Belfast Telegraph

Jack and Emily top baby names list

Old-fashioned favourites Jack and Emily remain way out in front of seemingly celebrity-inspired baby names.

Mason, Donnacha and Harry for boys, and Lexi, Lily and Michaela for girls were among the top 100 baby names in 2011, with some appearing for the first time ever in last year's list.

Jack held on to the top spot for the fifth year in a row, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Some 840 of the 38,223 boys born in 2011 were given the name, while Emily was up one place to the top spot for the first time as the choice for 596 of the 36,427 girls born last year.

Boys' names making up the top five included James, Sean, Daniel and Connor, while Harry shot up from 20 to eighth most popular. The soaring fame of One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles may have been more than coincidental.

Sophie, Emma, Grace and Lily made up the rest of the top five girls' names - the latter a new entry in the top 10 from 14th place the year before. Donnacha, Tommy and Zach were listed as first-time entries in the top 100.

Tommy - the name given to the son of Eastenders' Kat and Alfie Moon in a controversial baby-switch plot last year - and Mason - the choice for reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian - saw the biggest jump in popularity.

Lexi - a lead character in hospital drama Grey's Anatomy and teen fantasy favourite The Vampire Diaries - and Michaela made their first entries into the top 100.

A total 74,650 babies were registered last year - a drop of 326 from 2010, but a 23.3% hike from 2002 when just 60,521 births were recorded. The average age of mothers was 31.8, while almost two-fifths of births were to first-time mothers with an average age of 29.8.

Elsewhere, the CSO figures also showed a 44% drop in the number of new teenage mothers in the 10 years up to last year, falling from 3,087 in 2001 to 1,720 in 2011. Director of the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme, Stephanie O'Keeffe, said the reduction in 15 to 19-year-olds giving birth was due to better sex education and greater use of contraception.

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