You are here
Home > Science Blog > The Baby Name Harvey Is Tanking In Popularity

The Baby Name Harvey Is Tanking In Popularity

New data from the Social Security Administration shows the baby name Harvey is falling in popularity. On Friday, the SSA released its list of the most popular baby names in the U.S. in 2018, along with broader data about the relative favorability of thousands of other names.

The data shows that the name Harvey dropped from No. 382 to No. 444, a rather dramatic fall given its upward trajectory in recent years.

According to the SSA, the name peaked in popularity in 1906 at No. 72 in the U.S. It declined from there and disappeared from the Top 1,000 names list around the new millennium. However in 2011, Harvey reappeared on the list, and year after year, rose in popularity.

But in 2018, 677 newborn boys were named Harvey, compared with 851 in 2017.

This decline may not come as a big surprise to people who keep up with the news cycle. The name Harvey was associated with two highly publicized news stories in the second half of 2017: the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey and the mounting sexual assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

The name Harvey was on the rise prior to the major news events of 2017. 

The name Harvey was on the rise prior to the major news events of 2017. 

Hurricanes have affected baby name trends in the past. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States in 2005, the name Katrina dropped in popularity (though interestingly, names beginning with the letter K increased).

Names of controversial figures also often decline in popularity, which is why there aren’t many preschoolers named Adolf running around these days. But names with bad associations don’t always fall into obscurity.

In fact, Cleveland K. Evans, a Bellevue University psychology professor and former president of the American Name Society, told The Associated Press in 2007 that publicity around a particular name, whether positive or negative, usually boosts its popularity .

While Harvey may not be destined to go the way of Katrina or Isis, it seems unlikely to be a favorable choice for at least the next few years.

Leave a Reply