According to the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS), there were 640,270 babies born in England and Wales in 2019, with 62,810 different names chosen. Interestingly, the most popular girl’s and boy’s name were exactly the same for the second year running – Oliver and Olivia – both of which could stick around for a while.
Furthermore, ONS research found mothers under the age of 25 tended to lean towards shorter, more modern names like Harper – perhaps inspired by Beckham's daughter born in 2011 – and simpler, shortened versions of classic boys' names like Freddie, Tommy and Alfie. Older mothers over the age of 35 appeared to prefer more traditional monikers like Charlotte and Jack.
Other trend-led names include Dua (after the musician), as well as Isla, Ava, Mia and Ada, while boys’ names also tended towards the shorter, including Noah, Theo and Louis – which rose 16 places after being given the Royal seal of approval in 2018.
A boy’s name of Latin origins meaning ‘olive tree’, this name first gained popularity in medieval England before losing favour during the 17th century, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell. Even so, Goldie Hawn and Bridget Fonda both chose it for their sons.
From the Greek meaning ‘farmer,’ George was among the top ten boys names from 1830 to 1950, but has since seen a huge resurgence in popularity after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose it for their firstborn son, Prince George, in 2013.
The Hebrew name Noah means ‘rest’ or ‘wandering’, and is most famous for its biblical origins. Michael Bublé chose it for his son, while the female variant Noa, is also becoming more popular.
A boy's name of Celtic origin meaning ‘bear’, we all remember tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. More recently, it’s been made famous by playwright Arthur Miller, tennis player Arthur Ashe and Pippa Middleton’s infant son.
The medieval English form of Henry, Harry is actually derived from the German Heimrich, meaning ‘estate ruler’. Ever since Princess Diana named her second son Harry it’s been a popular choice, further cemented by Harry Potter and Harry Styles.
Taken from the Latin and German meaning ‘lion’, Leo was a common choice among the Romans, and in the Catholic world. Indeed, 13 different popes have adopted the name.
Meaning ‘praiseworthy’ in Arabic, there are over 500 names for the Arab prophet who founded the Muslim religion, which is why it continues to be one of the most popular names in the world.
The English name Jack, meaning ‘God is gracious’, is originally derived from the name John – which originated in medieval England. A nursery rhyme favourite, it was the most popular name in the UK until Oliver knocked it off the top spot.
Derived from the classic English name Charles, Charlie means ‘free man’, but is an increasingly popular choice for girls, too. Famous Charlies include Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Sheen and of course, Charlie’s Angels.
Meaning ‘God spear, deer-lover or champion warrior’ Oscar has both Irish and Norse roots, but continues to be a favourite across all English-speaking countries. Hugh Jackman and Gillian Anderson both chose it for their respective sons.
Best of the rest…
Taken from the Latin meaning ‘olive tree’, Olivia has found enduring popularity in the UK, US and all English-speaking countries. It’s also extremely popular among some of the industry best-loved actresses – think Olivia Newton-John, Olivia Coleman and Olivia Wilde.
Derived from the word ‘work’ in German, Amelia was chosen by British Kings George II and III for their daughters. In more recent times, namesakes have included American aviator Amelia Earhart and feminist Amelia Bloomer.
Meaning ‘island’, the name Isla is of Spanish and Scottish descent, and has increasingly grown in popularity in recent years. Queen Elizabeth even has a great-granddaughter named Isla Elizabeth Phillips.
Taken from the Latin meaning ‘life; bird; water or island’, Ava has remained a popular choice ever since Ava Gardner took to the stage in Hollywood’s Golden era. More recently, Hugh Jackman chose Ava for his daughter.
A name of Italian and Scandinavian descent, Mia means ‘mine or bitter’ – but don’t let that put you off. It originated as a shortened version of Maria, but has found universal appeal for its simplicity. Mia Farrow rocked the name in the 60s, while Kate Winslet also chose it for her firstborn.
Meaning ‘pledged to God’, the name Isabella is of Spanish, Hebrew and Italian origin and is equal parts modern and traditional. Popular since Shakespearean times, when it was used in the play Measure For Measure, it’s safe to say many of us know an Izzy or a Bella.
Of Greek origin meaning ‘wisdom’, this name is among some of the most popular in the western world. Jude Law and Sylvester Stallone each chose it for their respective offspring.
Derived from gratia, the Latin word for ‘grace’, this name has proved popular for both first and middle names in recent years. Celebrities can’t get enough of it, either, with everyone from Mark Wahlberg to Ed Burns and Christy Turlington choosing it for their daughters.
This English girl’s name takes its inspiration from the flower and is popular for its femininity. Kate Beckinsale, Greg Kinnear and Johnny Depp all chose it for their daughters, and singer Lily Allen and actress Lily James rock it, too.
This Norse name, meaning ‘noble woman’, finds its provenance in the Norse goddess of love, beauty and fertility, and has been one of the biggest climbers in the popular charts of late.