26 February 2021
Go to release: Irish Babies' Names 2020
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (26 February 2021) released statistics on Irish Babies’ Names 2020. Commenting on the report, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician, said “This publication will, for the third consecutive year, distinguish names registered in 2020 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: “Jack has retained the top spot as the most popular baby boys’ name in 2020, a position it has held since 2007 except for 2016, when James was the most popular choice. Jack was followed by James, Noah, Daniel and Conor as the five most popular names for boys in 2020.
Grace claims the top spot for girls for the first time, followed by Fiadh, Emily, Sophie and Ava. These were the top five names of choice by parents for their newly arrived baby girls in 2020. Emily held top position for the girls for nine consecutive years (since 2011) until 2020 when it earned the bronze medal spot behind Grace and Fiadh.
Back in 1970, John, Michael, Patrick, David and James were the names most favoured by parents of new-born baby boys. There were 193 male new-borns named John in 2020, just over 7.3% of the number of boys given the name John (2,629) in 1970.
Interestingly, not one of the top five names for girls in 2020 appeared in the top 100 names a half century earlier. Mary, Catherine, Margaret, Ann and Sharon were the most popular names for baby daughters in 1970, with 1,896 baby girls named Mary in that year. In 2020, there were 410 baby girls named Grace, 21.6% of the number of girls given the name Mary (1,896) in 1970.
Ava reclaims her position in the top five names for girls in 2020, (coming in at number five) for the first time since 2016 when it was the third most popular name chosen for baby girls.
As is evident from the tables, over the years, girls are given a wider variety of names than boys with 4,624 girls’ names registered compared to 3,715 boys’ names.
Sonny was the only new entrant into the top 100 for boys in 2020. The boys’ names with most growth in popularity in terms of rank between 2019 and 2020 were Rian rising most in popularity, jumping 33 places from 119th place to 86th place. Similarly, Eoghan moved 29 places from 108th place in 2019 to 79th in 2020.
There were seven new entrants to the top 100 for girls: Penny, Luna, Cora, Fíadh (with a síneadh fada), Croía, Elsie and Paige. Croía has grown most in popularity, rising from 162nd place in 2019 to 95th in 2020, a jump of 67 places. Cora jumped in popularity from 127th place in 2019 to 90th place in 2020, a rise in 37 places.
Some less popular names for boys included Orion, Creed, Romeo, Klay and Séadna. Less popular girls’ names included Zaria, Vienna, Fódhla, Marlee and Roxie.
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 síneadh fadas. 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 síneadh fadas 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 síneadh fadas 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.
Link to Visualisation Tool: Baby Names of Ireland
Carol Anne Hennessy (+353) 21 453 5307 or John G. O'Connor (+353) 21 453 5787
or email email@example.com
-- ENDS --