Names Hot in England, Still Outliers Here
By Eleanor Nickerson
What’s hot in England but still outliers in the US?
In many cases, England and America cross over on the lists of rising baby names. The likes of Theodore, Ezra, Evelyn, Willow, Violet, Bella, Luna and Clara are rising pretty equally in both countries. And, while England takes the lead with names like Arlo, Oakley, Elsie, Ivy, Esme, Eliza and Thea, they are also rising not far behind in the US. The same can be said in reverse for Lincoln, Carter, Harper, Penelope, Aria and Aurora in which America leads the way.
This post looks at those select names that are on the rise in England and Wales – possibly set to be the next big thing – and are either going the opposite way in the US or have plateaued below the US Top 300.
Arthur – At #30, Arthur has had a rapid rise since it rejoined the Top 100 in 2009, after falling out from 1954. In the US, by contrast, Arthur ranks at #244 and, though it has seen an improvement since its nadir in 2010, it is still at a lower rank than at its decline in the early 1990s.
Albert / Albie – Like Arthur, Albert was last in the English Top 100 in 1954 and has recently (2013) made a triumphant return to a rising rank of #64. In 2016, diminutive Albie – so similar to top 20 favourite Alfie – has also risen rapidly into the Top 100 at #88. In the US, Albert has, for the most part, stayed below the Top 400 since 2009 having fallen from its Top 100 status in the late 60s. Albie has never ranked in the Top 1000 in America.
Teddy – Since it entered in 2013, Teddy has been on a swift incline, matching that of longer-forms Theodore (#42) and Edward (#23). It currently ranks at #42 and rising. In the US, Teddy declined by the 1990s and now sits outside the Top 1000.
Hugo – Hugo entered the Top 100 in England and Wales in 2012, coinciding nicely with the first series of “structured-reality” TV show Made in Chelsea in 2011, starring dapper Hugo Taylor, and the film Hugo starring Asa Butterfield. It has continued to march up the ranks and is now at #50 in England and Wales. In the US, Hugo has stayed very consistently around the #400 mark since the 1980s.
Reggie / Ronnie – With the English penchant for diminutive names, it is little wonder that both vintage Ronnie and Reggie have followed in the wake of popular favourites Alfie, Archie and Freddie. Reggie entered the Top 100 in 2015 and has rocketed up to #55 – while it is out of the US Top 1000. Ronnie entered in 2013 and now ranks #70. It is #894 in the US but continues to decline.
Florence – This is a bit of a cheat. Florence is rising in the US, but given that it has only just returned to the Top 1000 in 2017 at #980, after being out since 1981, I think the comparison is justified. Florence ranks #20 in England and Wales (#19 in England and #10 in the South West alone) having marched up the Top 100 since it entered it in 2008.
Nancy – Nancy rose up into the Top 100 in England and Wales in 2014 – having been out of the Top 100 since 1934 – and is showing no signs of slowing down, reaching #70 in 2016. In America, Nancy only left the Top 100 in 1979 which explains why it has been declining since and currently ranks at #878.
Lottie – Lottie left the Top 1000 in America in 1960 and hasn’t returned since. In England and Wales – thanks to our love of diminutive names and the longstanding popularity of Charlotte (in the Top 30 since 1984 and Top 10 from 1994-2005) – Lottie has been on an unsurprising rise, reaching the top 100 in England and Wales in 2014 and ranking #72 by 2016.
Beatrice – Joining the Top 100 in England and Wales in 2013, Beatrice has risen to #80 overall in 2016 and is as high as #53 in London. In the US, Beatrice has risen since it returned to the top 1000 in 2000, however in the last three years it seems to have plateaued – in 2017 it ranked #559 as it did in 2016.
Alfred – Alfred has had peaks and troughs since the turn of the 21st century in England, partly thanks to the rise of Alfie. However, its previous peaks never had more than 430 births per year, but it has been notably rising since 2013. It currently ranks at #111 in England and Wales and is set to break into the Top 100 soon. It is already much more popular in the South, ranking #53 in the South West and #89 in the South East. In America, Alfred currently ranks #861.
Ralph – Ralph left the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2012 after having been in the Top 100 from 1900 to 1963. In England and Wales, however, Ralph dropped out after 1944 and is now on a path for a triumphant return. In 2016 it ranked #112 , having risen up 200 places since 2007. It is already in the Top 100 in the East, South East and South West.
Rupert – From our beloved comic strip/animated character Rupert Bear, which has been a British staple since the 1920s, to several dashing actors (Grint, Everett, Friend, Graves, Penry-Jones…) Rupert feels quintessentially English. It is on a steep upward curve – rising from #360 in 2010 to #136 by 2016 – and is already #73 in the South West.
In America, Rupert has never ranked in the Top 1000 since 1900.
Rex – Kingly Rex – once used as a nickname for Reginald – has seen a massive rise to #173 in England and Wales since its rank of #625 in 2010. It is already #100 in the South West.
In the US, Rex has plateaued just below the Top 600 since 2011.
Wilfred – Anglo-Saxon Wilfred was a Top 100 favourite from 1870 until 1944 in England and Wales and is now enjoying a revival. It entered the Top 500 in 2008 and in 2016 had risen to #183. It already ranks significantly higher in the South of England. In the US, Wilfred never ranked higher than its peak of #164 in 1917 and left the Top 1000 after 1984.
Orla – Pretty Irish Orla has been gaining attention in England and Wales, having entered the Top 200 in 2009, and now ranks #107. It has yet to reach American shores in any great numbers and remains outside the Top 1000.
Bonnie – Now at #114 in England and Wales, and in the Top 100 already in the East, South East and South West, Bonnie is enjoying a steep upward curve. In the US, Bonnie had been on a steady decline since the 1950s, leaving the Top 1000 after 2003. It returned again in 2014 and has begun to rise to #697 as of 2017.
Pippa – This traditional English nickname for Philippa was making a gentle rise from 2003 to 2010 (#607 – #365) in England and Wales, and then took a steep jump upward in 2011 with the royal wedding and Pippa Middleton’s overnight fame as the world’s most notable bridesmaid. Since then it has continued to make gains to #127 in 2016, and is already #76 in the North West. In contrast, Pippa has never ranked within the Top 1000 in America.
Hallie – In the space of three years, Hallie has gone from #273 to #144 in England and Wales and ranks in the Top 80 in the North East, North West and Wales. Halle (at #254) is also modestly rising. In America, Hallie has plateaued around the #550 mark, and Halle has been on a sharp decline down to #957 in 2017.
Edie – Traditional Anglo-Saxon and Victorian staple Edith is rising in both England and America (#101 in EW and #476 in the US) and is about to break the Top 100 here. Diminutive form Edie is also finding favour with English parents – #134 overall and rising, and #84 in Yorkshire – while it hasn’t been in the US Top 1000 since 1965.
Marnie – Retro Marnie had small use in the 19th century but didn’t get wider attention until the 1960s with Winston Graham‘s 1961 novel Marnie which Hitchcock made into a film in 1964. Even then, its was limited in England and Wales, and it never saw much use above the Top 500 up until 2013, after which it jumped 200 places to #293. Thanks to a spate of celebrity births, Marnie has risen to #147 in 2016 and is already in the Top 100 in Wales. In America, Marnie has been outside the Top 1000 since 1978.
Elodie – This chic French staple has risen in England and Wales from #772 in 2005 all the way to #166 in 2016. It ranks significantly higher in some areas and is set to join their Top 100 soon.
In contrast, Elodie has never ranked above the top 1000 in the US.
Beatrix – Like Beatrice (now in the Top 100), sister-name Beatrix is on a steep upward curve in England and Wales. Back in 2000, it was below the Top 1000 and now ranks at #168 nationally and above the Top #130 in the South. Beatrix has never ranked above the US top 1000.
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on July 27th, 2018 at 5:35 am
LOVE Wilfred and Rupert! So many wonderful names in this blog that put a smile on my face 🙂
on July 28th, 2018 at 2:59 am
I love Alfred and Wilfred!
on July 30th, 2018 at 10:09 am
Isn’t Ralph pronounced differently in the US and the UK. In the US, it’s RALF, and in the UK it’s RAFE, like Ralph Fiennes? If so, that seems like an unfair comparison.
Of this list, I love Arthur, Teddy (though only as a nickname), Beatrice, Edie, and Beatrix.
Eleanor Nickerson Said
on August 1st, 2018 at 2:14 pm
@thesilenceinbetween Traditionally, Ralph is pronounced as both RALF and RAFE in Britain. Back in the early Middle Ages evidence suggests it was something like RAWF. However, during the “Great Vowel Shift” between 1350-1600 split the North and South of the British Isles between RALF and RAFE respectively. Nowadays the RAFE pronunciation is largely confined to the upper classes here. Everyone else uses RALF.
You can find more information here: http://www.britishbabynames.com/blog/2017/04/ralph.html
on August 1st, 2018 at 3:23 pm
I could see Hugo catching on here in the US. It seems to fit with the sorts of names people are using now. I could also see Elodie gaining, though probably not top 100. It seems like an easy alternative to the increasingly popular Eloise.
It’s interesting how distinctly British (or dated) most of the other names seem. I can’t imagine anyone I know naming their kid Albert or Florence.
on September 19th, 2018 at 3:22 am
I’m Australian and would gladly name both my children Albert and Florence, but the other half isn’t convinced!
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