The "Alexa Effect": These baby names are losing popularity in Germany

The "Alexa Effect": These baby names are losing popularity in Germany

Statistics compiled by a first name expert and the Society for the German Language have explored how social developments affect the popularity of first names in Germany - and some names in particular have really lost out in recent years.

Certain names on the decline

Knud Bielefeld, a first name researcher, and the Society for the German Language (GfdS) worked from different data sources to explore how social developments have an effect on the usage of certain first names in Germany. Bielefeld evaluated baby galleries in hospitals, covering around a quarter of all newborns in Germany. The GfdS compiled its statistics from registry offices around the country, covering 90 percent of all given names in Germany.

Their research shows that, since Amazon revealed the name of its virtual assistant Alexa in 2014, the name has fallen significantly in popularity in Germany. Similarly, the name Kevin has become much less popular due to a previous study exploring the prejudices of teachers at primary school against certain first names. “These are all names that were once completely normal and harmless and then fell into disrepute due to social events and were thus spoiled for the parents,” said Bielefeld.

The name Greta was expected to move into the top 10 most popular first names for girls, due to the popularity of Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg. However, in 2019, the name only ranked around the 30th most popular name and initial research from Bielefeld shows that the popularity of the name Greta has fallen drastically in the 2020 ranking.

"In the current sample, it is around 100th place. It is very unusual for a name to change so much in terms of placement within a year," he said.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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