How to find out popularity of a name

Thinking of a name for your baby? If so, you’ve got to check out

The site hosts a chart that shows names chosen by parents in England & Wales each year from 1996 to 2010, based on data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). To find out popularity of a name, all you do is type the name you’re thinking of in the search box and the ‘popularity result’ appear in writing and also in graph form.

I typed in my own name, Andrea, which is way unpopular – down from spot number 424 to 593rd on the list.

And then I typed in my daughters’ names, my husband’s name, my friends’ names – and before I knew it I had been playing for an embarrassingly long time. Talk about how not to get work done! Make sure you look at this site when you’re not at the office!

There is also a blog attached, which highlights some really interesting name trends. Here are a couple of lists that might pique your interest:

Biggest absolute rises (girls)

  1. Lily
  2. Grace
  3. Ava
  4. Evie
  5. Amelia
  6. Ellie
  7. Isabella
  8. Olivia
  9. Mia
  10. Maisie

Biggest absolute rises (boys)

  1. Oliver
  2. Ethan
  3. Charlie
  4. Lucas
  5. Noah
  6. Archie
  7. Oscar
  8. Riley
  9. Jayden
  10. Logan

Biggest absolute falls (girls)

  1. Chloe
  2. Lauren
  3. Rebecca
  4. Shannon
  5. Megan

Biggest absolute falls (boys)

  1. Daniel
  2. James
  3. Jordan
  4. Matthew
  5. Thomas

I find it really interesting that names trend according to a certain time in history. My oldest daughter is named Amelia; a name I didn’t think was popular until I looked at a couple of ‘name lists’ this year and last, and discovered that it’s in the top ten – number one this year, in fact. Is a name sort of like a song on the radio; the more we hear it, the more we like it? A song uses repetition to dig its way into our subconscious. Perhaps names are the same?

It’s fun to see what names are popular and which ones aren’t; at the same time, it’s important to choose a name that you like, irrespective of trend.

How important do you think it is it to give your baby a unique name?