British Baby Names 2013: The next big things

Eleanor Nickerson, of the wonderful blog British Baby Names, offers her predictions of the names that will succeed today’s trendiest in England and Wales.

The Next Olivia

Olivia was the supreme queen of girls’ names in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in England and Wales, and was only marginally beaten by Amelia to the number 1 spot in 2011. It entered the Top 100 for the first time in the late 1980s, and has been in the Top 10 since 1999. Further down the ranks, Eliza stands at #62.  Like Olivia before, Eliza has not ranked in the Top 100 for a century, but is now steadily rising.

The Next Amelia

Quite a stir was caused earlier this year when it was announced that Amelia was the most popular girls’ name of 2011. In hindsight, we perhaps should have seen it coming, considering its Top 10 status for four years, but Amelia’s rise has not only been steady, it was also stealthy . Look further down the ranks and unassuming Florence (who appears in the illustration with her father, PM David Cameronis following much the same pattern.  After only three years in the Top 100, Florence has quietly risen to #43.

The Next Ruby

Ruby is another name that is no stranger to the top spots, managing to bag the Number 1 spot in 2007, and second place in 2008 and 2009. Its popularity swelled rapidly, thanks in part to characters on popular TV series Cutting It and Eastenders, and Ruby’s sweetly-sassy vintage style.  Similarly styled Lola is the perfect successor, as Ruby (now #7) slowly begins to decline. Lola sits at #31, the same position Ruby occupied in 2004, and it too is rising.

The Next Evie

It’s no secret that Brits love diminutive –ie names. Indeed, they are so well established that many have moved completely away from their pet-name past. Evie, at #11, is the highest ranking girls’ name that still proudly retains its sweet diminutive-style.  Its most likely successor comes in the form of an old Scottish pet-name for Elizabeth.  Elsie was a new entry to the Top 100 last year at #87 and, like Evie, it’s been on a steep incline over the last decade.

The Next Poppy

Floral favourite Poppy has been in the Top 100 in England and Wales for over 15 years. It is now #14, its highest rank to date, and could easily be in the Top 10 soon. Willow was new to the Top 100 in 2011 (rising 37 places to #75) but, given its steep upward curve so far, looks set to storm the top ranks over the next decade.

The Next Isla

Since it hit the Top 100 in 2006, sleek Scottish darling Isla has been a big hit. It’s now at its highest rank of #15, and still rising. Another similar-sounding Scottish gem, Esme (#72), is also on the upswing.

The Next Freya

Freya isn’t British in origin – we shamelessly lifted it from the ancient Norse pantheon – but our shores are where the name flourishes more than in any other country in the world. Last year it was #19, the highest rank of its fourteen years in the Top 100. Like Freya, Maya is an exotic import, also taken from a goddess, which has the same bouncy syllables. It currently ranks at #58, almost the same position as Freya ten years ago.

The Next Alfie

Nine years ago, I remember watching local birth announcements in fascination as Alfie seemed to pop up everywhere. The sudden spike that year (from #49 in 2002 to #17 in 2003) was mostly thanks to a new character on Eastenders, Alfie Moon, putting the name in a prime-time slot. Since then, this happy chap has become a firm favourite in England and Wales, and currently ranks at #4. Equally endearing Bobby has only been in the Top 100 for the last two years but already it’s at #76, and has been noticeably visible in this year’s birth announcements.

The Next Ethan

Ethan (#11) started making waves in Britain in the 1990s, inspired by Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke, and Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible.  Two new celebrity-inspired names entered the Top 100 for the first time in 2010, and both are on a steep upward curve. Jenson (#67) is inspired by British F1 racing driver Jenson Button; Dexter (#78) has been boosted by the US TV series and its use by British celebrities.

The Next Riley

Riley, of all the boys’ names registered in England and Wales, saw the greatest rise in birth count in 2011. It increased by 1,536 births (from #25 to #13 – or #9 with combined spellings); more than double that of the runner up. It’s only been in the Top 100 for seven years, winning hearts with its Irish charm, surname pedigree, and fashionable –ley ending. Fellow Gael Finley (#34) fits the same profile, and it too is on the rise.

The Next Oscar

If you were looking for a name that feels both stately and jovial at the same time, Oscar would be your man. It’s certainly been a big hit in England and Wales over the past decade, rising steadily up from #90 in 2000 to #17 in 2011. Affable Arthur broke into the Top 100 in 2009 and has already reached #68 as he storms up the charts.

The Next Archie

Popular TV series Monarch of the Glen gave a hefty boost to the already rising Archie in 2000; and we Brits fell for its turn-of-the-century charm. A decade later, Victorian favourite Stanley (#80) is new to enjoy an upswing revival since it entered the Top 100 in 2009.

The Next Leo

Leo leapt into the Top 100 in 2002 and has been rising ever since. In 2011 it reached #27: its highest rank to date. Equally sleek Theo is hot on Leo’s heels at #50. It, too, has been continually rising since its debut in 2006. The best contender for their successor is steadily ascending Hugo, currently at #139.

The Next Freddie

Freddie is very much a rising star. Having entered the Top 100 in 2004, it has progressively grown to #42, and has not nearly reached its full potential yet. Another perky choice – Frankie (#84) – shot into the Top 100 for the first time last year and looks set to chase after Freddie’s success. Keep an eye out for Teddy, also. It is #156 at the moment, but is picking up speed rapidly.

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Eleais a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British BabyNames

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13 Responses to “British Baby Names 2013: The next big things”

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bluejuniper Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 2:24 am

I daresay Amelia owed a lot of it’s rise in popularity to Doctor Who favourite companion Amelia (Amy) Pond. I wonder if it will have the same effect with new companion name Clara?

Some fantastic predictions here!

itpbr Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 9:14 am

Ah I should never read the predictions articles! it makes me nervous that some of my favorite names will become too popular to use. In the end I guess it doesn’t matter especially since I’m not having kids anytime soon. Love Florence, Ruby, Dexter, Elsie, Alfie, Poppy and Oscar. Guess I like British names!

pam Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 10:38 am

I’m on vacation but I couldn’t resist checking in to say, Great blog! And spot-on predictions. Thank you, Elea!

emskyrooney Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 10:53 am

We just had an Eliza Rose to go along with our Paul Thomas… Somehow though, it won’t bother me as much if Eliza becomes popular in England as it would if it becomes super popular here in the States…

Dominoms Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 11:37 am

We are using Eliza as a middle name for ate
Baby girl due in feb.

But Esme, Willow and Florence were all contenders for first spot!

LuluBoo Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 11:59 am

I’m British and I’m a teenberry ! I have noticed a lot of popular names at school that are on your list 🙂 I have a suggestion for other teen berries on the site if there could be a section for us or even a blog post about names that we love at the moment or a blog about the next generation and the naming styles. If there is any blog already existing I would love a link !

Elea Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thank-you, Pam!

Jennai Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

A friend of mine is expecting and she is considering Maya Rose or Theo Alexander. She is British.

OliviaJayne Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I’ve recently had my twins Evan and Eliza. We took ages deciding on a girls name and finally settled on Eliza because my husband told me it wasn’t going to be that popular…..I guess be was wrong. I love all of the names you have predicted are so simple, I think I like nearly all of them! Great post!

Annie85 Says:

December 12th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

The only one that concerns me is Eliza, which is on my short-list for a girl. I hope it doesn’t skyrocket in popularity anytime soon before I have a chance at having a little Eliza of my own.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

December 12th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Great article, Elea! Lots of great names to keep an eye on.

Lola, Willow, Maya are zooming up here too, and Florence and Elsie are increasing.

The boys we don’t have as many in common, except that Hugo is already on the Top 100 here. Arthur and Stanley have made modest gains.

This or That? « Waltzing More Than Matilda Says:

December 16th, 2012 at 3:40 am

[…] Elsie – it’s fashionable, increasing steadily in popularity, and Eleanor Nickerson tips it to become the next Evie in the […]

MaryL Says:

January 9th, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I loved reading this article! I’m from the states, and was amused to see my Evie – my oldest – and Eliza – my younger daughter – on the list. And I’ve long thought if we were to have a third girl, Esme would be my top choice! It seems I may have some British roots somewhere!

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