James and Fiadh most popular new born names in Newry, Mourne and Down

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Thursday 27 May 2021 8:05

JAMES and Fiadh are the two most popular names for new borns in Newry, Mourne and Down.

IN earlier generations, far fewer names were used than is the case today.

And in view of the diversity of religions and cultural backgrounds in modern-day Northern Ireland, in tandem with the growth of atheistic secularism, the term 'Christian name' has been jettisoned. Nowadays 'first name' is the parlance.

In the latest statistics for names given to new-born children, alternative spellings are treated as separate names - Amelia and Amelija are examples of this.

On the other hand, names in which there are accents are viewed as being one and the same - Séan and Sean for example.

Those most likely to refer to baby name statistics include new parents, soon-to-be parents and those who are simply curious about the popularity of their own name.

Additional users include researchers who examine how names are changing over time and journalists [like this one] who write articles on the grwing or declining popularity of names.

The popularity of baby names can be influenced by a variety of factors including the standing of current music scene or film celebrities, high-profile sportsmen and women, memorable places, religious figures, cultural and/or ethnic origins and, of course, names of relatives and friends.

A total of 20,940 births were registered in NI during 2020 – 10,840 boys (51.8%) and 10,100) girls (48.2%).

Once again, there was a greater variety of girls’ names, with 2,158 having been used in 2020. Some 1,179 boys’ names were registered last year.

The range of names being used by parents has grown considerably over the past 40 years, witnessed by the fact that whereas 1980 saw the registration of 1,224 and 650 for girls and boys respectively, this had grown to 2,158 and .179 in 2020. Of these, some 485 and 381 respectively were new ones, meaning they had not been registered since the reporting of baby names began in 1997.

Some 56% of these new names were for girls and 44 per cent were for boys.

Top 10 boys’ names::

•For the sixth successive year, James is the number one, with 190 baby boys having being given this name.

James has been ranked in the top five each year since reporting of baby names began in 1997.

• Jack has consistently been in the top 10 since 1997, ranking first from 2003 to 2014, before dropping to second in 2020.

• Noah has been in the top 10 since 2012, after being virtually unused in the late 1990s. It fell from first place in 2018 to third place in 2019 and 2020.

• Daniel fell from the top 10 most popular boys’ names for the first time since 1998.

With Jack being a derivative of John, that means the top four are Biblical names.

• Cillian entered the top 10 in 2020 for the first time, after coming close in 2018 and 2019, when it ranked 13th and 14th respectively.

• Finn and Theo entered the top 10 in 2020 for the first time, after gaining steady popularity each year since 1997 and 2012 respectively.

Top 10 girls’ names:

• Grace – again note the Biblical influence - was the most popular name for girls. A total of 176 girls given this name in 2020.

• This is the 15th year in a row that Grace has been in the top three. It has been number one since 2018.

• Fiadh entered the top 10 in 2020 for the first time since reporting of baby names began in 1997. Its breakthrough camew as no surprise; it had been gaining steadily in popularity each year since 2008.

• Emily remained the second most popular girls’ name in 2020, holding this spot in the top 10 for the last three consecutive years.

• Anna fell from the top 10 most popular girls' names for the first time since 2012, while Evie also lost a top 10 position in 2020 after gaining it the previous year.

• Names are diversifying. In 2020, only 13% of babies were given one of the top 10 names, This compares with 20% in 2000.

Top 100 boys’ names:

• Of the 10 new entries to the top 100 boys’ names in 2020, Finley, Frankie, Levi, and Rowan made the top 100 for the first time since the recording of baby names began in 1997.

• These replaced names such as Gabriel – one which had only joined the top 100 for the first time in 2019.

• Nathan returned to the top 100 after leaving it for the first time in 2019.

• Within the boys’ top 100, the highest climbers in popularity between 2019 and 2020 were Senan, Kai and Brody.

• Since 2000, Theo and Daithi have both climbed approximately 400 places to reach the top 100 in 2020.

• Since 2010, Ezra and Theodore have both climbed almost 600 places to reach the top 100 in 2020.

Top 100 girls’ names:

• Of the nine new entries, Arabella, Ayda, Bonnie, Hallie, and Nancy made the top 100 for the first time since the recording of baby names began in 1997.

• Nora left the top 100 having only joined for the first time in 2019. Amy and Caitlin also left the top 100.

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