Each year the Office of National Statistics publishes a list of the most popular baby names and it’s fascinating, if a little boggling.
In 2013, Amelia, Olivia and Emily topped the girls’ chart, while Oliver was the number one boys’ name, followed by Jack. But the real interest lies further down the charts…
There are around 30% more girls’ names in use than there are boys’ names. There were around 27,000 different boys’ names registered in 2013, and more than 35,000 different girls’ names. TV and film have an unfortunate effect – thankfully we’re not talking ‘IMAX’ or ‘48” Plasma’.
The burden of Twilight’s Renesmee was bestowed on 18 girls in 2013. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Thor also had an impact: Theon and Tyrion have both started appearing, while Walter and Skyler have accelerated up the charts. Loki and Thor are battling it out on the boys’ list, with Loki currently winning.
The names of our three most prominent princes all appeared in 2013’s top 10. Harry was at number three, William at number eight and George at number 10. Harry has the benefit of sharing a name with a certain boy wizard, and Prince George was only born halfway through the year, so things may change in the coming years.
Footballers’ names fluctuate with their fortunes. Cristiano peaked in 2007, when Ronaldo first won the Premier League with Manchester United. Thierry’s peak corresponded with Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ 2004 season, during which Thierry Henry played a like man from another planet.
The influence of female pop stars closely follows their chart success too. Britney, Shakira and Rihanna peaked at the same time as their biggest hits. Florence started to accelerate up the charts after Florence + the Machine released their first album in 2009, and has been climbing ever since. Beyonce came from nowhere in 2001, then disappeared again in 2011.
Harry Potter has worked his magic on the list. Harry has spent most of the past decade in the top 10. Hermione exploded up the charts in the early 2000s, and has stayed high ever since. Draco, Sirius and Bellatrix have appeared on the baby names lists in the past few years. No sign yet of Dumbledore or Voldemort.
Picking a name for your child is a big decision, it’s not like decorating a room; you can’t just paint over it and start again if you change your mind. You need to find a name that perfectly suits them, as well as you.
There’s definitely nothing wrong with going for an interesting and different name, just remember that in a few years’ time, when it’s you in the playground, do you really want to be shouting ‘Mesopotamia’?