US vs UK Baby Names: Vive la difference!

US vs UK Baby Names: Vive la difference!

Now that the 2015 statistics for England and Wales have finally been released, it’s interesting to take a look at how the British names rankings compare to that of our transatlantic cousins in the US.

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: NoahJaxon, 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 and are considered at best 1990s names.

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

The England and Wales list shows a love for fusty Victorian names, cutesy -ie endings, two syllables and botanical choices.

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!

About the Author

Eleanor Nickerson

Eleanor Nickerson

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to Nameberry message board visitors as Elea, is a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the blog British Baby Names.