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The Name 'Elon' Is Tanking In Popularity

New data from the Social Security Administration shows the baby name Elon is falling in popularity. Earlier this month, the agency released its list of the most popular baby names in the U.S. in 2019, along with broader data about the relative favorability of thousands of other names.

It turns out the name Elon is 13th when it comes to how much its ranking decreased from 2018 to 2019, having dropped 178 spots from No. 940 to No. 1,118. In 2019, 174 newborn boys were named Elon, down from 222 in 2018.

While we can’t know for sure whether the controversial Tesla CEO Elon Musk has anything to do with the name’s drop in popularity, it seems possible that the negative press coverage of the billionaire’s legal issues, attacks on a British rescue diver, workplace practices and more may have contributed to it.

Names of controversial figures often decline in popularity, but not always. 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.

The name Elon peaked in 2018 with its first appearance on the Top 1,000 list after several years of growing use. In 2017, 188 baby boys were named Elon ― up from 139 in 2016; 91 in 2015; 89 in 2014; and 34 in 2013. The drop between 2018 and 2019 may mark the start of a general pattern of decline or end up being an outlier, but we won’t know until the SSA releases its 2020 data next year.

One thing we feel confident saying, however, is that the name of Musk’s youngest son won’t rise to the top of the popularity rankings. In May, he and his partner, Grimes, announced that they had selected the name X Æ A-12 for their newborn.

After California officials noted that state guidelines prohibit numbers in names, the couple tweaked the name to include Roman numerals. But we still don’t foresee X Æ A-Xii making the Top 1,000 list.

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