Most popular baby names in countries around the world
In the beginning, there was light…and names. For as long as history has been recorded, both orally and in its written form, names have existed. As such, it’s nearly impossible to determine how names originated or how they were chosen. What we do know is that early monikers were often descriptive and not just words folks liked the sound of. For example, centuries ago Irish Gaelic names derived from adjectives, like Fial (“modest”), and nouns, like Aed (“fire”).
Eventually, certain descriptive names like these were used over and over, leaving each culture with a distinctive pool of popular names. Often times, these names have remained while the descriptive words they stemmed from have passed into obscurity, leaving us with no clear answer as to what exactly they mean or why they were chosen for given names in the first place.
Today, the pools of popular names in each culture and country look entirely different than they did thousands of years ago. Aed is no longer a popular name in Ireland, but Conor—a decidedly more modern name—is common. Additionally, 21st-century parents are choosing names for their children based on their originality, familial significance, and sound as well as for their meaning.
Each year, Behind the Name consults different national statistics agencies to derive a list of the most popular baby names around the world. Using this database (last updated in 2019), Stacker takes a closer look at the five most used male and female names in 30 different countries. Most name data on this list dates from 2018, with the exception of the data from Iceland and Israel where the most recent information available was from 2016. We’ve listed the countries alphabetically, and ties in name popularity were not broken.
Click through for more information about the naming traditions and conventions in each country and to see which names are currently reigning supreme.
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- Most popular girls names: Charlotte, Amelia, Olivia, Mia, Ava
- Most popular boys names: Oliver, William, Noah, Jack, Henry
Names given Down Under tend to be similar to those given in Great Britain, the monarchy that established the first continent in the then-unexplored country. However, an assortment of indigenous languages and cultures provides a unique twist to some of the country’s popular names, like Bindi and Kirra.
- Most popular girls names: Anna, Emma, Laura, Marie, Mia/Lena
- Most popular boys names: Paul, David, Jakob, Maximilian, Felix
Much of Austrian culture has been shaped by Germany, including their language and naming conventions. So it should come as no surprise that the two countries share an affinity for the same names, including Emma (a short form of the Germanic name meaning whole) and Paul.
- Most popular girls names: Emma, Olivia, Louise, Mila, Alice
- Most popular boys names: Arthur, Noah, Adam, Louis, Liam
Nicknamed the capital of Europe, Belgium exhibits its multiculturalism by claiming three official languages: Flemish (a variation of Dutch), French, and German. The most popular names in the country are typically derived from one of these country’s naming traditions. That being said, international names, or names popular in other parts of Europe, frequently top “most popular” lists in Belgium as well, as parents are looking for classic names that will never go out of style.
- Most popular girls names: Sara, Amina, Merjem, Esma/Asja
- Most popular boys names: Ahmed, Daris, Amar, Davud, Adin
According to a census published in 2016, Islam is the single largest religion in Bosnia. As a result, many of the names used in the country adhere to Muslim naming laws and are selected for their religious and spiritual significance.
Canada (British Columbia)
- Most popular girls names: Olivia, Emma, Charlotte/Amelia, Chloe
- Most popular boys names: Liam, Lucas, Oliver, Benjamin, Logan
While families in French Canada have typically adhered to Catholic naming traditions, giving their children three names, including a christening name, families in British Columbia have been more modern in their choices. Parents often choose names for their sentimental value or originality over anything else.
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- Most popular girls names: Eliška, Tereza, Anna, Adéla, Natálie
- Most popular boys names: Jakub, Jan, Adam, Tomáš, Matyáš
While parents in many European countries choose to name their young ones after saints, that’s not the case in the Czech Republic: Pew Research shows 72% of people in the country do not identify with any religion. Instead, the country favors names of pagan Slavic origin.
- Most popular girls names: Ida, Emma, Ella/Alma, Sofia
- Most popular boys names: William, Noah, Oscar, Lucas, Victor
Centuries ago in Denmark, newborn babies were often named after deceased family members. As a result, the vast majority of the country’s population was given one of the same 20–25 most popular names. As these traditions have relaxed, a wider variety of Christian and foreign names have become popular in the country, in some cases overtaking these historic names.
England and Wales
- Most popular girls names: Olivia, Amelia, Ava, Isla, Emily
- Most popular boys names: Oliver, George, Harry, Noah, Jack
Traditionally, English infants were given two names upon the event of their christening: the first being a spiritual name, usually that of a favorite saint who was being called upon to watch over the child, and the second name being the one they would go by in everyday life. However, England has no naming laws in place, and as tradition has relaxed nearly anything goes for new little bundles of joy.
- Most popular girls names: Eevi, Sofia, Venla, Ella, Aino
- Most popular boys names: Eeli, Elias, Leo, Oliver, Eino
Many Finnish names have poetic and mythological origins. Take Aino, which means “the only one.” In the tale “Kalevala,” one of the most significant works of Finnish literature, Aino tragically drowns herself rather than marry the epic’s hero, Väinämöinen.
- Most popular girls names: Emma, Jade, Louise, Alice, Chloé
- Most popular boys names: Gabriel, Raphaël, Léo, Louis, Lucas
Classically, French names stem from saints and biblical figures, like the angel Gabriel. Years ago, there was a much smaller pool of popular names in the country thanks to laws dictating approved names, but since these laws have been relaxed there’s been an increase in diversity and originality in monikers for newborns.
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