WASHINGTON – As baby names go, Katrina isn’t in vogue these days. But she hasn’t disappeared either.
From its peak in the 1980s – when it regularly ranked among the 100 most popular names that parents chose for their daughters – it had gradually slumped to 247th by 2005, even before Hurricane Katrina smashed the Gulf Coast in late summer of that year.
The name’s association with the catastrophe has now knocked it out of consideration for most parents, sinking its popularity to the lowest ebb since the 1950s.
Only about 850 baby girls in the United States were named Katrina last year, according to new data released Friday by the Social Security Administration, dropping it more than 100 slots on the popularity list. At a rank of 382nd, it now sits just below Brenna.
Ironically, the two states that suffered most of Katrina’s wrath bucked the trend, if only in small numbers. In Louisiana, the number of babies named Katrina jumped from eight in the 12 months before the storm to 15 in the 12 months after, according to state health officials.
In Mississippi, seven babies were given the name from 2004 until the storm hit in August 2005, according to state data. The number climbed to 24 from September 2005 through the end of 2006.
Overall, the country’s most popular names list hasn’t changed much since 2005. Emily and Jacob remain atop the list. Emily has been the top girls’ name since 1996; Jacob for boys since 1999.
The Social Security Administration’s rankings, released each year just before Mother’s Day, are based on some 4.2 million Social Security card applications from 2006.
Social Security began compiling the name lists in 1997. The agency offers lists of baby names for each year since 1880 on its Web site: www.socialsecurity.gov.