Over 50% of names in both the US and England and Wales Top 100 are identical, perfectly showing that were are far more united in our taste in names than we are divided. We share many of the same media and celebrity influences — hello, Mila and Aria — as well being better connected by the global world wide web.
Indeed, many of the highest risers in E&W this year have taken cues from the US: Noah, Jaxon, Carter, Elijah, Harper, Penelope, Evelyn are all recent and rising additions in the UK which are longstanding to American parents. Similarly, the likes of Scarlett, Eleanor, Charlotte, Lydia, Oliver, Henry and Liam — perennial staples in Britain since the 90s — have gained favour in the last decade in the US.
We continue to transport our favourite names back and forth across the pond (after all, one country’s popular favourite is another’s undiscovered gem), looking to each other for fresh-yet-usable inspiration year on year.
However, the differences are equally fascinating as the similarities, demonstrating our unique cultural heritages and differing national viewpoints:
The first time I visited Cornwall was at the tender age of one. Sadly, my dad’s abiding memory of that holiday was a grouching baby grizzling all through his long-awaited sailing trip (something he has yet to fully forgive me for to this day). A few years later my parents bravely returned again, one more child in tow, and fortunately much fun and sandcastle-building ensued.
It wasn’t until several years later when I returned to the region as a fifteen year-old that I was truly able to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of the Cornish coast and countryside. In the intervening years since my last visit I had developed an avid, border-line obsessive, passion for names and their meanings. What struck me was that many houses were named instead of numbered, and these place names, along with those adorning road signs, quickly caught my attention both due to the foreign sound to English ears, and the similarity to my greatest name-love: Welsh names.