British Baby Names: Anglo-American Relations

British Baby Names: Anglo-American Relations

Yesterday, to launch British Names Week on Nameberry, Eleanor Nickerson identified the five strongest current naming trends in the UK. 

Today we zero in on the popularity of individual names on both sides of the Atlantic, seeing which names have shared success and which haven’t.

We Yanks sometimes tend to have a bit of an inferiority complex, feeling that the Brits are a step or two ahead of us in both trends and specific names, although it is something of a two-way street, when you consider that a strictly American name like Jayden has found its way onto the UK Top 30, and Madison is in the Top 70.

So just how close are the two cultures when it comes to name popularity?

Looking first at the comparative Top 10s (bearing in mind that the latest popular British names figures are for 2010 and the US for 2011), we see that there are only three girls’ names in common—Olivia, Emily and Chloe, and only one on both boys’ lists—the classic, royal William:


The UK versus the US, the Brits on the left, Americans on the right:

Olivia (#4 in US)— Sophia (#27 in UK)

Sophie (51)—           Isabella (12)

Emily (6)— Emma (48)

Lily (15)—                  Olivia (1)

Amelia (30)— Ava (11)

Jessica (120)—        Emily (3)

Ruby (109)—             Abigail (34)

Chloe (10)—              Madison (67)

Grace (16)—              Mia (13)

Evie (644)— Chloe (8)


The UK vs the US–British Top 10 on the left, US on the right:

Oliver (78)——––Jacob (12)

Jack (45)———-– Mason (46)

Harry (709)——-William (7)

Alfie (0)———— Jayden (26)

Charlie (236)——Noah (18)

Thomas (63)——Michael (53)

William (3)——–Ethan (13)

Joshua (14)——–Alexander (21)

George (165)—— Aiden (66)

James (17)———Daniel (11)

Looking at the latest England–Wales stats for the Top 100 British boy names, 47 of them are also in the US Top 100; for the girls, only 39 are in both Top 100s.  When it comes to how many Top 100 British girl names were in the US Top 1000, the list swells to 95 for boys, 88 for girls.

So what were these five boy names that were so popular in Britain but didn’t rank at all on the other side of the pond?  Four of the five are nickname names, and most have national cultural references unfamiliar in the US. They are:

Alfie  (#4 in the UK, where Alfie Moon is along-running popular character on the soap EastEnders)

Archie (#24, also an EastEnders character)

Ollie (63)—could be tied to Olly Murs, a hit on The XFactor in 2009.

Louie (74)—possibly from Louie Spence, a dancer/TV personality

Jenson (96)– Jenson Button  is a high profile English Formula 1 championship racing driver

Now, turning to the girls’ side, what were those 12 high-ranking British names that never got on the US list at all?

They are:

Maisie (14 in the UK)

Poppy (16)

Freya (19)

Imogen (26)

Florence (54)

Rosie (59)

Hollie (69)

Isobel (75)

Niamh (78)

Harriet (86)

Tilly (88)

Maisy (100)

But, supporting the Brits-are-ahead-of-us theory, a number of those names above are in line to make the US list before long.

And, finally, here are some more names that show a marked disparity between the two cultures.


Holly–#25 in the UK, 426 in the US

Matilda–#53 in the UK, 769 in the US

Amelie–#55 in the UK, 695 in the US

Esme–#74 in the UK, 981 in the US

Zara–#76 in the UK, 643 in the US

Tia–#79 in the UK, 917 in the US

Aimee–#80 in the UK, 680 in the US

Martha–#85 in the UK, 772 in the US

Libby–#98 in the UK, 922 in the US

Maryam–#99 in the UK, 767 in the US

BOYS (apart from the various spellings of Mohammed)

Harry–#3 in the UK, 709 in the US

Lewis–#27 in the UK, 633 in the US

Callum–#40 in the UK, 837 in the US

Freddie–#45 in the UK, 977 in the US

Harvey–#47 in the UK, 862 in the US

Theo–#50 in the UK, 867 in the US

Toby–#54 in the UK, 771 in the US

Harley–#57 in the UK, 647 in the US

Reuben–#71 in the UK, 942 in the US

Kian–#72 in the UK, 602 iun the US

Bobby–#83 in the UK, 688 in the US

Stanley–#88 in the UK, 674 in the US

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.