There were usually three of them. Michael J, Michael K and Michael W.
The poor boys all wanted to be the only Michael in class but anyone who went to school in the 90s will tell you that just wasn’t possible.
The name was as common as Weetbix for breakfast. But now, it’s going out of fashion.
Numbers out of the US show that last year only 14,000 baby boys were named ‘Michael’. This is the lowest amount of Michaels to enter the world in the duration of a year since 1940.
A similar trend can be seen here in Australia.
Between the 1950s and the 1990s Michael was in the top 10 – usually the top five, even the top three – of names given to baby boys in Australia. In 2000, this ranking dropped to 17 and, in 2016, well… ‘Michael’ didn’t even make the top 50.
Listen: The Bump podcast on the complexities and politics of ‘shotgunning’ baby names. Post continues below.
See, new parents are trying to be cool.
New parents don’t want their kid to be one-of-three in a primary school class. They don’t want to yell Michael W when calling their son from the school yard (that’s three extra syllables and the wind is always too strong to carry it). So parents are opting for something more modern and edgy and unusual than the sturdy, trusted, established, biblical ‘Michael’.
But this is a mistake. And the trend is concerning — just look at the evidence.
During the 44 years prior to 2000, Michael was topping the list of popular boys names every. single. year.
Since 2000, with fewer Michaels entering the world, we’ve seen house prices rise dramatically; the climate freak out and cause countless natural disasters; and Australians losing their ability to decide on a steady Prime Minister.
If you need more rock-solid evidence, look to the two years with the fewest amount of Michaels born:
1940 saw the escalation of the Second Word War.
2016 saw many concerning events occur despite all the experts saying they were impossible. (Cough: Brexit. Cough: Donald Trump).
There's only one positive in this dire situation. I, like many, never know which way the 'a' and the 'e' are meant to go when writing or typing the name 'Michael'.
At least we will be able to spell all the trendy, modern, edgy names going forward (they seemed to be filled with consonants or named after inanimate objects).
Even if this does mean going forward into our Michael-less demise.