The Australian Top 100 just came out, not long after the US data. One small difference is that we count variant spellings as the same name, although only a few names with more than one dominant spelling actually make the Top 100. It’s interesting to see what makes a name rise in popularity, and the international trends at work.
Aurora joined the Top 100 in 2015 and was the fastest-rising girl’s name in the country, going up at least 23 places to make #78. Princess Aurora is the name of the Sleeping Beauty in the 1959 Disney film, and the name received fresh attention after the 2014 film Maleficent, a revisionist re-telling of the fairy tale; Princess Aurora was played by Elle Fanning. A golden name associated with true love’s kiss, Aurora shares a similar sound with popular Aria, #79 and rising in the US, Aurora is popular in New Zealand, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and Norway, and climbing in the UK.
Billie was another Top 100 debut last year, gaining at least 19 places to make #82. Billie first charted in the 1930s and 40s, and rejoined the charts in the 1970s. It has been zooming up since 2010, when the hit TV series Offspring first screened, with Kat Stewart as straight-talking big sister Billie Proudman. This name fits in with the trend for retro short forms like Ellie; it is only a success story in Australia, so has local appeal.
Penelope was one of the fastest-rising names of 2013 when it rejoined the Top 100 that year, and in 2015 rose 17 places to #62. Chosen by a number of celebrities for their babies, this is a name with star power. #34 and rising in the US, Penelope is popular in New Zealand and only just outside the Top 100 in the UK.
Piper has been solidly on the Top 100 since 2008, rising after the TV series Charmed, with Holly–Marie Combs as sensible sister Piper Halliwell. Last year it rose 17 places to #49, joining the Top 50. The name was boosted by women’s prison drama Orange is the New Black, starring Taylor Schilling as upmarket drug smuggler Piper Chapman. Number 68 and rising in the US, Piper is popular in New Zealand and rising in the UK.
Eve was last on the Top 100 in 2013, and after a year away returned in 2015, rising at least 14 places to #87. In 2014 Evelyn was one of the fastest rising names, and it is no surprise that clean, stripped-back Eve has taken its place. Fitting in with short V-sound names like Ava and Ivy, Eve is a natural choice for someone wanting the nickname Evie. Apart from Australia, Eve is only popular in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland – it’s used to Anglicise the Irish name Aoife, giving it another layer of meaning.
Harvey debuted in the Top 100 last year, and was one of the top rising names of 2014. In 2015 it did even better, becoming the fastest rising boy’s name in Australia, rising 31 places to reach #53. Harvey benefits both from the fashionable V sound, as in Oliver, and the AR sound found in names such as Archer. Harvey also joined the Top 100 in New Zealand last year, and has been popular in the UK for many years where it is #48, although it is rising in the US.
Theodore was another Top 100 debut of 2014, and last year made significant gains, rising 30 places to #66. Among its many attractions are the nicknames Theo and Ted, already gaining in popularity as independent names – Teddy cannot be far behind, and even Bear is a possible nickname. #99 and rising in the US, Theodore is also popular and rising in New Zealand, and the UK, where it is #59.
Nathaniel debuted in the Top 100 of 2013, and was one of that year’s fastest rising names. While it fell significantly the following year, Nathaniel has bounced back, rising 20 places to #80. Nathaniel has been popular in the US since the 1970s, and is now #97 and falling, so we seem to be catching up just as they prepare to let go of it.
Beau has been in the Top 100 since the 1980s, so is an old favourite here, although it has never become very popular. Nonetheless it had a surprise jump in 2015, going up 19 places to #61. Beau is only popular in Australia and New Zealand, but is rising in the US.
Carter debuted in the Top 100 in 2014, and last year went up to 19 places to #79. Surnames are on trend, and Carter has that fashionable AR sound shared with Harvey. #24 and rising in the US, Carter is already popular in New Zealand and Northern Ireland, and rising fast in the UK.