Baby names in England and Wales: 2020

Most popular first names for baby boys and girls in 2020 using birth registration data.

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This is an accredited National Statistic. Click for information about types of official statistics.

Cyswllt:
Email Siân Bradford

Dyddiad y datganiad:
18 October 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
To be announced

1. Main points

  • Oliver and Olivia remained the most popular names for boys and girls in England and Wales in 2020 for the fifth consecutive year.

  • Ivy and Rosie replaced Grace and Freya in the top 10 girls’ names, while Archie replaced Charlie in the top 10 boys’ names.

  • Mothers aged 35 years and over continued to choose more traditional names, while younger mothers opted for more modern and shortened names.

  • Despite Oliver being the top boys’ name for England and Wales, regionally it was only top in the North East.

Statistician’s comment

“Oliver and Olivia held onto the top spots as the most popular boys’ and girls’ names in 2020 but some interesting changes took place beneath them. We continue to see the age of mothers having an impact on the choice of baby name. Archie jumped into the top 10 boys’ names for the first time, driven by younger mothers as well as the obvious Royal link. While on the girls’ side Ivy rose to sixth place.

“Popular culture continues to provide inspiration for baby names, whether it’s characters in our favourite show or trending celebrities. Maeve and Otis, characters from the popular programme ‘Sex Education’, have seen a surge in popularity in 2020. While the name Margot has been rapidly climbing since actress Margot Robbie appeared in the popular film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’."

Siân Bradford, Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, Office for National Statistics.

Follow us on Twitter @ONSJames

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2. Top baby names

Oliver and Olivia were the most popular baby names in 2020 across England and Wales. Oliver has remained at the top for the past eight years, while Olivia has been the top girls’ name for five years in a row.

Since 2010, Ivy has risen 221 places to become the sixth most popular girls name in England and Wales in 2020. Ivy and Rosie entered the top 10 for the first time, replacing Grace and Freya.

Arthur and Noah have seen an increase in popularity over the last two decades both rising over 200 places in the ranks to the boys’ top five in 2019 and 2017 respectively (Figure 1). In 2020, Archie entered the top 10 for the first-time replacing Charlie. This is the first time Charlie has not been in the top 10 since 2005.

In 2020, the largest movers into the top 100 boys’ names in England and Wales were Milo (80th) and Otis (96th), both rising 28 places since 2019.

Maeve has risen 124 places since 2019 and was the largest new entry into the top 100 girls’ names (94th) in England and Wales for 2020.

Figure 1: The top 100 baby boys’ and girls’ names for 2020 have varied in popularity over time

England and Wales, 1996 to 2020

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Notes:
  1. Ranks of 1,000 or more are included in the chart for presentational purposes.
Download the data

.xlsx

The top 100 boys’ and girls’ names for 2020 are also available for England and for Wales separately in our datasets.

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3. Baby names by age of mother

The trends seen in 2019 continued into 2020 when the choice of name tended to differ between older and younger mothers.

For girls, mothers aged 35 years and over continued to choose more traditional names, while younger mothers opted for more modern names.

The trend continued with boys’ names where younger mothers chose less traditional or shortened versions of traditional names.

Figure 2a: Mothers aged 35 years and over chose more traditional girls’ names

Top 10 baby names for girls, by mothers’ age in years, England and Wales, 2020

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Notes:
  1. Figures reflect baby names that ranked in the top 10 for at least one age-group. The corresponding rank for each of the other age-groups has been included for comparison purposes (not to scale).

  2. The full list of the top 100 names per age-group are available in table 8 of our dataset.

Download the data

.xlsx

Figure 2b: More mothers aged under 25 years chose shortened versions of traditional boys’ names

Top 10 baby names for boys, by mothers’ age in years, England and Wales, 2020

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Notes:
  1. Figures reflect baby names that ranked in the top 10 for at least one age-group. The corresponding rank for each of the other age-groups has been included for comparison purposes (not to scale).

  2. The full list of the top 100 names per age-group are available in table 8 of our dataset.

Download the data

.xlsx

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4. Baby names by mother's usual area of residence

Despite Oliver being the top boys’ name for England and Wales, regionally it was only top in the North East. Muhammad was top in four regions of England and Arthur in three regions. In Wales, Noah was the top boys’ name but only the fourth most popular name in England and Wales combined.

In 2020, 24.5% of local authorities had at least one top boys’ name that was not in the top 10 for England and Wales. The lowest ranking top name for a local authority was Jac, who ranked 420th for England and Wales but was the top name for Ceredigion.

Figure 3: Explore the top 100 boys’ names by local authority

England and Wales, 2020

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Source: Office for National Statistics - Baby names in England and Wales
Notes:
  1. Figures are based on mothers’ usual area of residence.
Download the data

.xlsx

Olivia was the most popular girls’ name across all regions in England and Wales except for the West Midlands and London where Amelia was the most popular.

Across all local authorities in England and Wales, over a third had at least one top girls’ name that was not in the top 10 in England and Wales. One of the lowest ranking top names for a local authority was Maryam which ranked 86th for England and Wales but was the top name in Blackburn with Darwen, Luton, Pendle, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.

Figure 4: Explore the top 100 girls’ names by local authority

England and Wales, 2020

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Source: Office for National Statistics - Baby names in England and Wales
Notes:
  1. Figures are based on mothers’ usual area of residence.
Download the data

.xlsx

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5. Baby names data

Baby names for girls in England and Wales
Dataset | Released 18 October 2021
Rank and count of the top names for baby girls, changes in rank since the previous year and breakdown by country, region and month of birth.

Baby names for boys in England and Wales
Dataset | Released 18 October 2021
Rank and count of the top names for baby boys, changes in rank since the previous year and breakdown by country, region and month of birth.

Baby names in England and Wales: from 1996
Dataset | Release 18 October 2021
Rank and count of baby names for boys and girls in England and Wales, 1996 to 2020.

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6. Glossary

Live birth

A live birth is a baby showing signs of life at birth.

Stillbirth

A stillbirth is a baby born after 24 or more weeks completed gestation and that did not, at any time, breathe or show signs of life.  

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7. Measuring the data

Birth statistics represent births that occur and are then registered in England and Wales. Figures are derived from information recorded when live births and stillbirths are registered as part of civil registration, a legal requirement; these data represent the most complete data source available.

The registration of births is a service carried out by the Local Registration Service in partnership with the General Register Office (GRO), in England and Wales.

Baby name statistics are compiled from first names recorded when live births are registered in England and Wales as part of civil registration. Statistics are based only on live births, as there is no public register of stillbirths.

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Baby names QMI.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and birth statistics

Delays in birth registrations because of the coronavirus pandemic have affected 2020 data; in normal circumstances, births should be registered within 42 days and our annual data extract only includes births registered before 25 February.

Birth registration services in England and Wales were temporarily suspended in March 2020. From June 2020 registration services restarted where it was safe to do so. In line with the Office for National Statistics' (ONS') response on the production of statistics during the pandemic, we have been monitoring the implications of any delays in births registrations. In 2020, 42% of registrations came in after 42 days (the usual legal limit). Therefore, we decided to include all births registered up to 12 August 2021 in the 2020 dataset to ensure that our birth statistics for 2020 are as complete as possible and comparable with previous years. For more information, please see Births in England and Wales explained: 2020 and our User guide to birth statistics.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Our User guide to birth statistics provides further information on data quality, legislation and procedures relating to births, and it includes a glossary of terms.

National Statistics status for Births in England and Wales

National Statistics status means that our statistics meet the highest standard of trustworthiness, quality and public value, and it is our responsibility to maintain compliance with these standards.

You can view our most recent full assessment with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics which was completed in September 2011.

Improvements since last review:

  • revisions to the way statistics are produced are explained in the user guide, detailing the year the change took place and reason why
  • in cases where corrections were implemented, they were accompanied by explanations of the change and the reasons why where applicable, we added additional background information into our User guide and QMI to inform the user of the differences - in methods between the UK countries and the reasons underlying these differences
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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Siân Bradford
health.data@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 1329 444110