Early signs of a change in popular names
BabyCentre, the parenting website, has announced its top and trending names for 2019, putting Olivia and Muhammad in top spot. These are not official UK stats – we have to wait until late summer for the full collated lists – but they are an indication of what parents are choosing for their newborns.
Reporting on the BabyCentre figures, the Metro newspaper noted a desire to get back to nature with a rise in ‘eco-conscious’ names inspired by plants. Forrest, Eden, Ivy, Rowan, Willow, Holly, Jasmin, Iris, and Olive were all on the rise in 2019, while environmental heroes David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg provided a boost for both of their first names.
Metro suggests the World Cup might have had a hand in the rise in popularity of certain girls’ names, inspired by the Lionesses. Rising in popularity were quite a few names shared by the team, including Lucy (Bronze), Ellen (White) and Karen (Carney, Farley and Walker), while Fara (Williams), Jill (Scott) and Kim (Little) all appeared for the first time this year. Parents also looked to Scottish players Erin (Cuthbert), Lana (Clelland) and Fiona (Brown), and some of the better-known American soccer players Megan (Rapinoe) and Carli (Lloyd).
In terms of entertainment, musical films such as the new Lion King, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Rocketman had an influence, with Simba appearing in the top 100 for the first time, the number of babies named Nala quadrupling, Freddie remaining in the top ten, and Elton making his debut in the top 100 for boys. A Star is Born was a big hit, boosting the names Ally and Jaxon (or Jackson or Jaxxon).
Apparently parents are opting for longer names rather than those impactful single syllables. Frederick, Benedict, Kingsley, Nicholas, Nathaniel, Alexander, Zachary, Bartholomew and Gabriel were all on the rise, with Theodore climbing 22 places to number 41. Lorna Marsh, BabyCentre senior editor, quoted by Metro, said: ‘Is the trend for short and sharp boys’ names finally on the wane? This is definitely one to watch in 2020.’