28 February 2020
Go to release: Irish Babies' Names 2019
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (28 February 2020) released statistics on Irish Babies’ Names 2019. Commenting on the report, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician, said “This publication will, for the second consecutive year, distinguish names registered in 2019 which contain the síneadh fada and other diacritics (see Editor’s Note).”
Commenting on the trends in Irish baby names, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician continued: “Emily retains the top spot for girls, followed by Grace, Fiadh, Sophie and Hannah. These were the top five names of choice by parents for their newly arrived baby girls in 2019. Jack has retained the top spot as the most popular baby boys name in 2019, 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 2019.
Back in 1969, John, Patrick, Michael, James and Thomas were the names most favoured by parents of new-born baby boys. There were 209 male new-borns named John in 2019, just over 7% of the number of boys given the name John in 1969.
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 Elizabeth were the most popular names for baby daughters in 1969, with 2,182 baby girls named Mary in that year. In 2019, there were 452 baby girls named Emily, 20.7% of the number of girls given the name Mary in 1969.
As is evident from the tables, over the years, girls are given a wider variety of names than boys with 4,814 girls’ names registered compared to 3,725 boys’ names.
Odhrán with the síneadh fada, Eli, Ruairí and Joey were new entrants into the top 100 for boys in 2019. The boys’ names with most growth in popularity in terms of rank between 2018 and 2019 were Odhrán, with and without the síneadh fada, together with Eli, Kayden and Ruairí.
There were two new entrants to the top 100 for girls: Doireann and Méabh (with síneadh fada). Alexandra, Heidi and Hollie were the girls’ names growing most in popularity with Alexandra moving up 25 places and Heidi and Hollie both moving 20 places in the rankings between 2018 and 2019.
Some less popular names for boys included Teidí, Saul, Dexter and Ruán. Less popular girls’ names included Féile, Jorja, Kyrah and Constance.
A regional breakdown of the most popular boys’ and girls’ names is available in the publication.”
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 2016 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 the 2018 baby names data was the first year of the new series, i.e. forenames to include sínte fada and other diacritics. Unfortunately, this change, while welcome to users, introduced a break in the series as it was not feasible to back cast older data.
The CSO’s Baby Name app has been updated to distinguish names registered in 2018 and beyond which contain the síneadh fada and other diacritics.
Carol Anne Hennessy (+353) 21 453 5307 or Marie Crowley (+353) 21 453 5016
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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