Muhammad replaces William in the top 10 boys’ names

Arabic moniker is by far the most popular if different spellings are accounted for

Thursday 21 September 2017 00:46 BST
Royal names Charlotte and George continued to gain popularity
Royal names Charlotte and George continued to gain popularity (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Muhammad has replaced William in the top ten most popular boys' names in England and Wales.

The name has risen 35 places in the past decade, and now sits in eighth spot, with 3,908 boys born last year being given it.

But if different spellings of the moniker are accounted for – including Mohammed and Mohammad – the Arabic name is by far the most popular boys' name overall.

Among newborn girls, Olivia toppled Amelia from the top spot.

The list, released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), demonstrates that popular culture has had a significant affect on choices of baby names.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of parenting site, said: “The most popular new boys' names are from a galaxy far, far away. Both Finn – from the Force Awakens – and Ezra, from Star Wars Rebels, are double-digit climbers.”

She added: “Meanwhile ethereal and natural names are the fastest-growing fashion for girls. Aria has been popularised by Game Of Thrones where it is spelt Arya, but given a modern twist by parents with a new spelling. Moon-inspired name Luna has leapt by a huge 52 places while Willow, Iris and Ivy all continue to creep up the chart.”

While TV shows were a noticeable theme, half of the most popular boys names have remained in the top 10 since 2006. Oliver, Harry, Jack, Charlie and Thomas made last year's cut.

Royal names Charlotte and George continued their ascent, with George ranked the third most popular name for boys, and Charlotte closing in on the top 10, at 12th place.

Poppy dropped out of the top 10 for girls, replaced by Lily, however Olivia, Emily, Lily and Jessica have remained over the decade. Felicity, Iris, Luna and Lydia, entered the top 100 for girls' names last year, replacing Bethany, Hollie, Katie and Lacey.

Nick Stripe, a statistician at the ONS, said: “It is as you move down the rankings that you begin to notice social and cultural changes being reflected in name choices. Harper was the girls' name in the top 100 in 2016 with the biggest rise in popularity over the previous 10 years, whilst for boys it was Jaxon.”

The data is based on live births which occurred in the calendar year, of which there were 696,271 in 2016.

Some 64,000 different baby names were recorded, while 20 births were registered without a name in 2016.

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Founder and CEO, said: “Not a huge amount of surprises in this year's list — perhaps, at a time when lots of things feel very uncertain, parents are turning to familiar baby names that will stand the test of time. There's a pleasing symmetry to Olivia and Oliver being the top names for boys and girls.”

Press Association contributed to this report

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