Popular Baby Names Around the World

Popular Baby Names Around the World

By Clare Bristow

This week’s news includes statistics from England, Wales and Israel, names inspired by musicians, title names, and boats.

Top names in England and Wales

If you’d like to know what’s hot in Britain, it’s an exciting week: the baby name data for England and Wales in 2016 has just been released! There’s so much to delve into – they include every name given to 3 or more children, which is a pretty big pool – but here are the headlines.

The top names are the nicely-matched Oliver and Olivia. Oliver is number one for the fourth year running, while Olivia returns to the top spot after five years coming second to Amelia. There’s been very little change in the top 10, just Lily replacing Poppy on the girls’ side and Muhammad replacing William for boys. Big risers in the Top 100 include Luna, Aria and Harper for girls, and Arlo, Reggie and Ezra for boys.

It looks like parents haven’t been put off by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby name picks: both Charlotte and George rose last year, Charlotte by a whopping 13 places after years of gradually falling. Tune in two years from now to find out if their third child’s name gains in popularity too.

Inspiring musicians

Of course, most babies called George won’t be named directly in honor of the young prince – there are so many reasons why parents might choose a classic name. But here’s a story about a name-inspiring George. The late singer George Michael donated money towards this woman’s IVF treatment, and baby Seth Logan George was born a few weeks ago.

You’ll have heard of parents using the surnames of music legends for their kids. Lennon, Presley, Marley and Hendrix are all in the US Top 1000. But have you ever met a Sheeran? It’s never charted in the States, but there’s at least one baby girl with the name out there. Cooper Sheeran’s parents are big fans of the British singer Ed – she’s been listening to his music since before she was born, and got to meet him at a concert when she was one month old.

Can cousins share names?

Going back to Oliver: it’s been popular for so long now that it’s inevitable young Olivers will meet others who share their name. But is it ok for two cousins to be called Oliver? What about if both their siblings share the same name too?

Israel’s most popular names

Elsewhere in the world,
Israel has just released its top baby names of the last year. They’re worth a look if you’re searching for a Hebrew or Arabic name, or an interesting twist on familiar biblical names. The top ten includes Tamar and Avigail for girls, Eitan and Noam for boys.

Top Maori names

New Zealand’s name statistics came out a little while ago, but as a bonus treat we can now see the Top 20 Maori names used in 2016. Some of them will look familiar, but names like Ari, Kai, Maia and Ariana are bona fide Maori names as well as having roots in other languages. The Polynesian name of the moment, Moana, makes the list too.

Grace everywhere

Babies called Grace are hardly a novelty, but as there have been three starbabies with the name in the last few weeks, here’s a little round-up.

In August, reality TV personality Jamie Otis recently welcomed a daughter called Henley Grace. This month, the actress Angelique Cabral called her daughter Adelaide Grace, and Jonny Cash’s son,
John Carter Cash, used Grace June for his daughter. Three ways to wear the name, all of them lovely. Is there any name that doesn’t go with Grace?

Grace was also one of the top names for boats in 2016, according to this survey. This year Serenity tops the list, but after that there aren’t many in the Top 10 that could be used for babies. There’s Freedom, or Ohana, a Hawaiian word for the concept of family (as we learned in Lilo and Stitch). Perhaps Oasis too? If you’re a keen sailor or looking to honor one, you might find more inspiration in these nautical names.

Title names

We know that parents are loving title names at the moment – here are a couple of them to ponder. Emperor is vanishingly rare – it was only given to 5 boys last year. It might sound even more exalted than King or Royal, but the latest video from the Name Dame at Scary Mommy might change how you think about it. It features a sweet little boy called Emperor, who knows his name is powerful.

And will this baby be called Duke? A dad in Florida promised to name his forthcoming baby Duke after an energy company if they got their electricity restored – but the company says they won’t hold him (or his wife) to it.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at clare@nameberry.com