200 most popular baby names of 2020 revealed with parents inspired by lockdown TV, heroes and the great outdoors
Choosing a baby name is a big responsibility. Too popular and you run the risk of your child being one of five Olivers on the pre-school register, but too unique and you could set them up for a lifetime of mispronunciation and/or moniker mickey-taking.
To help parents-to-be strike a balance between unusual and on-trend, BabyCentre has put together a list of the top 100 names for boys and girls in 2020.
The baby name bods quizzed 54,636 parents of babies born in 2020 about they name they chose for their child, and the results are somewhat revealing.
The most popular name for a girl has changed for the first time in three years, with Olivia moving into second place and handing over her crown to Sophia, followed by Amelia in third place.
For the boys, Muhammad remains the most popular name for another year, followed by Noah and Oliver, which has also previously held the top spot.
Several new names made it into the top 100 boys names this year, including Ayaan, Ronnie, Rowan, Austin, Jasper, Hudson, Milo, Albert and Ellis.
Meanwhile, Lyla, Nora, Eliana, Margot, Zainab, Mabel, Aisha, Anaya, Madison, Talia, Delilah and Niamh were all hot new entries for baby girls.
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As well as revealing the most popular names this year, Babycentre also studied the registrations to reveal the hottest up-and-coming baby name trends.
Turns out coronavirus and the resultant lockdowns are having an impact on the monikers being chosen, with parents seeking baby namespo via TV binges, Instagram reels, the great outdoors, 2020 heroes and symbols of hope.
Babycentre said parents were particularly influenced by binge-worthy content watched during lockdown, with the list revealing an increase in babies called Tiger in 2020, following the popularity of Netflix’s Tiger King.
Our obsession with the character, Connell from Normal People, manifested in a rise in mini Connells after the runaway success of the series based on the book by Sally Rooney. Interestingly, however, there was no increase in popularity for love interest Marianne.
Arabella, the heroine of I May Destroy You, soared 30 places to number 57 and Michaela Coel who created, wrote, co-directed, and executive produced the series also saw her first name on the rise, appearing just outside the top 100.
The love for Emmy-board sweeping Schitt’s Creek boasted two rising stars in the names of two of its main characters - David went up three places to 52, while Alexis was just outside the top 100. Rose, the surname of the fictional family, held onto its position at number 84.
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Video game names also proved popular this year, with names of characters from Animal Crossing, dominating the girls’ chart.
No less than four of the top 10 girls’ names – Olivia, Amelia, Ava and Freya – feature in the game, while fellow character Alice rose 16 places and Mabel also broke into the top 100.
Another potential source of inspiration from this year was the Black Lives Matter movement, as a number of names of history's most prominent black activists were reflected in parents’ choices.
Rosa (Parks) and Martin (Luther King) both climbed towards the top 100, while Ruby (Bridges), the first black woman to attend a white school, rose four places to number 22, and Malcolm (X) nearly doubled in registrations.
Activists Ella (Baker), rose to number 11, while Blair (Imani), Nina (Simone) and Nelson (Mandela) all increased in registrations.
The name Chadwick was also registered for the first time following the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, one of the movement’s real-life superheroes as the first black actor to headline a Marvel film in Black Panther.
Parents also seemed to be seeking positivity and optimism in their baby name choices with Sir Captain Tom Moore and his amazing charity efforts providing some inspiration. Tom shot up the ranks this year to appear just outside the top 100, while Thomas held on to a place in the top 20 and Tommy was up 10 places to number 28.
Unsurprisingly, however, with Donald Trump ousted from the White House, Donald saw a fall in registrations. Ditto, prominent names in the UK government with Boris (Johnson), Dominic (Cummings) and Matt (Hancock) all seeing a drop in popularity.
Popular culture wan’t the only thing to have influenced parents’ choices this year. With lockdown, boredom forced many of us to seek solace in the great outdoors, and nature has been providing mums and dads with some name inspiration.
Rosie and Ivy both climbed the top 20, while Poppy climbed four places to break in at number 17, Lily broke into the top five, and Eden, Aurora, Luna and Robyn all soared up the top 100.
Meanwhile, Robin, River, Heath, Sky and Ash all also enjoyed an uptick in registrations.
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Commenting on the top 100, Sarah Redshaw, UK managing editor for BabyCentre, said: “A global pandemic has had us looking for ways to find optimism, reflected in a rise in positive and heroic names.
“TV really showed its impact when the name Connell made an appearance for the first time after the Normal People hero, played by Paul Mescal, dominated TV chat, along with his chain.
“And with staying in forcibly becoming the new going out we’ve all been turning to social channels to keep us feeling part of a community, reflected in the increasing influence that Insta stars are having on us.
“With tech acting as a lifeline for work, staying in touch with our loved ones and keeping us entertained it remains to be seen whether Zoom, Nintendo or Tik Tok will appear in next year’s list.”
Watch: ONS releases this year’s most popular baby names.
Most popular girls names of 2020
Read more: These are the baby names parents are most likely to regret
Most popular boys names of 2020