Popular Baby Names in Greenland

According to Statistics Greenland, the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were Inuk & Norsaq (boy names) and Ivaana & Malu (girl names).

The year before, in 2017, the top baby names were Inuk and Pipaluk.

Greenland doesn’t release top-10 lists every year, but does occasionally put out a name report. The most recent, published in mid-2011, includes top-10 lists for five recent decades…

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1960s

Girl Names (1961-1970) Boy Names (1961-1970)
1. Ane
2. Marie
3. Karen
4. Sofie
5. Johanne
6. Kristine
7. Margrethe
8. Dorthe
9. Else
10. Anna
1. Hans
2. Jens
3. Karl
4. Lars
5. Peter
6. Niels
7. Ole
8. Kristian
9. Jørgen
10. Johan

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1970s

Girl Names (1971-1980) Boy Names (1971-1980)
1. Ane
2. Karen
3. Marie
4. Dorthe
5. Johanne
6. Mette
7. Naja*
8. Susanne
9. Anna
10. Sofie
1. Hans
2. Karl
3. Jens
4. Peter
5. Lars
6. Niels
7. Thomas
8. Jakob
9. Martin
10. Knud

*Naja means “younger sister (of a male)” in Greenlandic.

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1980s

Girl Names (1981-1990) Boy Names (1981-1990)
1. Ane
2. Johanne
3. Marie
4. Karen
5. Paninnguaq*
6. Sofie
7. Louise
8. Anna
9. Nivi*
10. Naja
1. Hans
2. Karl
3. Jens
4. Malik*
5. Peter
6. Lars
7. Kristian
8. Ole
9. Thomas
10. Niels

*Paninnguaq means “little daughter,” Nivi means “girl, maiden,” and Malik means “wave.”

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1990s

Girl Names (1991-2000) Boy Names (1991-2000)
1. Paninnguaq
2. Ane
3. Nivi
4. Naja
5. Ivalu*
6. Pipaluk*
7. Sofie
8. Sara
9. Marie
10. Camilla
1. Malik
2. Hans
3. Karl
4. Jens
5. Peter
6. Kristian
7. Lars
8. Aputsiaq*
9. Inunnguaq*
10. Nuka*

*Ivalu means “sinew,” Pipaluk means “little possession,” Aputsiaq means “snow flake,” Inunnguaq means “little person/human being,” and Nuka means “younger brother (of a male).”

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 2000s (first decade)

Girl Names (2001-2010) Boy Names (2001-2010)
1. Ivaana*
2. Pipaluk
3. Nivi
4. Paninnguaq
5. Ivalu
6. Naasunnguaq*
7. Julie
8. Ane
9. Isabella
10. Kimmernaq*
1. Malik
2. Aputsiaq
3. Minik*
4. Hans
5. Inunnguaq
6. Kristian
7. Nuka
8. Salik*
9. Peter
10. Inuk* and Ivik* (tied)

*Ivaana means “brood egg,” Naasunnguaq means “little flower,” Kimmernaq means “lingonberry,” minik is a glue-like whale oil that is used as a sealing for skin boats, Salik means “the cleanser,” Inuk means “human being” — Inunnguaq from the ’90s list is a diminutive form of Inuk — and Ivik means “(blade of) grass.”

The recent rise of Salik can be traced back to the 1980s:

In the beginning of the ’80s the artist Keld Hansen published a series of children’s books about a boy named Salik, who lived in Greenland in the 1600s. In that same period, Peter Berliner, a psychologist, did a series of radio programs where the main character was named Salik. Statistics Greenland depicted a rise in the number of boys names immediately after that.

The 2011 report includes many other Greenlandic names as well, but I’ll put those into a separate post a few days from now. Until then, which of all the above names do you like best?

P.S. Almost forgot to define Malu and Norsaq from the first sentence! Malu is a short form of Marie-Louise, and a norsaq is a harpoon-throwing stick.

Sources: Statistics Greenland, Greenland in Figures 2018 (PDF), Greenland in Figures 2019 (PDF), Names in Greenland as of 1 July 2011 (PDF), Nordic Names, Search Names – Oqaasileriffik

3 thoughts on “Popular Baby Names in Greenland

  1. What I find most interesting with the decades, is that at first they are very Scandinavian names, Norway and Denmark mostly. Folk from Denmark can understand Greenlandic rather easily (I really, really tried to learn. I mean I speak Norwegian and Icelandic, how hard could Greenlandic be? Impossible!! LOL)

    Then the names for one decade are more Anglo/Christian, then take a hard left to native names of the Inuit (all three groupings from each part of the island) but still some Danish names.
    I have my theories on why the change and good for them if it is true.

    My favorite name Nivi-maiden. (I’m going to assume it is pronounced Nee-vee)

    I love the name Flicka and Jenta, which are Swedish and Norwegian for maiden. I have been trying for a while now to come up with a little known pet name for a little girl, that a grandfather or uncles might call a granddaughter or nieces. Nivi, is THAT name!

    I can’t thank you enough for the hard work and time ,plus I can only imagine the effort you give to this. I am a lover of languages (a language nerd LOL) So naturally the evolutions of names fascinates me as other culture influence the native cultures as well as in every age, famous people. My son’s middle name Erik, if from Erik the Red (family says we are related, I’ll believe it when I see it on Ancestry LOL)

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