25 February 2022
Go to release: Irish Babies' Names 2021
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (25 February 2022) released statistics on Irish Babies’ Names 2021. Commenting on the trends in Irish baby names, Gerard Doolan, Statistician, said “Jack has retained the top spot as the most popular baby boys’ name in 2021, a position it has held since 2007 except for 2016, when James was the most popular choice. Jack was followed by Noah, James, Conor and Rían as the five most popular names for boys in 2021.
Fiadh claimed the top spot for girls for the first time, followed by Grace, Emily, Sophie and Éabha. These were the top five names of choice by parents for their newly arrived baby girls in 2021. Grace, Emily and Sophie have been permanent fixtures in the top five names for baby girls every year since 2016.
Looking back 50 years ago to 1971, John, Michael, Patrick, David and James were the names most favoured by parents of newborn baby boys. There were 198 male newborns named John in 2021, compared with 2,654 in 1971.
Interestingly, not one of the top five names for girls in 2021 appeared in the top 100 names a half century earlier. Mary, Catherine, Margaret, Fiona and Sinead were the most popular names for baby daughters in 1971, with 1,907 baby girls named Mary in that year. In 2021, there were 424 baby girls named Fiadh, 22.2% of the number of girls given the name Mary (1,907) in 1971.
Fiadh has improved her ranking every year since 2009 when it was the 488th most popular girls name. In recent years, Fiadh has continued to increase in popularity, ranking 3rd in 2019, to 2nd in 2020 before now taking the top ranking in 2021. As is evident from the tables, over the years, girls are given a wider variety of names than boys with 4,741 girls’ names registered in 2021 compared to 3,863 boys’ names.
After only one new entrant into the top 100 names for boys in 2020, there were 10 new entrants for 2021. The names Teddy, Daithí, Páidí, Jaxon, Brody, Ted, Hunter, Tadgh, Tiernan and Arlo all featured in the top 100 boys’ names for 2021. The boys’ name with the most growth in popularity in terms of rank between 2020 and 2021 was Ted, jumping 49 places from 139th place to 90th place.
There were three new entrants to the top 100 for girls: Indie, Ayla and Lottie. Croía is the girls' name that has grown the most in popularity in 2021, jumping 43 places, rising from 95th place in 2020 to 52nd in 2021.
Some less common names for boys included Rome, Kobie, Thady, Saul and Eanna. Less popular girls’ names included Sky, Princess, Valerie, Ophelia and Noelle.
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
Gerard Doolan (+353) 21 453 5130 or David Griffin (+353) 21 453 5273
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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