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Press Statement

Preasráiteas

28 February 2019

Irish Babies' Names 2018

Jack and Emily were the most popular names registered in 2018
  • 50 years earlier, in 1968, John and Mary were top of the tots
  • For names registered in 2018, the sĂ­neadh fada and other diacritics are identified for the first time

Go to release: Irish Babies' Names 2018

The CSO has today (28 February 2019) released statistics on Irish Babies’ Names 2018.

Commenting on the report, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician, said: “This publication will for the first time, distinguish names registered in 2018 which contain the síneadh fada and other diacritics (see Editor’s Note)."

Commenting on the trends in Irish baby names, Carol Anne Hennessy continued: "Emily retains the top spot for girls, and with Grace, Emma, Sophie and Amelia, were the top five names of choice by parents for their newly arrived baby girls in 2018. Jack has retained the top spot as the most popular baby boys name in 2018, a position it has held since 2007, except for 2016, when James was the most popular choice. Jack was followed by James, Noah, Conor and Daniel as the first five most popular names for boys in 2018.

Back in 1968, John, Patrick, Michael, James and David were the names most favoured by parents of new born baby boys. While there were 2,863 baby boys named John 50 years ago, the five most popular boys’ names in 2018 together accounted for 2,691 baby boys. 

Interestingly, not one of the top five names for girls appeared in the top 100 names a half century earlier. Mary, Catherine, Margaret, Ann and Anne were the most popular names for baby daughters in 1968, with 2,364 baby girls named Mary in that year. In 2018, there were 460 baby girls named Emily, 19.5% of the number of girls given the name Mary in 1968.

As is evident from the tables, over the years girls are given a wider variety of names than boys with 4,779 girls names registered compared to 3,712 boys’.

Frankie, Freddie and Theodore were new entrants into the top 100 for boys in 2018. Theodore and Frankie were also the names rising most in popularity, increasing 63 and 31 places respectively.

There were four new entrants to the top 100 for girls: Ada, Bella, Bonnie and Ivy. Ada gained 67 places, moving from 137th to 70th place between 2017 and 2018. Ivy also rose from 137th place to 84th over the same period.

Some less popular names for boys included Diego, Ruan, Casper, Donal and Felix. Less popular girls’ names included Tessa, Mae, Arianna, Faith and Helen.

A regional breakdown of the most popular boys’ and girls’ names is also available in the publication.”

Editor's Note:

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published babies’ forenames since 1998 and it receives this data from the General Registration Office (GRO). At the beginning of the collection process, names had to be manually inputted on a database from paper records. This was a labour-intensive task and a decision was taken in 1998 to input names without sínte fada. When data became digitally available it was decided to continue as before, as any change would result in a break in the series.

However, following the launch in 2017 of the CSO’s popular ‘Baby Names of Ireland’ App, feedback was received from users that sínte fada should be included. The CSO discussed the matter with the GRO and testing was successfully carried out in mid-2018.

The publication of today’s 2018 baby names data will be the first year of the new series as it includes forenames to account for sínte fada and other diacritics. Unfortunately, this change, while welcome to users, will introduce a break in the series as it is not feasible to back cast older data.

Over the coming weeks, the CSO’s Baby Name app will be updated to distinguish names registered in 2018 and beyond which contain the síneadh fada and other diacritics.

For further information contact:

Carol Anne Hennessy (+353) 21 453 5307 or Marie Crowley (+353) 21 453 5016

or email vitalstats@cso.ie

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