Welcome to Dataspin, a new weekly data visualization of whatever the fuck.
The name Heather exploded on the scene in the late '60s, peaking at No. 3 among baby girls nationwide in 1975. By 2012, it had dropped to No. 708. What the hell happened? And is the 1989 film Heathers—which made the name Heather synonymous with all that is evil about cliquey high school girls—to blame?
Below is a map showing the ranking of the name "Heather" among newborn girls by state, from 1960 to 2005:
"Heather" broke into the top 10 in 1972 and stayed there until 1987 (with a brief dip corresponding to Heather Locklear's rise to fame with Dynasty in 1981). Here's its nationwide rank from 1967-1997:
So did Heathers sink Heather? It's tough to tell. Although the movie technically came out in 1988, it didn't get a U.S. release until 1989, and it didn't really get popular until it was released on VHS later that year. The name Heather, on the other hand, looks like it begins to dip slightly in 1988 before it plummets.
The movie certainly doesn't seem to have helped, though. While the bumper crop of mid-'70s Heathers are still in their 30s, in 40 years Heather will be what Sylvia, Agatha, and Prudence are today: names held by grandmas and grandmas alone.
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