Popular and Unique Names in England and Wales, 2008

Don’t get too excited — these aren’t the top names for 2009. (If only!)

Why am I posting old news? Because I recently found a more complete version of the 2008 list that goes all the way down to baby names used in England and Wales just three (!) times. So, the top-ranked names may be old news, but the rest are new. (New to me, anyway.)

Here are England and Wales’ top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2008:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia
  2. Ruby
  3. Emily
  4. Grace
  5. Jessica

Boy Names

  1. Jack
  2. Oliver
  3. Thomas
  4. Harry
  5. Joshua

And here are some of the names that were used less often in 2008…

Uncommon Girl NamesUncommon Boy Names
Bluebell (20 baby girls), Primrose (17), Temperance (13), Breeze (11), Cleopatra (11), Sorrel (11), Tigerlily (9), Tirion (9), Comfort (8), Peaches (8), Pebbles (8), Beyonce (7), Miami (7), Zinnia (7), Godiva (6), Mercades (5), Panashe (5), Tulip (5), Wednesday (5), Magenta (4), Boadicea (3), Cayenne (3), Kimora-Lee (3), Plum (3), Rejoice (3)Spike (23 baby boys), Willoughby (22), Ziggy (20), Ptolemy (19), Zidane (13), Zinedine (12), Kal-El (10), Hendrix (9), Humphrey (8), Elan (6), Gruff (6), Legend (6), Achilles (5), Amen (5), Bright (5), Jesse-James (5), Tennyson (5), Darlington (4), James-Dean (4), Courage (3), Freedom (3), Messiah (3), Remus (3), Riquelme (3), Seven (3)

And now, just for fun, let’s pick a few names that are trendy in the U.S. and see how their usage in England and Wales compares to the U.S. usage. If a name fell inside the top 1,000, I included the ranking in parentheses.

Name# E/W Boys# E/W Girls# U.S. Boys# U.S. Girls
Avery461,748 (216th)5,829 (38th)
Harper1820248 (856th)1,128 (296th)
Mackenzie
Makenzie
Mckenzie
361 (152nd)
28 (943rd)
463 (121st)
53 (681st)
9
67 (568th)
38
6
28
4,472 (65th)
2,064 (163rd)
2,287 (151st)
Riley2,203 (33rd)634,130 (106th)5,770 (39th)
Total # of Births363,000346,0002,150,0002,060,000

Sources: Office for National Statistics, England & Wales Baby Names

11 thoughts on “Popular and Unique Names in England and Wales, 2008

  1. It completely delights me that more than one person named their child James Hyphen Dean and Jesse Hyphen James.

    If I have another baby, I am going to make their middle name “Hyphen” just for the lulz.

  2. I love those hyphenated names too. Jesse-James is one I see every once in a while, but Kimora-Lee? That’s rare. (And also kinda funny, at least to me, because I’m not exactly sure what Kimora Lee Simmons is famous for.)

  3. Some interesting names there. I quite like Sorrel for a girl. I don’t think I could use any of the rare boys’ names. I’m kinda surprised that there aren’t more Tennysons around. But Gruff? !

  4. *Awesome* lists!
    Although I don’t like all of them, these I am very much in favour of:
    Willoughby (this one and Bellamy are all boy for me!)
    Hendrix
    Humphrey (reminds me of Alphonse, so out of style and so adorable!)
    Bright
    Courage (Virtue names for boys are few, but this one is new and wonderful!)
    Freedom (I don’t see the problem with this, as long as it’s on a boy!)
    Remus
    Primrose
    Breeze
    Sorrel (awesome, this one is high on my list!)
    Comfort (the ONLY name I LOVE but don’t have the courage to completely commit to…)
    Zinnia
    Godiva
    Wednesday
    Cayenne
    Plum (so much sweeter than other monosyllabic favourites like Claire)
    Rejoice (awesome way to honour a Joyce!)

    I cringe whenever I see Comfort, because I love her so much but for some reason I can never even bring myself to put her on my list, and my list has Morning on it!
    I love her, but she’s too beautiful to be stuck in the middle, but I can’t bring myself to use her up front either so it’s just an eternal thorn in my side! :(

  5. When comparing the numbers of births, to make a more accurate picture you need to know the total number of births in both places, divide the U.S. figure of total births by the England/Wales one, and multiply the England/Wales numbers (or divide the U.S. numbers) by that ratio. Since England/Wales’s population is probably quite a bit smalle than the U.S. when looking at numbers alone there is a bit of a “false illusion” with those numbers (but your point in comparing those names is still probably valid).

  6. @Kelly – Good point. I’m not going to crunch the numbers right now, but I will go find the total number of births for each place/gender and add them to the post, so people can have an idea of scale. Thanks!

  7. As a lifelong Dolphins fan, Miami is quite possibly my biggest guilty pleasure name ;)

  8. Kimora-Lee is atrocious. It would be great if it were original, but who is naming their baby after a diva celebrity? Numbskulls. Most of those other unique baby names are pretty cool, though. Nice going, England and Wales!

  9. Oh, I really love the name Plum! I can’t believe there aren’t more…is that # just for the girls BORN that year?? Because in 2005 when I was pregnant in the U.S., read some British baby mags, & found many people saying they had a daughter with that name. (at least 8) I ended up using it for my daughter’s name; it fits her personality so perfectly! And yet, have gotten plenty of strange looks when adults here hear it (if not derision ;) It’s beatiful, lovel, strong-sounding. The related names like Cherry, or Violet, etc. don’t make people bat an eye. What gives? Plum is a great name. =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.