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It’s a flood of Noahs but Jack and Sophie take top baby name spots

Perhaps it’s our traditional wet weather and soggy climate.

The name Noah has taken an unexpected surge in popularity among the parents of newborn boys in Northern Ireland.

According to the baby name stats for 2012, Jack has hit the top spot for the 10th year in a row for baby boys here while Sophie proved the most popular first choice for girls.

But the official records by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) have also revealed less traditional names such as Noah and Riley are quickly moving up the table as first choices for boys.

Riley was the largest mover within the boys’ top 20, rising from 18 in 2011 to nine.

Meanwhile, Noah jumped to the 10th spot from 13.

The name enjoyed a surge in popularity, perhaps influenced by celebrity parents. Listeners to the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 will know the name is mentioned daily.

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A recording of his three-year-old son Noah is heard regularly on the show cheering on listeners.

And the name Riley has also received more of a higher public profile.

The granddaughter of Elvis Presley —Riley Keough — is carving out an acting career working alongside Twilight’s Kirsten Stewart in the 2010 movie The Runaways.

It also appears that American singer Miley Cyrus is having an influence on parents when it comes to picking a name, with it rising from 135th place to 79th.

Jacob and Mason are the only new boys’ names to enter the top 20 in 2012.

For the girls Amelia, perhaps influenced by X Factor finalist Amelia Lily, is the only new name to enter the top 20 girls’ names in 2012, rising 29 places to fourth spot.

Sophie might have been the top choice for the third year in a row but Aoife was the highest climber within the girls’ top 20, rising from rank 15 last year to 10.

Not proving as popular are Jamie, Luke and Michael, which were ranked in the top 20 boys’ names in 2011 but have now fallen out. The records also show an apparent dip in the popularity of Irish names, other than Aoife.

The greatest drops from the top 100 of last year were Calum, down 93 places over the year to rank 187, Padraig, down 49 places to rank 137, and Conan, down 28 places to rank 127.

But Ruairi fell from the top 100 last year before re-entering at the 73rd spot this year.

Girls’ names which dropped out of the top 100 between 2011 and 2012 include Julia, which has fallen from rank 68 to rank 116, Ciara, dropping from 70 to 123, and Victoria, which has fallen by 49 places to 127.

The majority of the top 10 boys’ names from a decade ago are present in the top 20 in 2012,with just one exception, Ben, which has fallen from eighth in 2002 to 33rd in 2012.

Top of the tots 2012


1 Jack

2 James

3 Daniel

4 Harry

5 Charlie

6 Ethan

7 Matthew

8 Ryan

9 Riley

10 Noah


1 Sophie

2 Emily

3 Grace

4 Amelia

5 Jessica

6 Lucy

7 Sophia

8 Katie

9 Eva

10 Aoife

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