James and Grace still top choices for boys and girls
Ever, Wolfe, Harley-Quinn and Nirvana are just some of the more unusual names Northern Ireland parents gave their new-born babies in 2020.
The ever-popular James and Grace retained their position as the most commonly used names.
The information on baby names was released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) on Wednesday, after tallying the names of all registered births in Northern Ireland in 2020.
Last year saw 10,100 girls and 10,840 boys born in Northern Ireland, with some musically themed names such as Bowie, Bono, Jagger and Rihanna all used. Movie-inspired names included tributes to Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky character, Top Gun’s Maverick, actresses Emily Blunt and Angelina Jolie, and actor Denzel Washington. Names such as Ever, Triumph, Wolfe, River, Porsche and Vogue were also included in NISRA’s more unusual list.
“Blockbuster movies, popular television series, current celebrities and memorable places continue to appear to be influencing factors for some parents,” a NISRA spokesperson said.
While old favourites remained high on the list, birth registrations in 2020 included 866 baby names that had not been used before.
Over the past year 190 new baby boys were named James, while 176 girls were named Grace. Grace has been the most popular girls’ name since 2018, and has been in the top three most popular girls names for the past 15 years.
James has held on to the top spot for boys even longer — six years — and has been in the top five since records began in 1997. Compared with boys, a greater number of girls’ names have held the top spot.
Other popular boys’ names include Jack, which came in second place after being top from 2003 to 2014, and Noah, which was joint most popular with James in 2018, before falling to third the following year.
The rest of the top ten is made up with Charlie, Oliver, Thomas, Finn, Theo, Cillian and Harry.
Cillian and Finn feature in the top 10 for the first time in 2020. Within the boys’ top 100, the highest climbers in popularity were Senan, Kai and Brody.
For baby girls the second most popular name was Emily, which has been in that position for the past three years. Isla was in third place.
The top ten was rounded out by Fiadh, Olivia, Sophia, Sophie, Amelia, Lucy, with Ella and Freya in joint 10th position. Fiadh entered the top 10 for the first time, while the highest climbers in the top 100 were Arabella, Aoibheann, and Matilda.
The five most popular names in the Belfast City Council area in 2020 were James (32), Noah (30), Freya (29), Grace (28) and Jack (27).
Since 1997, 7,205 boys have been named Jack and 4,379 girls were called Sophie — the most popular names in Northern Ireland since records began.
Other popular boys’ names have included Matthew (6,024), Ryan (5,035), Joshua (3,634) and Ethan (3,553). The all-time girls’ names saw Chloe (4,362), Emma (4,152), Hannah (3,539) and Lucy (3,420) included in the top 10.