Belfast Telegraph

Jack and Sophie take the title for top baby names

By Victoria O'Hara

Jack and Sophie were the most popular names in Northern Ireland for babies in 2011 — for the second year in a row.

Almost 300 baby boys were named Jack and around 260 baby girls were registered as Sophie so far this year.

The list of top baby names were revealed in the survey by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

The name Jack has been the most popular boy’s name since 2003 and Sophie has been the top female choice since 2010.

James and Grace came in second place, both climbing from third most popular in 2010.

Emily has climbed from fourth to third position.

Katie, however, which was the most popular girl’s name from 2004 to 2009, has fallen out of the top 10 names this year.

According to the new statistics, Jake was the largest mover within the boys’ top 20 between 2010 and 2011, jumping from 20 to 13th place.

And Lily moved from 15th place in 2010 to fifth place now.

But Ava, Leah and Hannah, which were ranked in the top 20 girls’ names in 2010, have fallen out of the top 20.

The names Alfie and Riley are the only new boys’ names to enter the top 20 in 2011.

But Ben and Callum, ranked in the top 20 boys’ names in 2010, have fallen from the top 20 in 2011. Dr David Marshall, NISRA statician, said the latest results give an interesting insight into the trends of baby names in Northern Ireland.

“Famous people, popular culture, grandparents, family names and even the time of year can influence a name,” he said.

The lists also show the shift in popularity of names in the last 14 years and the top 10 names in 1975.

Dr Marshall said: “What is interesting now is among girls, specifically names like Olivia, Grace and Emily, to some extent, one might think of those as names your grandmother may have, but they are back in fashion again.

“The research shows over the last decade parents have become more diverse in the first names they have given to their babies.

“In 2011 there were 2,200 girls’ and 1,600 boys’ names used, this compared with 1,600 girls' and 1,000 boys' names in 2001.”

David still featured in the top 20 names in 1997, however by 2010 it has fallen to number 45.

Top 10 names then and now

Most popular boys’ and girls’ names, 1975

1. David, Joanne

2. Paul, Karen

3. John, Catherine

4. Mark, Julie

5. Stephen, Sharon

6. Michael, Mary

7. William, Claire

8. James, Lisa

9. Jonathan, Michelle

10. Robert, Nicola

Most popular boys’ and girls’ names, 2011

1. Jack, Sophie

2. James, Grace

3. Matthew, Emily

4. Ethan, Sophia

5. Daniel, Lily

6. Harry, Lucy

7. Ryan, Jessica

8. Charlie, Chloe

9. Conor, Eva

10.Thomas, Olivia

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