US vs UK Baby Names: Vive la difference!
Over 50% of names in both the US and England and Wales Top 100 are identical, perfectly showing that were are far more united in our taste in names than we are divided. We share many of the same media and celebrity influences — hello, Mila and Aria — as well being better connected by the global world wide web.
Indeed, many of the highest risers in E&W this year have taken cues from the US: Noah, Jaxon, Carter, Elijah, Harper, Penelope, Evelyn are all recent and rising additions in the UK which are longstanding to American parents. Similarly, the likes of Scarlett, Eleanor, Charlotte, Lydia, Oliver, Henry and Liam — perennial staples in Britain since the 90s — have gained favour in the last decade in the US.
We continue to transport our favourite names back and forth across the pond (after all, one country’s popular favourite is another’s undiscovered gem), looking to each other for fresh-yet-usable inspiration year on year.
However, the differences are equally fascinating as the similarities, demonstrating our unique cultural heritages and differing national viewpoints:
Names in the 2015 US Top 100 only:
Adrian, Aiden, Andrew, Angel, Anthony, Asher, Ayden, Bentley, Brandon, Brayden, Cameron, Carson, Chase, Christian, Christopher, Colton, Cooper, Dominic, Easton, Ezra, Gavin, Grayson, Hudson, Hunter, Ian, Isaiah, Jace, Jason, Jaxson, Jeremiah, John, Jonathan, Jordan, Jose, Josiah, Julian, Kayden, Kevin, Landon, Lincoln, Mateo, Nathaniel, Nicholas, Nolan, Parker, Robert, Ryder, Sawyer, Wyatt, Xavier
Aaliyah, Addison, Alexa, Alexis, Allison, Alyssa, Ariana, Arianna, Ashley, Aubree, Aubrey, Audrey, Aurora, Autumn, Avery, Brianna, Brooklyn, Camila, Caroline, Claire, Cora, Gabriella, Genesis, Gianna, Hailey, Hazel, Katherine, Kaylee, Kennedy, Khloe, Kylie, Lillian, Mackenzie, Madeline, Madelyn, Naomi, Natalie, Nevaeh, Nora, Paisley, Peyton, Piper, Quinn, Reagan, Riley, Sadie, Samantha, Savannah, Serenity, Stella, Taylor, Vivian, Zoey
The overall picture that this US list paints (to British eyes at least) is a slant towards Old Testament names and surnames with a country-western vibe, both of which have been American staples for centuries and are now rising in the UK.
Celtic names (Gavin, Cameron, Ian) and classics (Andrew, Christopher, Robert, Claire, Katherine) that feature in the US Top 100, which were at a height in Britain in the 70s and 80s, have all fallen out of favour since the 1990s.
Names in the 2015 E&W Top 100 only:
Albert, Alex, Alfie, Archie, Arthur, Bobby, Callum, Charlie, Dexter, Edward, Elliot, Elliott, Ellis, Felix, Finley, Frankie, Freddie, Frederick, George, Harley, Harrison, Harry, Harvey, Hugo, Ibrahim, Jake, Jamie, Jenson, Jude, Kian, Leon, Lewis, Louie, Louis, Luca, Max, Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammad, Ollie, Oscar, Reggie, Reuben, Riley, Roman, Ronnie, Rory, Seth, Sonny, Stanley, Teddy, Theo, Toby, Tommy
Aisha, Amber, Amelie, Arabella, Beatrice, Bethany, Daisy, Darcey, Darcie, Darcy, Eliza, Elsie, Emilia, Erin, Esme, Evie, Florence, Francesca, Freya, Georgia, Gracie, Harriet, Heidi, Hollie, Holly, Imogen, Isla, Ivy, Jasmine, Jessica, Katie, Lacey, Lexi, Lilly, Lola, Lottie, Maisie, Maria, Martha, Maryam, Matilda, Megan, Millie, Molly, Nancy, Phoebe, Poppy, Robyn, Rosie, Sara, Sienna, Sophie, Summer, Thea, Willow, Zara
And, then there are the Spanish names in the US versus the Muslim names in the UK which reflect our differing cultural influences.
But what are the most “American” and “British” names?
The highest ranking names in the US which don’t rank at all in the E&W top 1000 are Allison, Camila, Angel and Gavin.
The highest ranking names in E&W which don’t rank in the US top 1000 are Poppy, Florence, Alfie and Archie.
Where the top 1000 is concerned, the American leaning towards -yn(n) endings is curious to Brits. There are 70 -yn(n) endings in the US Top 1000 (boys and girls combined) compared with 15 in England and Wales. The UK on the other hand has a unique disposition for using cutesy hyphenated names such as Ellie–Mae, Lily–Rose, Tommy–Lee and Alfie–James.
Vive la différence!
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on September 27th, 2016 at 11:16 am
I love reading about the differences by country, and this was broken down in an easy-to-read format 🙂
Hope to see more country-to-country comparisons~
on September 27th, 2016 at 2:11 pm
The biggest difference is the names Emma and Jessica. Here in the UK Jessica is a fashionable baby name whilst Emma is a common name for women over thirty. It sounds like it is the other way round in the US.
on September 27th, 2016 at 3:06 pm
“fusty Victorian names” – that’s a bit insulting!
on September 27th, 2016 at 8:48 pm
Really! “Fusty”? As far as I can see we like the same boring old names, but their other names are far more creative – not fusty! – than ours.
Eleanor Nickerson Said
on September 28th, 2016 at 1:13 am
maggiemary — Apologies. I certainly did’t mean it to be insulting. I was simply using the OED meaning for fusty of “Old-fashioned in attitude or style” which, from a US point of view in terms of name style and popularity the likes of Arthur, Florence and Albert are.
on September 28th, 2016 at 9:42 am
To give you an idea of popular names in Britain, I will list some of my year: Hannahx3 Joshuax4 Aliciax2 Alishax2 Ellax2 Charlottex3 Nathanx3 Jackx2 Alexx2 Adamx3 Caitlin/Caitlynx4 Elliex3 Ashley/Ashleighx2 Chanelle/Shannelx2 Leonie/Leonix2 Francescax2 Mohammed/Muhammadx5 Abigale/Abigail/Abbiex3 Danielx3 Jakex2 Oliverx3 Georgiax2 Connorx2 Kylex2 Aaronx2
Other names include Archie, Br1die, Esme, Le1a, Le1la, K@te, K@tie, Jon@than, T0m, Eth@n, Dyl@n, J@den
on September 28th, 2016 at 10:58 am
I was really surprised to see Jessica in the England/Wales top 10. I love it, it’s gorgeous, but it was top 10 in the US during the 1980s and is definitely a mom name here.
on September 28th, 2016 at 10:59 am
A couple others that feel dated in the US are Lacey and Amber.
on September 28th, 2016 at 12:49 pm
But you can’t really compare the popularity of names in England and the U.S… Mostly because the most popular name for girls in England, Amelia, was only given 5,000 baby girls in 2015, or the most popular boys name, Oliver (given to 6,000 baby boys). For the U.S, a whole of a lot more baby girls were given the name Emma. If you look at just how many babies were named certain names, you will find that past around the Top 200 mark for England and Wales the names listed wouldn’t even qualify for the Top 1000 in America. I do love how varied the names are between countries are though! That aside, lovely post.
on September 28th, 2016 at 10:09 pm
Fluffykitten101-The reason the top baby names in England and Wales are given to so many fewer babies is because their population is a fraction of that of the US! The US has around 318 million people and E&W only have around 56 million people. That’s almost six times as many people in the US! If you want to get a sense for how super popular Oliver and Amelia really are, multiply by about 6 to get an idea of what that sort of popularity would look like in the US.
on December 11th, 2016 at 6:28 am
Slight different in the baby names from US and UK. Take a look at various baby names we have on the site http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_english_boyname_cutbert.html
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