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Top 100 Baby Names Showdown!

September 15, 2020 Emma Waterhouse
top 100 baby names

The US and the UK have long enjoyed a “special relationship”, but does that extend to baby names?

Since the British and American name stats were released within two weeks of each other this year (yes, it’s been a busy month for the Berries!) we thought it would be fun to compare and contrast the new Top 100 baby names on either side of the Atlantic.

Let’s crunch the numbers to see how close – or not – British and American name tastes really are!

(Disclaimer: the “British” or “UK” list refers to England and Wales only; Scotland and Northern Ireland publish their baby names data separately. You can find the full Top 1000 for England and Wales here, and the US Top 1000 here.)

Popular Girl Names: US vs UK

The British and American Top 100 lists for girls share 44 names, the highest ranking of which is Olivia (#1 in both regions) and the lowest is Clara (#91 in the UK, #95 in the US).

Six girl names appear in both Top 10s: Olivia, Ava, Sophia, Isabella, Amelia and Mia. And four more names make the Top 20 in both countries: Charlotte, Evelyn, Emily and Ella.

Generally speaking, the names that feature in both Top 100 lists are either timeless classics, like Anna, Eleanor and Elizabeth, or fashionable favorites, like Luna, Harper and Willow. Most shared names rank higher in the US than the UK, and only Olivia (#1) and Ella (#13) occupy the same position on both lists.

That leaves more than half of each list – 56 names! – which are unique to one nation’s Top 100. The highest ranking of these are Camila in the US (#15) and Freya in the UK (#10). A full quarter of the Top 20 names in England and Wales are absent from the US Top 100: Rosie, Evie, Florence and Poppy join Freya as firm British favorites which are yet to make a splash across the pond.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest divergence between the two lists comes in the bottom half of the Top 100. Only ten of the 44 shared names rank between #51-#100 in the US: Isla, Anna, Maya, Ruby, Ivy, Alice, Eva, Sophie, Delilah and Clara.

Girl names that end in -ah or -ee sounds are wildly popular in both regions. In both the US and the UK, -ah ending names make up almost half of the Top 100 girls’ names. Names ending in an -ee sound make up around a quarter of the Top 100 in the US, and almost a third in the UK (we Brits do love our nickname names!) Conversely, there are three times as many girl names ending in the -n sound in the US Top 100 than in the UK.

Interestingly, younger mothers in England and Wales are much closer to American tastes when it comes to baby names. Girl names that make the Top 100 for mothers under the age of 25 in the UK include Nevaeh, Maddison, Skylar, Aaliyah, Paisley, Autumn, Nova and Ariana – all of which feature in the US Top 100 but not in the overall British list.

Popular Boy Names: US vs UK

The British and American Top 100 lists for boys also share 44 names – the same proportion as on the girls’ side. The highest ranking is Oliver (#3 in the US, #1 in the UK) and the lowest is Ryan (#54 in the US, #95 in the UK).

Many shared names are classics, like Joseph, Henry and Charles, but others are popular surname style names like Hudson and Carter, which have quickly risen from relative obscurity in the UK to join the Top 100 in the last five years, but are more established in the US. The vast majority of shared names rank higher in the US than in the UK, and only Henry (#12) is equally popular in both places.

There is much more divergence at the very top of the charts for boys than for girls. Only two boy names appear in both Top 10s: Oliver and Noah. And only four more appear in both Top 20s: William, Henry, Jacob and Jack.

A whopping half of the names in the British Top 20 for boys don’t feature at all in the US Top 100: George, Arthur, Harry, Muhammad, Charlie, Oscar, Freddie, Alfie, Theo and Archie. Conversely, the highest ranking US Top 100 name that doesn’t make the UK list is Aiden, down at #20.

Boy names that end in -n remain hugely popular, especially in the US. Over a third of the Top 100 boy names in the US end in -n, compared to just under a fifth in the UK. Names ending in an -ee or -o sound are particularly popular in the UK, with quirky choices like Teddy and Albie, Arlo and Hugo ranking in the Top 50 there, but below the Top 250 in the US.

Again, younger British parents choose much more “American” style boy names: US Top 100 picks Levi, Kayden, Parker, Dominic, Eli, Jaxson, Kai and Lincoln all make the Top 100 for mothers under 25 in the UK, but not for the wider population.

How Does the Nameberry Top 100 Compare?

Here at Nameberry, we also compile our own popularity chart, based on which names are attracting the most attention from our visitors. It’s updated monthly, which means that it provides a much more up-to-date snapshot of the names parents and name lovers are interested in now.

And names that rank highly on Nameberry often rise up the US charts a few years later – think Amias and Ambrose, Beatrix and Persephone, all of which rank in the Top 150 on Nameberry and entered the US Top 1000 this year.

The Nameberry Top 100 has more girl names in common with the UK than the US (23 vs 16), but more boy names in common with the US than the UK (22 vs 16). Since both the Nameberry and UK lists are generally a good predictor of future US trends, hot names we’re watching include Iris, Elodie, Rose and Ada for girls and Jasper, Arlo, Felix, Finn and Oscar for boys. All are Top 30 picks on Nameberry and Top 100 in the UK, but out of the US Top 100… for now.

Twenty-five girl names and 32 boy names are unique to the Nameberry Top 100. The highest ranking are Maeve (#4) and Milo (#1) and the lowest are Willa (#98) and Rhys (#100). Names that feature in the Nameberry Top 20 but are absent from both the British and American Top 100 lists also include Ophelia, Eloise, Genevieve and Aurelia for girls, and Silas and Atticus for boys.

Other intriguing choices that rank in the Top 100 on Nameberry but not in either the US or the UK include Atlas, Cassius, Soren, Bodhi, Phoenix, Elio, Otis and Gideon for boys, and Adelaide, Astrid, Lilith, Clementine, Seraphina, Cordelia, Saoirse and Wren for girls.

Is your taste in baby names closer to the British, American or Nameberry style? For a fun deep-dive into the British and American Top 100 lists, check out these US vs UK Top 100 quizzes for boy names and girl names, created by @lululemonmee on our Forums!

To read next…

British baby names that never crossed the pond

Hipster British baby names for boys and girls

The real most popular baby names in the US

 

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles

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