What's Happening in Belfast blog

Top baby names are Jack and Sophie

The two most popular names in Northern Ireland have remained Jack and Sophie, for the second year in a row.

260 girls were named Sophie and 300 boys registered as Jack in 2011 in results discovered by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Jack has been the most popular name for boys in Northern Ireland since 2003 and Sophie has been the leading choice for girls since 2010. James and Grace came in second place, while Katie was one of the names that has fallen out of the top ten despite being the most popular girl’s name from 2004 to 2009

Jake has been the highest mover within the boy’s top 20, jumping from 20th to 13th place. Lily has moved from 15th to 5th place while Ava, Leah and Hannah, which were in the top 20 in 2010, have fallen out of the top 20.

NISRA statician, Dr David Marshall, said that the results offer an interesting insight into baby names trends in Northern Ireland: “Famous people, popular culture, grandparents, family names and even the time of year can influence a name,” he said. What is interesting now is among girls, specifically names like Olivia, Grace and Emily, to some extent, one might think of those as names your grandmother may have, but they are back in fashion again. The research shows over the last decade parents have become more diverse in the first names they have given to their babies. In 2011 there were 2,200 girls’ and 1,600 boys’ names used, this compared with 1,600 girls’ and 1,000 boys’ names in 2001.”

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