Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Peaky Blinders and Disney influence this year’s most popular baby names

Getty Images

Noah and Olivia were the most popular baby names in England and Wales in 2021, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

It is the first time in eight years that the top baby name for boys is not Oliver, which has been pushed to second position. Meanwhile, Olivia managed to hold its position for the sixth year in a row as the most popular girl’s name.

In total, 4,525 baby boys were named Noah in 2021, and 3,649 girls were named Olivia, up from 3,640 in 2020.

It also marks the first time the name Jack has not appeared in the top 10 most popular names since records began in 1996.

The ONS noted that Muhammad was the most popular boys’ name in four out of nine regions in England, and Olivia was the top girls name in every part of the country except for the East midlands, where Amelia was most popular.

New entries to the top 100 included Lara, Beatrice and Sara for girls, and Blake, Brody, Kai, Rupert, Tobias and Nathan for boys.

The new statistics suggested that popular culture is having a strong influence on parents’ naming decisions.

Following the release of Disney’s animated film Luca in June 2021, the number of boys given the same name jumped from 1,323 in 2020 to 1,807 in 2021 – becoming the 28th most popular name for boys in the past year.

Similarly, data shows the name Arthur has become more widespread following the release of Peaky Blinders. There were 3,766 new registers of the name in 2021, which is more than double the figure of 1,559 in 2013 before the show’s release.

Baby names chosen by the royal family have also swayed the public. The ONS said the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter, Lilibet, had “drawn some admiration”.

Eight Lilibets were registered in the past year, compared to fewer than three in each of the last seven years.

James Tucker, of the ONS commented: “Popular culture continues to influence parents’ baby name choices. Today we have also published analysis exploring cultural influences that could be inspiring baby name trends, from hit TV shows to musical icons.

“Noah has replaced Oliver as the most popular name for boys in 2021, moving Oliver into second place and ending an eight-year reign at the top. Interestingly, Noah was not top in any of the English regions, but has risen up the ranks in most regions since last year to take first place overall.”

Related Stories
Most popular baby names in England and Wales revealed
It is the first time in eight years the most popular boys’ name has not been Oliver, while Olivia topped the girls’ list for the sixth year running.
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Noah and Olivia are most popular baby names in England and Wales
Popular culture continues to influence baby name choices, from musicians to stars of hit TV shows
Kardashians and Star Wars influence most popular baby names of the last year
Pop culture continues to influence parents when it comes to choosing the perfect moniker for their newborn, as the latest data from the Office for National Statistics reveals names including Arthur, Saint, Luca and Mabel were favoured in 2021
Most popular baby names announced - as Oliver knocked off top spot after eight years
Influenced by popular culture and tradition, the annual list of the most popular baby names compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) makes for illuminating reading
Most popular baby names announced - how to check if yours is 'endangered'
Check if your name is endangered using our interactive tool.
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Noah and Olivia top official list of most popular baby names in 2021
Henry replaced Jack in the top 10 names for boys, while Freya, Florence and Willow replaced Isabella, Rosie and Sophia for girls