How popular is the baby name Alfie in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Alfie and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Alfie.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Alfie

Number of Babies Named Alfie

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Alfie

Do Americans Have an Obsession with Nicknames?

A couple of weeks ago, Judith left the following comment on a Five-Name Friday post.

I would love it if you dedicated a blog article to the American obsession with nicknames. Being European this really baffles me. Over here we give our children the name we like best, whether this is a long name (i.e. Michael) or a short one (i.e. Mike). A nickname might pop up in due course but is not something that you force (or even think about) beforehand. If you want your child to be called Ella, why would you name her Eleonora only to shorten it to Ella? Like I said it baffles me and I would love to know the background of this phenomenon.

Such an interesting question!

There’s certainly a difference between Americans and Europeans when it comes up nickname usage. You can see it comparing the top names in the U.S. with the top names in England — boy names especially. The English top 20 includes many more informal names (Jack, Harry, Charlie, Alfie, Freddie, Archie) than the U.S. top 20.

Seems to me that both regions are concerned with nicknames, but handle them in very different ways. Europeans are reasonably comfortable putting nicknames on birth certificates, while Americans are not as comfortable turning nicknames into legal names.

So what’s behind these diverging trends? I’m not sure that there’s a single answer, but here are a few theories. (Please excuse me ahead of time for making sweeping generalizations about Americans and Europeans.)

Formality differences
Europeans tend to be more relaxed than Americans, both in terms of daily life/habits and in terms of viewpoints. Maybe this informality leads them to prefer the informal names. (Or at least doesn’t make them feel obligated to use formal names.)

Work attitude differences
Americans tend to be more career-focused than Europeans. Perhaps this outlook makes them feel that it’s smart to have a formal name to fall back on for future professional use — that having a nickname-only name could be limiting.

Class differences
This theory, which is somewhat like the work attitude theory, comes from an Encyclopedia Britannica* blogger and concerns the U.S. and the UK specifically:

Perhaps the difference has to do with class. Americans may shy away from bestowing diminutives upon their children because they suspect that such “cutesy” names will prevent their children from climbing the ranks and becoming CEOs. In the more-rigid class system of the U.K., on the other hand, some parents might believe that that sort of advancement is so unlikely that it’s not worth letting it affect their choice of a name. So Charlie it is.

Gender-switch differences (pertains to boy names only)
In America, many formerly male/unisex names with “-ee” endings (e.g., Ashley, Avery, Bailey, Ellery, Riley) have turned into girl names. This might make Americans more hesitant to permanently attach diminutives with similar endings to baby boys.

Which (if any) of these theories do you think makes the most sense? What others can you think of?

Source: How to Tell a British Baby from an American: Differences in Naming Trends, Judith’s comment

*Did you know about the New York woman named Encyclopedia Britannica?


Popular Baby Names in Scotland, 2014

According to provisional data from National Records of Scotland, the most popular baby names in Scotland in 2014 were Emily and Jack.

The provisional data accounts for the first 11 months of 2014; finalized data will be out on March 11, 2015.

Here are Scotland’s projected top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily, 539 baby girls
2. Sophie, 514
3. Olivia, 446
4. Isla, 401
5. Jessica, 392
6. Ava, 349
7. Amelia, 340
8. Lucy, 338
9. Lily, 282
10. Ella, 256 (tie)
10. Sophia, 256 (tie)
12. Ellie, 254
13. Grace, 244
14. Freya, 235
15. Millie, 233
16. Chloe, 228
17. Emma, 216
18. Mia, 213
19. Eilidh, 207
20. Anna, 200
1. Jack, 540 baby boys
2. James, 414
3. Lewis, 373
4. Oliver, 362
5. Logan, 328
6. Daniel, 322
7. Noah, 305
8. Charlie, 296
9. Lucas, 292
10. Alexander, 285
11. Mason, 263
12. Finlay, 258
13. Max, 256
14. Adam, 253
15. Harry, 251
16. Harris, 250
17. Aaron, 247
18. Ethan, 241
19. Cameron, 237
20. Jacob, 231

The fastest climbers within the top 20 were Noah, Max and Adam for boys and Grace and Freya for girls.

Newbies to the boys’ top 20 were Aaron and Cameron. They replaced Alfie and Riley.

Newbies to the girls’ top 20 were Eilidh and Anna. They replaced Erin and Eva.

(Did you know that Eilidh, in combination with the surname McCorquodale, was determined to be the 10th most Scottish name of all time?)

I won’t go any deeper into this set of data, as the real thing will be released in a matter of months, but if you want to see the full (provisional) top 100 for Scotland check out my sources.

Or, you could take a look at the top baby names in Scotland for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.

UPDATE, March 12 – The updated data was released yesterday! Click the 2nd source link below and download Table 4 or Table 5 for the full set of names.

Sources: Jack and Emily are Scotland’s top baby names, Babies’ First Names 2014: List of Detailed Tables and Infographic

Popular Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013

The top baby names in England and Wales were announced last week.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, the most popular baby names last year were Amelia and Oliver.

Here are England and Wales’ top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Amelia, 5570 baby girls
2. Olivia, 4598
3. Emily, 4049
4. Ava, 3575
5. Isla, 3526
6. Jessica, 3507
7. Poppy, 3422
8. Isabella, 3246
9. Sophie, 3013
10. Mia, 2993
11. Ruby, 2948
12. Lily, 2883
13. Grace, 2799
14. Evie, 2767
15. Sophia, 2764
16. Ella, 2722
17. Scarlett, 2643
18. Chloe, 2401
19. Isabelle, 2287
20. Freya, 2266
1. Oliver, 6,949 baby boys
2. Jack, 6,212
3. Harry, 5,888
4. Jacob, 5,126
5. Charlie 5,039
6. Thomas, 4,591
7. Oscar, 4,511
8. William, 4,268
9. James, 4,236
10. George, 4,202
11. Alfie, 4,138
12. Joshua, 3,973
13. Noah, 3,830
14. Ethan, 3,572
15. Muhammad, 3,499
16. Archie, 3,265
17. Leo, 3,264
18. Henry, 3,248
19. Joseph, 3,225
20. Samuel, 3,188

There were some big moves on the boys’s side: Oscar rose from 17th to 7th, while Riley plummeted from 8th to 21st. (Here are the biggest moves overall for boy names and girl names.)

New to the top 20 are Scarlett, Archie, Henry and Joseph. They replace Charlotte, Riley, Daniel and Max.

One thing I found interesting? Freya wasn’t on the England top 20. It also wasn’t on the Wales top 20. And yet still it managed to rank 20th on the combined top 20. Very sneaky, Freya.

Here are some of last year’s rare baby names, each given to between 3 and 10 babies (inclusive):

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Akvile, Alaska, Alphonsa, Andromeda, Arena, Arizona, Atlantis, Belinay, Bellatrix, Blousey, Boadicea, Boglarka, Bonnie-Blue, Boo, Boux, Charm, Cressida, Crystal-Rose, Daenerys, Delphie, Disney, Duru, Edwina, Ellery, Eloghosa, Enfys, Enlli*, Eos, Ernestine, Esila, Evan, Frayer, Freshta, Fausta, Garance, Gelila, Gemini, Gerda, Glorious, Halo, Honour, Io, Iole, Ionie, Iseult, Isla-Belle, Izna, Lava, Lleucu, Llinos, Llio, Loveday, Loxy, Mafalda, Man, Maple, Miami, Migle, Milda, Misk, Mirabella, Mirren, Myfi, Myrtle, Nandi, Nephele, Nma, Ottoline, Pebbles, Popi, Purity, Quorra, Quratulain, Rory, Ruby-Tuesday, Salsabeel, Sehrish, Sequoia, Sibel, Sobia, Solveig, Sundus, Tiggi, Tiggy, Tirion, Tulsi, Vespa, Vogue, Yiyi Alaric, Bramwell, Cavalli, Ceirion, Denley, Diesel, Diggory, Drin, Eesaa, Eyoel, Fiachra, Finlo, Fyfe, Ghyll, Greatness, Gruff, Hanzala, Haoyu, Heathcliff, Henley-John, Ho, Hocine, Innis, Iori, J, Jai-Jai, Jay-J, Jaygo, Johnboy, Jonjoe, Kebba, Kelly, Khizr, King-David, Klevis, Lebron, Liutaruas, Llyr, Lochie, Messi, Mortimer, Nebi, Nimrod, Noman, Olti, Omarion, Orpheus, Osgar, Oska, Perseus, Ptolemy, Qi, Rhythm, Rozh, Rhon, Sandor, Shady, Shaquille, Sheriff, Shko, Soul, Swayley, T, Tiger, Tirath, Tobenna, Toprak, Tuguldur, Tylah, Tyrion, Ugnius, Viggo, Wentworth, Winter, Wolf, Wolfgang, Wren, Yanky, Yug, Zeus, Zsombor

*Enlli, which debuted last year, comes from the name of the Welsh island Ynys Enlli (called Bardsey Island in English). The island name is usually translated as “island of the current,” with ynys meaning “island,” and enlli meaning “current.” You can hear the proper pronunciation of Ynys Enlli at Forvo.

Finally, all of my previous posts on the popular (and unique) baby names in England and Wales: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, E/W, 2013

Here’s another “biggest changes” analysis, but this one is for the England and Wales boy names. (We looked at the girl names yesterday.)

The tables below include two versions of each list. On the left are the top raw-number differences, taking all names into account. On the right are the top ranking differences, taking only the top 1,000 names (roughly) into account.

Biggest Increases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Oscar, +1,222 babies
  2. Muhammad, +338
  3. Henry, +320
  4. Joey, +288
  5. Oliver, +280
  6. Teddy, +276
  7. Arthur, +249
  8. Archie, +203
  9. Edward, +185
  10. Theodore, +167
  1. Greyson, +1388 spots
  2. Harvey-Lee, +898
  3. Salahuddin, +759
  4. Bernard, +715
  5. Camden, +686
  6. Kayson, +583
  7. Raife, +531
  8. Buster and Abubakr [tie], +517
  9. Jeffrey and Brax [tie], +499
  10. Emre, +492

I think the rise of Oscar can be attributed, at least in part, to Oscar Pistorius. Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (I’d especially like to know what gave Buster a boost.)

Biggest Decreases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Riley, -1,703 babies
  2. Harry, -1,280
  3. Tyler, -1,104
  4. Alfie, -705
  5. Ethan, -649
  6. Charlie, -532
  7. Joshua, -471
  8. Callum, -467
  9. Ryan, -441
  10. Dylan, -407
  1. Rylan, -577 spots
  2. Ray, -339
  3. Rylie, -277
  4. Jeevan, -276
  5. Darren, -255
  6. Codey, -252
  7. Chace, -242
  8. Dorian, -239
  9. Kaelan, -231
  10. Riley-Jay, -228

A lot of Ry- and Ri- names took hits last year. Is the sound falling out of the favor? What do you think?

Top Debut Name

Gurfateh.

Fewer than 3 baby boys got the name in 2012, but 12 baby boys were named Gurfateh in 2013. (But keep in mind that I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007.)

Here are the U.S. boy names that changed the most in popularity in 2013, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2013

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2013

Ireland’s top baby names of 2013 were announced a few days ago.

According to data from the Central Statistics Office, the most popular baby names are Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily
2. Emma
3. Sophie
4. Ella
5. Amelia
6. Aoife
7. Ava
8. Lucy
9. Grace
10. Sarah
11. Mia
12. Anna
13. Chloe
14. Hannah
15. Kate
16. Ruby
17. Lily
18. Katie
19. Caoimhe
20. Sophia
21. Lauren
22. Saoirse
23. Ellie
24. Holly
25. Leah
26. Amy
27. Olivia
28. Jessica
29. Ciara
30. Zoe
31. Isabelle
32. Niamh
33. Molly
34. Julia
35. Robyn
36. Erin
37. Roisin
38. Freya
39. Laura
40. Cara
41. Sofia
42. Eva
43. Rachel
44. Isabella
45. Kayla
46. Abbie
47. Charlotte [tie]
47. Millie [tie]
49. Faye
50. Clodagh
51. Aisling
52. Alice [tie]
52. Eabha [tie]
54. Abigail
55. Ellen
56. Lexi
57. Aoibhinn
58. Layla
59. Eve [tie]
59. Zara [tie]
61. Alannah
62. Aine
63. Maria [tie]
63. Megan [tie]
65. Rebecca
66. Nicole
67. Sadhbh
68. Clara
69. Elizabeth
70. Maya
71. Maja
72. Emilia
73. Caitlin
74. Rose
75. Isabel
76. Aoibheann
77. Sadie
78. Lena
79. Hollie
80. Sienna
81. Mary
82. Fiadh
83. Zuzanna
84. Aimee [tie]
84. Tara [tie]
86. Hanna [tie]
86. Katelyn [tie]
86. Lilly [tie]
86. Ruth [tie]
90. Alexandra [tie]
90. Poppy [tie]
92. Amber [tie]
92. Mollie [tie]
92. Victoria [tie]
95. Lara
96. Sara
97. Brooke
98. Aoibhe [tie]
98. Laoise [tie]
100. Kayleigh
1. Jack
2. James
3. Daniel
4. Conor
5. Sean
6. Adam
7. Ryan
8. Michael
9. Harry
10. Noah
11. Thomas
12. Alex
13. Luke
14. Oisin
15. Charlie
16. Patrick
17. Cian
18. Liam [tie]
18. Darragh [tie]
20. Dylan
21. Jamie
22. Matthew
23. Cillian
24. Aaron
25. Fionn
26. Jake
27. John
28. David
29. Ben
30. Finn
31. Nathan
32. Kyle
33. Samuel
34. Evan
35. Max
36. Ethan
37. Rian
38. Joseph
39. Alexander
40. Mason
41. Oliver
42. Joshua
43. William
44. Eoin
45. Jayden
46. Oscar
47. Callum
48. Aidan
49. Tom
50. Robert
51. Sam [tie]
51. Tadhg [tie]
53. Jacob
54. Cathal
55. Shane
56. Leon
57. Mark
58. Senan
59. Bobby
60. Ronan [tie]
60. Andrew [tie]
62. Eoghan
63. Leo
64. Lucas
65. Rory
66. Alfie
67. Tyler
68. Benjamin [tie]
68. Cormac [tie]
70. Scott
71. Christopher
72. Odhran
73. Kevin
74. Ciaran
75. Dara
76. Shay [tie]
76. Alan [tie]
78. Tommy
79. Logan [tie]
79. Anthony [tie]
81. Jakub
82. Rhys
83. Tomas
84. Donnacha
85. Kai
86. Stephen
87. Killian
88. Niall
89. Jason
90. Josh
91. Kayden
92. Martin [tie]
92. Ruairi [tie]
92. Brian [tie]
95. Isaac
96. Danny [tie]
96. Edward [tie]
98. Oran [tie]
98. Sebastian [tie]
98. Hugh [tie]

New to the top 100 are Sadie, Sienna, Fiadh and Poppy for girls and Kai and Kayden for boys.

(Names that were new on the 2012 list but that have since dropped out of the top 100 are Amelie, Evie and Maisie.)

Of all the girl names in the current top 100, these five saw the biggest increases from 2012 to 2013 in terms of rank change:

  1. Fiadh, +64 (146th to 82nd)
  2. Sadie, +62 (139th to 77th)
  3. Poppy, +46 (136th to 90th)
  4. Lexi, +33 (89th to 56th)
  5. Sienna, +32 (112th to 80th)

And these five saw the biggest increases in terms of number of babies:

  1. Anna, +56 (296 babies to 352 babies)
  2. Lexi, +54 (127 babies to 73 babies)
  3. Sofia, +50 (155 babies to 105 babies)
  4. Sadie, +42 (84 babies to 42 babies)
  5. Fiadh, +39 (78 babies to 39 babies)

Of all the boy names in the current top 100, these five saw the biggest increases from 2012 to 2013 in terms of rank change:

  1. Kayden, +44 (135th to 91st)
  2. Shay, +27 (103rd to 76th)
  3. Kai, +24 (109th to 85th)
  4. Leo, +21 (84th to 63rd)
  5. Anthony, +20 (99th to 79th)

And these five saw the biggest increases in terms of number of babies:

  1. Oliver, +44 (199 babies to 155 babies)
  2. Mason, +42 (201 babies to 159 babies)
  3. Alexander, +41 (202 babies to 161 babies)
  4. Leo, +35 (131 babies to 96 babies)
  5. Shay, +35 (104 babies to 69 babies)

Source: Irish Babies’ Names 2013
Image: Adapted from Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Ireland by Giuseppe Milo under CC BY 2.0.

Goodbye, Gertrude…Again

Last month I spotted an article about the decline of certain old-fashioned baby names in the UK.

(The first two words in the title were “Goodbye Gertrude.” Wait a minute, I thought. Hasn’t the UK already said goodbye to Gertrude? Hm.)

Anyway…

The article, drawing from a recent Ancestry.co.uk study, listed baby names that are now “extinct,” “endangered,” and “at risk” in the UK.

  • Extinct Baby Names (no longer on the England & Wales baby name list)
    • Cecil, Rowland, Willie
    • Bertha, Blodwen*, Fanny, Gertrude, Gladys, Margery, Marjorie, Muriel
  • Endangered Baby Names (fallen in prevalence by 99% since 1905)
    • Clifford, Horace, Harold, Leslie, Norman
    • Doris, Edna, Ethel, Hilda, Marion, Phyllis
  • At-Risk Baby Names (fallen in prevalence by 98% since 1905)
    • Arnold, Bernard, Clarence, Cyril, Ernest, Fred, Herbert, Percy, Roland, Sydney, Trevor, Walter
    • Ann, Dorothy, Eveline, Freda, Gwendoline, Irene, Jane, Janet, Jennie, Lilian, Lizzie, Margaret, Mary, Maud, Mildred, Nellie, Rhoda, Winifred

I wonder how Derek fared in their study.

The article also mentioned that, over the years, some names have been outpaced by their diminutive forms — Alfred by Alfie, Frederick by Freddie, Archibald by Archie, Charles by Charlie, Alexandra by Lexi, Sophia by Sophie, Eleanor by Ellie, and so forth.

*Blodwen is Welsh for “white flowers.” The Breton form is Bleuzen, in case you were wondering.

Sources: Goodbye Gertrude, hello Lexi: records show UK demise of some baby names, Cecil, Bertha and Gertrude — Britain’s ‘Endangered’ Names Revealed

Popular Baby Names in Scotland, 2013

This is the second 2013 list I’ve seen so far.

According to provisional finalized data from Scotland’s General Register Office, the most popular baby names in Scotland are still Sophie and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s projected top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Sophie, 516 baby girls
2. Olivia, 499
3. Emily, 490
4. Isla, 409
5. Lucy, 393
6. Ava, 383
7. Jessica, 374
8. Amelia, 303
9. Ella, 300
10. Millie, 297
11. Lily, 288
12. Chloe, 267
13. Sophia, 266
14. Ellie, 256
15. Eva, 254
16. Emma, 251
17. Mia, 236
18. Freya, 225 (tie)
19. Grace, 225 (tie)
20. Erin, 223
1. Jack, 595 baby boys
2. James, 434
3. Lewis, 382
4. Oliver, 361
5. Daniel, 359
6. Logan, 349
7. Alexander, 318
8. Lucas, 313
9. Charlie, 301
10. Harry, 299
11. Mason, 292
12. Ethan, 284
13. Noah, 282
14. Harris, 270
15. Riley, 265
16. Finlay, 259
17. Alfie, 257
18. Jacob, 249
19. Max, 247
20. Adam, 243

New to the top 20 girl names are Ella and Erin. Drop-outs are Hannah and Holly.

New to the top 20 boy names are Noah, Harris and Jacob. Drop-outs are Tyler, Aaron, Ryan and Liam. (There’s an extra name on the drop-out list because there was a tie for 20th place on the boys’ list last year.)

Of the 4,396 girl names bestowed last year in Scotland, 55 were given to more than 100 baby girls while 2,872 were used only once.

Of the 3,410 boy names bestowed, 74 were given to more than 100 baby boys while 2,197 were used only once.

Here are some of the names used only once in Scotland last year:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Anadoo, Ayse-Gul, Bellatrix, Bjelle, Boroka, Calaposha, Claurieli, Comfort, Diorlouise, Dristy, Drooj, Io, Light, Morag, Nellicy, Ruvimbo, Scarlett-Beau, Scotland, Success, Tarannom, Willowmena Argyll-Sutherland, Bhriclan, Boto, Bright, Cal-El, Dempster, Frew, Gexian, Godsrest, Grave, Hollywood, Johnboy, Jozzel, King-Enoch, Ledley-Lee, Mnelisi, Moray-Geo, Noxx, Success, Timocy, Woodiee

(Yup, one Success on each side.)

Want to see past lists of popular baby names in Scotland? Check out the 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 lists.

Sources: Babies’ First Names 2013 – GRO Scotland, Baby names: Jack and Sophie again Scotland’s most popular