What’s the most popular baby name in your London borough?

By Alice Fuller
January 2 2020, 09:18

The most popular baby names across London in 2018 were Muhammad and Olivia, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Across the capital, there were 666 baby Muhammads and 605 Olivias, according to the most recent statistics.

Parents in Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston, Merton, Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich chose Olivia above anything else and saw a total of 221 girls with the name.

But Leo came up trumps in Lambeth, Kingston and Southwark with 69 babies given the name.

A noticeable shift from 2017 was the decline in the number of girls called Alexa.

Nick Stripe from ONS said: “The growth in the use of technology assistants in our homes may help to explain why the number of baby girls named Alexa has more than halved compared with 2017.

“Communicating with young children can be hard enough at the best of times.”

Sutton bucked the trends resulting in Oliver and Isla as the borough’s most common baby names.

Oliver remained the most popular name for boys nationally for the sixth year in a row while Olivia retained the top spot for girls for the third consecutive year.

Emily Tredget, co-founder of online mum community Happity, named her son Oliver after 11 days of deliberation.

MUM AND SON: Emily and baby Oliver

She said: “We wanted a name that could be abbreviated and quite liked that Oliver has a number of abbreviations he could choose between as he got older.

“We knew it was the top baby name, and we did wonder about whether we should therefore not choose it, however we decided it was our favourite shortlisted name and he suited it.

“We’ve actually found what the research shows – that there aren’t too many Olivers near us his age – but when you go on holiday, you do hear it everywhere.

“I think people nowadays try to choose something a bit different without being too ‘out there’.

“I wonder if that’s where the more classic names are coming from. Everyone knows how to spell and pronounce them, but they are still a bit unusual.

“People are put off by names that are difficult to spell. I would have also said a name being too popular might put people off, but it didn’t for us.”

Kingston resident Steph Green, 34, deviated from London trends.

She and her husband Sam, 39, called their daughter, now ten weeks old, Rosie Margot Stella.

Steph said: “It took us three weeks to decide as both my husband and I wanted a middle name that was meaningful.

“My husband wanted Margot – the name his mum went by when he was growing up – and I wanted Stella which is my Granny’s name. She just turned 89 and has been such an important part of my life.

“It was taking so long to choose a first name because of this that within three hours of agreeing she could have two middle names we finally agreed on Rosie as her first name.

“We like Rosie because it’s classic, but not overly popular right now. It had to go with our first daughter’s name too [Alice].

“Our friend told us we should try putting ‘doctor’ in front of the name to see if it sounded good, and ‘Doctor Rosie Green’ still sounds professional yet feminine.”

THE GREEN FAMILY: Sam, Alice, Steph and Rosie

Kate Toussaint, from Merton, wanted to make sure her daughter’s name complemented their surname.

She said: “I was quite keen on a short name and wanted something pretty and traditional, but not too unusual.

“To be honest, I didn’t decide until we had her home for a few days, as I think you do get a feel for a name when you have hung out for a bit.”

She eventually named her daughter, born on January 14, Rose.

But not everybody puts significant time into choosing the perfect name.

Tamsyn from Wimbledon said: “We could not agree on anything while I was pregnant.

“In the end when ‘baby’ was two days old the hospital asked if we had decided on a name and we said no.

“I asked my consultant who was in the room what his kids were called, and one was called Jemima.

“We looked at each other and said ‘done’. We loved it.”

Emily predicted that Archie will top the list of the most popular names next year – mostly due to the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son in May this year.

She said: “Archie will probably be up there, and I think more of the classic names like Henry and Matilda will be too.

“I also wonder if there might be a shift towards more unisex names like in the US, like Morgan or Taylor.”

ONS cites the decline in Christianity, a desire for originality and a rise in the number of babies born to non-UK born parents as factors influencing the move towards less traditional names. 

There were 657,076 live births in England and Wales in 2018. Of these there were 62,729 different names registered.

The most popular names for 2019 will be revealed by ONS in September.

Emily co-founded Happity with Sara Tateno after struggling with postnatal depression.

The site helps parents to find baby and toddler classes within the M25 and allows them to build a community to support each other locally.

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