Babynames.co.uk has published its figures for popular baby names for the first part of 2014. Some familiar picks still sit proudly in the top 10 including Amelia, Olivia, Ava and Isla for the girls, and Harry, Oliver, Jacob and Alfie for the boys. As is often the case, trends lean towards names popular amongst our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations, but more notable are the number of people lifting names from the pages of fictional novels and the faces of the big screen.
‘Popular culture has always had some bearing over people’s choices of baby names’ said Siobhan Thomas, senior editor from babynames.co.uk, ‘The names Esme and Dexter are good examples of this, with neither having been popular in the UK before they were made famous by film and television over recent years’. Esme Cullen is a character in the Twilight Saga, and Dexter is the name of the main character in a US TV show by the same name. Both the Twilight Saga and Dexter have seen soaring popularity over the last few years, and this year the names Esme and Dexter have burst into our Top 40 from out of nowhere.
Elsa is also a new entry in the babynames.co.uk charts. ‘The phenomenal success of the Disney film Frozen has undoubtedly played a part in bringing this name to the attention of people looking for baby name ideas this year’ said Siobhan.
Other surprises in the girls’ top 40 include Aurora and Luna – both characters in the Harry Potter series. ‘Whilst those who chose such names might not attribute the name to the fictional character, the exposure of these names via such big productions helps people to feel familiar with them and often sows the seed of an idea.’ Siobhan from babynames.co.uk says that the time lag between the release of these major productions and the use of the characters’ names amongst the public is logical – ‘A lot of the fans of these shows are quite young, and their own children don’t arrive for a few years after the initial hype.’
Nathaniel is a surprise entry at number 24, its shortened form ‘Nathan’ has been popular for many years but this is the first time the full name has made it into the Top 100.
Names from a bygone era that were popular again last year – such as Evie and Alfie – are being joined by more old fashioned names such as Archie and Arthur, Evelyn and Elsie.
‘As the pool of names continues to increase, we’re seeing greater movement in the charts now than ever before’ said Siobhan. ‘25% of the names in our Girls’ Top 40 list at this stage last year have dropped out –including Charlie, Sienna and Matilda, new entries include Jude and Elsa.’
‘The charts do start to look different when you account for people choosing different spellings of the same name,’ said Siobhan. Aiden is number 31 at the moment, but combined with the popularity of the alternative spelling ‘Aidan’ it would be number 10. Finley is still sitting comfortably in the Top 40 at number 21, but if you combine it with ‘Finlay’ and the shortened form ‘Finn’ the name would be at Number 1.
Top 10 Girls Names:
Top 10 Boys Names: