Category: popular British names
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.
My previous post on Posh Name in Britain looked at the names most typically associated with the upper class. Uncommon they may be, but if you are to find them anywhere, it’s among England‘s elite. In this second part, I have been busily crunching data to find the names which as most popular among the upper class.
To try to ascertain which are the most popular names among the British upper classes (in England particularly), I have looked to birth announcements in The Times and The Telegraph – two newspapers which are favoured by the elite to announce family births.
And then there are those baby names that are evidence of how wide the gulf is between the British and the American cultures.
We found 29 baby names — 20 for girls and nine for boys — that rank in the current British Top 200 (or so) that do not appear at all in the American Top 1000. (Note: We did skip spelling variations such as Hollie and Isobel.)
And another five Top 200 baby names for girls and nine for boys that are down at the bottom of our Top 1000; in other words, vastly less popular in the US than in the UK.
Yesterday, to launch British Baby 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?
I love the day once a quarter or so that I allow myself to wallow in the London Telegraph birth announcements. Britberries regularly admonish me not to take the names in the Telegraph to mean anything about typical British baby-naming behavior: Those are names chosen by mostly upper class families, they say, and are examples of a rarefied taste.
Point taken, but I still can’t help but be struck by how different many of the names are from what you’d hear in similar stratospheres of American society: on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, say, or in Beverly Hills.
There are dozens of names that are mentioned over and over in the British birth announcements that are nowhere near as fashionable here. But they’re attractive names, traditional yet quirky, excellent choices for any American parent — or British, Australian, or Canadian one, for that matter — who wants to emulate the English upper classes.
Prime examples from the recent crop of British names: