbie
  • Gail
  • Farrah
  • Deirdre
  • Carrie
  • Britney
  • Tegan
  • Kelly
  • Gayatri
  • Linsey
  • Shania
  • Sheila
  • Katrina
  • Stacey
  • Kelly

Names for boys:

  • Giles
  • Cliff
  • Brent
  • Clement 
  • Saul
  • Rashid
  • Maximilian
  • Harold
  • Bill
  • Nigel
  • Baxter
  • Wallace
  • Rhett
  • Kamran

All of these names had zero uses as new baby names in the UK in 2022, according to BabyCentre.

So why did these all fall out of fashion?

The reason, it seems, varies between male and female names.

Regarding names for girls, the names that have seemingly already died out are those that have what BabyCentre describes as a "70s and 80s American vibe."

For boys, however, the declining names seem to be what BabyCentre calls "old-fashioned gentlemen names."

Why have the names Karen and Donald fallen out of fashion?

The two of them were not included on the above list, but they're still teetering on the edge, with just one Karen and Donald each registered in the UK in 2022.

Each has its own specific reason.

For Karen, it is theorized that the name, once widely popular, has become heavily stigmatized. The name has become a slang label for stereotypical upper to upper-middle-class entitled white women. Indeed, the label of "a Karen" has been slapped on untold millions of memes and stories throughout the world, often accompanied by the image of a white woman with short blonde hair shrieking the phrase "I'd like to speak to the manager!"

This meme of the "Karen" label has seen continuous growth, so it may be no wonder that the name has dropped to just one new registration in the UK in the last year.

Donald, however, is a different story. This name was once widely popular and was even used to mark one of the most iconic fictional characters in human history, Disney's iconic pants-less mallard Donald Duck

And yet, despite six new Donalds being registered in the UK in 2021, there was just one in 2022. 

The reason, according to BabyCentre, might be due to the name Donald being attached to another world-famous figure, albeit one with a far more controversial reputation: Former US president Donald Trump.

Former US President Donald Trump makes a fist while reacting to applause after speaking at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina, US June 5, 2021.  (credit: JONATHAN DRAKE / REUTERS)Former US President Donald Trump makes a fist while reacting to applause after speaking at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina, US June 5, 2021. (credit: JONATHAN DRAKE / REUTERS)

It should be noted that there is another name that is in danger of going extinct in the UK too: Piers. 

BabyCentre cites one possibility for this decline being controversial British TV personality Piers Morgan, who infamously walked off the set of his show Good Morning Britain amid an argument regarding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. 

What baby names are predicted to be popular in the UK in 2023?

Baby name site Nameberry has put together a list of 23 names they predict will see a significant upsurge in the coming year. 

The top ten names are as follows:

  1. Alden (Likely for boys but could also be used for girls)
  2. Archie
  3. Billie
  4. Breland
  5. Celeste
  6. Cosmo
  7. Elio
  8. Everest
  9. Halston (Unisex)
  10. Jolene

Following the top 10, the names occupying slots 11-20 are as follows:

  1. Linus
  2. Louise
  3. Luxury
  4. Marigold
  5. Noah (for women especially, predicted to overtake Noa)
  6. Omri
  7. Romy
  8. Rose
  9. Sayer
  10. Sunday

In 2021, there were around 624,828 live births in England and Wales, and 47,786 in Scotland. 

It is unclear what those numbers will be for 2022, never mind what they will be in 2023, but regardless, be on the lookout for some interesting baby names, although you might be hard-pressed to find any Karens or Donalds around.