Skip to content

13 interesting facts about baby names, 1996-2013

ONS looks at the latest trends in baby names in England and Wales


1. A baby girl born in 2013 was more likely to have a unique name than a baby boy

The range of different girls’ names tends to be wider than the range of different names given to boys. However, the range of different names has been increasing over time for baby boys and girls. This is partly explained by an increase in hyphenated names. For example, in 2013 there were 324 different examples of hyphenated boys’ names given to 3 or more boys, up from just 54 in 2003.


2. A royal flush. William, Harry and George jostle for 1st place in the top ten names given to boys in 2013

These names are classic names for boys that have been consistently popular over the last decade and for most of the twentieth century. We are perhaps yet to see the full impact that Prince George will have on the popularity of his name as he was only born halfway through 2013.


3. The Harry Potter effect - Draco, Sirius and Bellatrix have all appeared on the baby names lists


While it is harder to see the impact that J.K. Rowling’s books have had on the popularity of Harry and Ron, it is clear to see the impact of her more inventive names. It is also worth remembering that ONS does not publish names given to 1 or 2 babies, so if you know a Tonks, Marvolo or Regulus that’s probably why they don’t make the list.


4. Cristiano and Thierry both have peaks that correspond with Ronaldo and Henry’s times at English football clubs

Cristiano peaked in 2007, the first time he won the Premier League with Manchester United. Thierry peaked a little earlier, corresponding with Arsenal’s “invincible” season (where they were unbeaten for the whole 2003-2004 season).


5. Which Beckham baby had the biggest impact on baby names?

While all Beckham children appear to have had an impact on the popularity of their name, Harper has had a bigger impact than all of her brothers. 


6. More than just chart success for these pop princesses – their hits also saw higher rankings for their names

Britney shot up the rankings in 1999 following the release of “. . . Baby One More Time” whilst Shakira peaked after “Whenever, Wherever” was released in 2001 and Rihanna after “Umbrella” topped the charts in 2007.


7. Game of Thrones names are starting to appear in the list of baby names given to 3 or more boys

The Lannister (Tyrion) and Greyjoy (Theon) families appear to have the strongest effect on baby boy names, with other unique Game of Thrones boys’ names yet to enter the list this year: Tywin, Joffrey, Petyr and Varys.


8. Has Breaking Bad affected the popularity of Walter and Skyler?

The power couple Walter and Skyler White appear to have had an effect on baby names after the TV series aired and gained popularity. There were also 11 baby boys called Skyler in 2013. 


9. The battle between Thor and Loki continues, but Loki appears to be winning 

The presence of Thor and Loki in the list of baby names for 3 or more boys could be influenced by Norse God mythology, Marvel comic books or Thor films.


10. Since the release of the film Amélie in 2001 there has been an increase in the popularity of the name

Amélie has seen a huge rise in popularity since the release of the award-winning French film ‘Amélie’ in 2001, rising from fewer than 3 baby girls in 1996 to 1,095 in 2013.


11. Renesmee first entered the list of girls’ baby names in 2010

Renesmee was a name created by the Twilight author Stephanie Meyer that made its way onto our list of names given to 3 or more baby girls. This is not a modern phenomenon however; the name “Wendy” created by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie gained popularity throughout the 20th century after the book was published in 1911.


12. Could “The Big Bang Theory” have pushed Penny over the 100 mark?

The popularity of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” appears to have had an effect on the popularity of the name Penny, whereas Sheldon and Leonard have both fallen down the rankings since 1996.


13. Did Alfie Moon and Alfie Allen really have an impact on the popularity of the name Alfie?

Alfie appears to have had several pop culture influences across the period 1996-2013. These include the character Alfie Moon appearing in Eastenders in 2002 and the release of the Lily Allen single “Alfie” (which was about her brother, Alfie Allen) in 2007.  The remake of the film “Alfie” in 2004 may also have had an impact. Interestingly, this means that Alfie Allen appears twice in this list as he is also the actor who plays Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. 


You can investigate baby names further using this interactive tool. Why not try Ruby, Leona, Dexter or Apple to start?

You might also like to view our infographics on the top fifty names given to boys and girls in 2003 and 2013 or our infographic on births in 2013.

If it's data you're after you can also access the time series data for baby names for boys and girls in England and Wales, 1996-2013 (14.42 Mb Excel sheet) and historical data on the top 100 baby names for every ten years from 1904 to 1994 (122.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Categories: Population, Births and Fertility, Live Births and Stillbirths, Live Births, Birth Registrations
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.