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Girls just wanna have fun names

Girl babies have a greater chance of being given a name that breaks with tradition. Flowers, nature, seasons, cities and emotions all contribute to what sociologists call the ‘originality gap’ compared with names for boys. Showbiz parents especially are willing to experiment. David and Victoria Beckham have brought Harper back into popularity while Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have named their daughters North and Chicago.

Boys names fall mostly on the other side of the originality gap where notions of manliness are alive and well. William, George, Thomas and James have remained popular for decades and although the once dominant John has slipped out of the top 100 there are some interesting comebacks developing when you look further down the list. There are also some boys facing oblivion.

Arthur (currently 30) and Albert (64) were in the top ten 100 years ago before crashing out of favour. Both have climbed 200 places in the past 20 years while Bertie as a registered first name has leapfrogged 1500 places.

Some other names that were popular before the First World War are now rising fast while not yet in the top 100. Ernest is up 1000 places to 320, just ahead of Walter who has also improved by 1000. Sidney and Reginald are doing well and so is Wilfred at 183 from 976 in the past 20 years. One to watch is Percy. There were no boys given the name as recently as 2001 and now he’s on a roll, up to 486.

You can detect some retro chic in all these names while for others all hope seems to have gone. Once in favour, Leslie, Cecil, Cyril and Clifford have plunged while poor old Horace is today’s zero choice.



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