When it comes to baby names, some parents favour familiarity or name the baby after a relative, while others opt for wacky or unusual names. The top 100 baby names of 2016 have been released today – is your baby’s name on there…?
With my second baby due in seven weeks, I have baby names on the mind. We’ve toyed with hippie names, calling the baby after someone we know, more traditional names (these are always thrown out pretty quickly) and naming the baby after someone famous we admire. Joni, our firstborn, was named after the brilliant Joni Mitchell, so it feels like we may need to follow suit with baby two.
My husband and I are a little divided when it comes to the type of name to go for. I favour uncommon names; I even like the idea of making something up from scratch so that no one in the world will have the same one. But Rich tends to veer for classic, existing names – arguing that this will mean they’re less likely to be picked on.
Either way, it’s always interesting to see what other parents are going for. And with BabyCentre having announced the UK’s top 100 boys’ and girls’ names of 2016 just today, I’ve been eyeing up the list with interest (removing any high rankers from our – or should I say MY – list of contenders).
The most popular baby names are remarkably different from last year, with both 1980s names (like Sarah, Laura, Gemma) and Irish names plummeting in popularity. Instead they’re being replaced by parents’ favourite superheroes, Instagram stars, and names inspired by nature.
Super moons, Space Odyssey and Star Wars have given parents cosmic baby name inspiration this year and there’s a hot new trend for superhero names. Also, more new parents are taking inspiration from the world of celebrity and showbiz for their baby name choices. Here are some examples…
DC and Marvel Comics’ continued success at the box office has provided inspiration for some. Kara from Supergirl, Harley (and Quinn) from Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman’s alter ego Diana (Prince) have all charged up the charts this year. Felicity (Smoak), from the smash hit comic book series Arrow, flies into the top 100 after a long absence and Thea (Queen) from the same series has also gone up thirteen places.
Deep space inspiration
Names inspired by all things heavenly have been rocketing up the charts this year. Nova, Orion and Luna have all increased in popularity, as has Jupiter. Star Wars names Leia, Kylo, and Finn have all had a boost. And Ezra, from spin-off animation Star Wars Rebels, has had a meteoric rise, entering the top 100 for the very first time in 2016.
This year, Rolling Stones rock ‘n’ roll legend Ronnie Woods called his twin girls Gracie and Alice and many other parents have followed suit, with both names rapidly gaining popularity in 2016. While Jamie Oliver’s unusual name choice for his new baby boy, River, saw a last minute surge in popularity, with more babies called River than ever before.
Victoria Beckham’s uncanny ability to spot a trend, or start one, means that Harper is still a popular name choice and is one of this year’s biggest risers, jumping an astonishing 31 places to sit at number 56. The Beckhams named their daughter after the author Harper Lee, who died earlier this year. Perhaps that news inspired other parents to honour the writer too?
Nature-inspired baby names
Baby names inspired by nature have been shooting up in 2016 too. Traditional names like Lily, Poppy, Daisy and Holly have all seen their positions rise within the top 50. However, parents are proving even more creative with their baby name choices, with Eden jumping up to secure a spot in the top 100 and Hazel also leaping up. Outside the top 100, Maple, Forrest, Bluebell and Yew have all featured this year too, some for the first time.
Who‘s at the top?
Although more adventurous names are on the rise when it comes to the top baby names for boys and girls, tradition wins over trends. Oliver and Olivia remain the most popular choices with parents. George has risen four places to take a spot in the top ten for the first time since 2012, while Harry also continues to rise, appearing in the top five this year with a jump of two places from 2015. (Other royal names continue to rise. Charlotte has risen ten places, Kate and Catherine have both risen).
The top 10 girls’ and boys’ baby names of 2016
1 Olivia (non -mover)
2 Lily (+ 1 place)
3 Sophia (- 1 place)
4 Emily (non-mover)
5 Amelia (non – mover)
6 Ava (new entry +5 places)
7 Isla (new entry +5 places)
8 Isabella (+ 2 places)
9 Isabelle (- 2 places)
1 Oliver (+1 place)
2 Muhammed (-1 place)
3 Noah (+1 place)
4 Harry (+2 places)
5 Jack (- 2 places)
7. Jacob (-2 places)
8. George (+ 4 places)
9. Ethan (- 1 places)
Biggest risers and new entries
Biggest risers in the baby name charts include Jenson, up 31 spots to number 62, Stanley, up 21 spots to number 77 and Darcie, which rose 26 places to sit at number 34. The highest new entries to the top 100 include Arlo, Ezra, Kai, Jesse and Albie for boys and Mya, Luna, Lexi, Heidi and Lyla for girls.
Top 100 UK baby names 2016
What are your thoughts on baby names? Do you tend to go for something tradition, familiar, or a bit out there? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comment section below…