Arthur, Ada, Muhammad & More: The U.K.’s Top Baby Names Revealed

Written by Erin Feher
12:56 pm
09/05/19

The most popular names of U.S. babies is something we chronicle often. So, we thought, why not take a look across the pond? Especially since the list of top baby names for England and Wales just came out late last week.

At first glance, the monikers favored by parents on the other side of the Atlantic may not seem dramatically different from their American counterparts—Oliver and Olivia have both enjoyed the number one spot, six and three years running, respectively—but, if you know anything about pop culture in the U.K., you’ll likely spot the influence of their favorite celebs (royalty) and T.V. shows (period crime dramas), as well as some hints of changing demographics.

According to the recent baby name stats released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the monikers Arthur and Ada saw a major bump in the past year—Arthur surged into the top 10 boys’ names for the first time since the 1920s, and Ada jumped into the girls’ top 100 for the first time in a century, too. Statisticians suspect the BBC drama Peaky Blinders has something to do with it. Arthur and Ada are key members of the Shelby family featured in the wildly popular series.

Meanwhile, Brits’ favored celebs—a.k.a. members of the royal family—continue to crowd the top ten name lists. George and Harry placed at number two and three respectively. And the name Meghan doubled in popularity in 2018 compared with the year before, coinciding with the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were 101 babies given the name compared with 49 the year before, making it the 431st most popular name for girls. The popularity bump of anything associated with the Duchess has become known as the “Markle Sparkle.”

Other high-profile British babes who have influenced naming trends include David and Victoria Beckham’s daughter Harper. The name has enjoyed a steady ascent since mini Posh was born in 2011. Harper is now the 27th most popular name for girls.

And while the overall list combines naming trends in England and Wales, the stats also look at name popularity in smaller regions. In four English regions—the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, and London—more babies were named Muhammad than the reigning number one name for boys, Oliver. And many suspect that the reason Muhammad didn’t claim the number one spot overall was because of the variety of spellings—the ONS does not add together names with different spellings. Experts say considering various spellings would result in a completely different list.

“Adding up all the different ways of spelling Oliver last year, for example, including shortened versions such as Ollie, would have pipped all the Muhammads,” said statistician Nick Stripe. “You can try the same with all the Harrys, Harrises, and Harrisons. Some might even want to add in all the Henrys as well. Prince Harry is called Henry, after all.”

Check out the top 25 for each sex in England and Wales below, and click over to ONS to read the full report.

Here are the top 25 baby names for girls : 

  1. Olivia
  2. Amelia
  3. Ava
  4. Isla
  5. Emily
  6. Mia
  7. Isabella
  8. Sophia
  9. Ella
  10. Grace
  11. Poppy
  12. Charlotte
  13. Lily
  14. Ivy
  15. Florence
  16. Evie
  17. Sophie
  18. Freya
  19. Evelyn
  20. Willow
  21. Phoebe
  22. Elsie
  23. Sienna
  24. Alice
  25. Jessica

Here are the top 25 baby names for boys in England and Wales in 2018:

  1. Oliver
  2. George
  3. Harry
  4. Noah
  5. Jack
  6. Leo
  7. Arthur
  8. Muhammad
  9. Oscar
  10. Charlie
  11. Jacob
  12. Thomas
  13. Henry
  14. William
  15. Alfie
  16. Archie
  17. Joshua
  18. Freddie
  19. Theo
  20. Isaac
  21. James
  22. Alexander
  23. Logan
  24. Edward
  25. Ethan

For more baby-name entertainment, check out the Most Popular U.S. Baby Names of 2019Game of Thrones-Inspired Baby Names, and our Global Baby Names list.

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