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Isla topples Olivia as top girl’s name

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Isla topples Olivia as top girl’s name

Tuesday, 23 Mar 2021
Babies' Names News Release Image

Isla overtakes Olivia as the top name for baby girls for the first time, with Olivia taking the second spot and Emily now being the third most popular name, according to the full lists of 2020 baby names published by National Records of Scotland (NRS) today.

Jack remains the most popular boy's name, holding on to the top spot for the 13th consecutive year. Noah is now the second most popular boy's name, having jumped from 7th place last year, and meanwhile James stays in 3rd place.

The girl's name Maeve made a massive leap of 130 places from last year, up to 86th place, and Ayda, the second highest climber in the girls' top 100 list, rose 63 places to the 91st spot.

The biggest increases in the top 100  boys' list were Roman, which jumped up 68 places to 33rd, and Finley, which rose 48 places to 88th.

2020 saw the highest ever level of different names, a trend that has continued for some time now.

Of the 23,968 girls registered in Scotland last year, there were 4,347 different names, whilst more boys shared the same name. Of the 22,387 boys registered, there were only 3,375 different names. Children nowadays are much less likely to share a name with classmates than their grandparents were.

Julie Ramsay, Vital Events Statistician, said: 

“We can see from the 2020 names lists that different generations of parents have different preferences for naming their babies.

"Isla, the most popular name for girls in 2020, was the most popular name with mothers aged 35 and over, but it only ranked 7th  with mothers aged under 25. However, Olivia, the most popular girls name of 2019, was ranked 1st by younger mothers and 6th by older mothers.

"Jack, the most popular name for boys in 2020, was the 2nd most popular name with mothers aged 35 and above, and only 17th with mothers aged under 25. James was the most popular name for boys with older mothers while Noah was ranked 1st for younger mothers.

"Popular culture often affects how people name their babies. The name Billie rose in popularity by 79% in the past two years with 34 baby girls being given this name in 2020. In the same time, Google searches in the UK for “Billie” and “Billie Eilish” spiked, with the singer having her first number one single in the UK in early 2020.

"Tommy, a name occurring in the popular TV shows Peaky Blinders and Love Island, has doubled in popularity in the last two years, with 148 boys being given this name. Our data shows it is more popular with younger mothers than with older mothers."

You can explore the popularity of first names in Scotland over the years with NRS’s interactive app here.

Today, NRS also published a list of the most common surnames in the Birth, Marriage and Death registers for 2020.  Smith, Brown, and Wilson have been the three most popular surnames since the first list, which is for 1975, and remained the top three in 2020.

The Babies' First Names, 2020 (Full List) and the Most Common Surnames in Birth, Marriage and Death registers are available on the NRS website.

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