Baby Name News from Around the Globe

Baby Name News from Around the Globe

T__his week’s news includes the latest name data from Denmark, surprising stats from France, and a defense of the delightfully… well, ordinary.

What’s Hot with Danish Names?

Juhu! Denmark’s office for national statistics has released its annual baby name data for 2017! Here you can see the top 50 names given to boys and girls born last year, together with the total number of babies receiving each name, and the 2016 rankings for comparison.

And while the top 5 or so names for each gender come as little surprise (think Emma, Ella, Sofia; William, Noah and Lucas), there are some little-known gems further down the list — like nature names Lærke, Mynte and Storm, or rejuvenated antiques like Malthe, Villads and Asger.

What’s in a prénom?

Well, rather a lot, actually, according to French sociologist Baptiste Coulmont. He’s produced two fascinating infographics showing the names of students most likely to receive an outstanding grade in the baccalauréat exams, taken at the end of high school.

And the results are striking! Girls named Garance, Héloïse or Apolline were over four times as likely to receive the top grade than those named Kelly, Sonia or Océane. And boys with the classic French appellations Grégoire, Augustin and Théophile bested those named Ryan, Steven and Mohamed by the same margin.

There’s even a link to baby name trends: students whose name is currently fashionable were significantly more likely to achieve a top grade than those with “dated” 80s or 90s-era names. Hands up who’d love to see the breakdown for other countries, too!

Royal Ruminations

On the back of the royal wedding and the recent births of Prince Louis of Cambridge and Lena Tindall, royal baby name fever is rife right now.

As Princess Diana’s biographer reveals what William and Harry might have been called, had Prince Charles got his way, Nameberry’s very own Pam gives some glorious predictions for a future Sussex baby — yes please to Princess Dorothea! Can you see the newest royal couple using any of these?

Celebrity Baby Receives “Normal” Name

Shock, I know!! Congratulations are in order for Jinger Duggar Vuolo and her husband Jeremy, who welcomed daughter Felicity Nicole this week.

Felicity is a sweet and lively vintage choice which has been rising rapidly up the rankings in recent years, currently sitting pretty in the popularity “sweet spot” at #347 in the US. But at #97 in England & Wales and #134 on Nameberry, we can see this one entering the mainstream pretty soon.

Coupled with popular 80s pick Nicole (it’s also mom Jinger’s middle name), it makes for a surprisingly… well, normal name choice for the family that gave us Jinger, Joy–Anna, Jedidiah, and — more recently — Spurgeon.

Could this be part of a trend back towards “basic” baby names among celebrity parents? Or do famous families who choose normal names just not make the headlines in the same way? Case in point: this list of fashion-forward celebrity parents who chose fabulously understated names for their kids. How many did you know?

Curiouser and Curiouser…

On the flipside, it’s no secret that ever-increasing numbers of children are receiving ever more unique baby names. Whether you credit celebrity influence, our insatiable modern desire for individuality, or simply the mass of instantaneous data that today’s new parents have access to, this certainly looks like one trend that’s here to stay.

An extreme example of popularity angst that surfaced this week was that of a British mum who is considering changing her daughter’s name (Esmée), because she didn’t realise how popular it was when she picked it. So far, so fair… but the catch? The child in question is four and about to start school!

Elsewhere in UK name news, check out some of the truly unique choices in this month’s roundup of British birth announcements from Elea at British Baby Names: girls named Pipper and Finetta, and baby boys dubbed Camhanaich, Euripides, and Todhunter.

And why not, when it turns out that even the most ordinary names can divide the crowd?

Rebirth, Redemption, and a Beautiful Baby Name

Popular or unique, most Berries agree that you can’t beat a name with personal significance. And it doesn’t get much more meaningful than the name Rachel Denhollander chose for her new baby girl, Elora Renee Joy.

Denhollander, who was the first person to publicly accuse former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse, explained the significance of the name in a touching tweet:

“Elora – to God belongs the victory. Renee – Rebirth, redemption. And after Dt. Lt. Andrea Renee Munford, who fought for us and made redeeming so much evil, possible.”

And Joy, presumably, needs no explanation.

Our thanks to Katinka for filling in for Clare, who is off leading a charitable expedition to Malawi.

About the Author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from the top baby name trends 2023 to how not to choose the next big baby name. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking.

Emma's articles on names and naming trends have been featured in publications including the Huffington Post, People, Today's Parent, Fatherly, and Good Housekeeping.

A linguist by background, Emma speaks several languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and four young children. You can reach her at