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 goes:

Boys Girls
Popular Names Jack
Oliver
Thomas
Harry
Joshua
Olivia
Ruby
Emily
Grace
Jessica
Unusual names
(# of babies)
Spike (23)
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)
Bluebell (20)
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)

And now, just for fun, let’s compare usage in England to usage in America:

Name # UK* Boys # UK Girls # U.S. Boys # U.S. Girls
Avery 4 6 1,731 5,758
Harper 18 20 244 1,108
Mackenzie
Makenzie
Mckenzie
361
28
462
53
9
66
?**
?
?
4,425
2,048
2,258
Riley 2,201 63 4,076 5,701
Total*** 363,000 346,000 2,150,000 2,060,000

*By UK, I mean England and Wales. Not an accurate substitution, I know. But “England and Wales” is just way too long for that spot.
**The 1,000th name on the U.S. top 1,000 was used for 192 baby boys. So the question marks represent some number between 0 and 192.
***Update: Kelly has astutely pointed out that raw numbers can be misleading. I’m not going to change the chart — I’m just too lazy — but I’ve thrown in some rough totals, for context.

Source: Office for National Statistics

11 Responses to 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. And Kimora Hyphen Lee! I love it!

  3. 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.)

  4. 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? !

  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. *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! :(

  7. @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!

  8. @Dearest – I love Comfort as well. Huge GP of mine. :)

  9. Whitney Gigandet

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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. =)

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