The Office of National Statistics has finally released its findings on the top names for boys given in 2019. These ultra-popular British names were the most beloved and favored for new parents last year. As with the top names in the US, it took some time for this data to come out and there were a few changes of note from the year before. Oliver continued its reign in England and Wales. For the seventh year in a row, it landed at the number one spot.
You’ll find many of these baby names at the top of the US popularity charts as well, but there are some marked differences. In the UK, parents tend to favor vintage names while in the US, this is true too, but to a much lesser degree. Parents in the US are more inclined to adopt trendier options. We decided to take a look at the top 25 names for boys in England and Wales to get a better idea of how naming trends in the US and across the pond compare. Here are the top 25 most popular British names for boys in 2019!
You’ll find babies named Lucas more often in the US than in England and Wales. However, it’s still a most popular choice making the top 25. Lucas is a Latin form of the name Luke and means “man from Lucania.” In other European countries, you’ll find the name beloved as well especially in Sweden and the Netherlands.
Edward is a much more favored choice in the UK than it is in the US. The name barely cracks the top 200 here. Edward has Anglo-Saxon origins and means “wealthy guardian.” Edward was the name of several Saxon and eight English kings and is the name of the youngest son of the current queen. No fewer than six Edwards were aboard the Mayflower.
Isaac is a gorgeous Hebrew name with cross-cultural appeal. The name means “laughter.” It’s a top 50 choice in the US as well. A few decades ago if you heard the nickname Izzy it would have belonged to a boy. The nickname used for Isabella is a rather new trend. Traditionally, Ikes and Isaacs would have been called the nickname.
James has belonged to a number of royals in both England and Scotland so it’s a surprise to find that the name is more popular here in the states. James has Hebrew origins and is a form of Jacob. The name means “supplanter.” Across the UK other forms of the name are popular as well. You’ll find Hamish in Scotland, Seamus in Ireland, and the wonderful Cornish form, Jago.
A royal name in Scotland, Alexander is still highly popular there. In Gaelic, the name became Alasdair. In England and Wales, Alexander is just outside the top 20. The name has Greek origins and means “to defend.”
Joshua was a Top 10 name from 1983 until 2010 but has dropped a bit since. The name is now more popular in the UK than in the US. Joshua was derived from the Hebrew name Yehoshu’a, from the roots yeho, referring to God, and yasha’, meaning “to save.”
Archie made global news as the surprise first name of the newborn royal baby, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka Harry and Meghan. The couple really rescued the cute name from obscurity. Archie is now ranked 672 in the US, but as you’d expect, in England and Wales it’s now a top 20 choice. The name means “truly brave” and comes from German roots.
Theodore sounds way better in a British accent! The name has Greek origins and means “gift of God.” In England and Wales, the name is so popular that it’s pet form even makes this list.
For 400 years, William has been second only to John as the most popular name in the English-speaking world. And now, of course, it’s got royal flare once more thanks to Britain’s high-profile Prince William. William has long reigned as a royal name in the U.K. It has German origins and means “resolute protector.”
As we mentioned, Theodore is a beloved name. However, it is a mouthful so it’s no wonder that parents in England and Wales have opted for Theo. It’s even more popular than the original right now! The inverse is true in the US. Short and very chic, Theo’s a fresh, contemporary baby name choice.
Vintage nickname names are the trend of the day across the UK. Alfie doesn’t even make it into the top 1000 in the US. But, thankfully, it’s uber-popular in England. Alfie, of course, is a shortened form of Alfred, a German name that means “wise counselor.” We’d love to hear this name more often!
See? Nicknames as names are all the rage! Freddie is the cute diminutive of Fredrick another German name. The name means “peaceful ruler.” You won’t find this as a given name in the US often, if at all. We think it makes for an excellent gender-neutral option.
Thomas has been one of the most commonly used, classic baby names in both England and the US for the longest and is still firmly in the Top 50 in the US. The name can be traced to Aramaic and means “twin.” In Scotland, you’ll hear the nickname Tam frequently used for this evergreen name.
In 2019, Henry ranked at number 12 in both the US and England and Wales. Lot’s of German names have become popular thanks to marriages between the royal families. Henry is no exception. The name has belonged to a number of Kings! There’s Henry the Eighth, of course, along with others, down to the current fifth-in-line to the throne, Prince Henry (who goes by Harry).
Jacob is a favored choice in both the US and England and Wales. The name can be found in the top 20 for both. Jacob has Hebrew origins and means “supplanter.” Between it and its other form, James, the moniker is a prime pick.
In Irish legend, Oscar was one of the mightiest warriors of his generation, the son of Ossian and the grandson of Finn Mac Cumhaill. The Gaelic elements of this name translate to “deer lover.” Oscar isn’t just popular in majority English-speaking countries. It’s beloved around Europe.
Charlie, as a given name, is much more popular in England and Wales than the US. This diminutive of Charles is way more fun than its original. The name has French roots and means “free man.”
Jack was, until 2011 when he was unseated by Oliver, for years the Number 1 boy name in England and is widely used in America as well, having returned to the Top 100 in 1996 and ranking as one of the most popular boy names starting with J. Jack is an English form of John and means “god is Gracious.”
“If you have a hundred sons, name them all Muhammad,” is the popular Muslim adage. People have taken it to heart! This is one of the most popular names throughout the world. The Arabic name means “praiseworthy.”
You’ll find babies born in England and Wales named Leo at five times the rate than you’ll find in the US. Leo is a charmer and it comes from German and Latin origins. The name, of course, means “lion.”
We were shocked to find this top five name for boys currently trending in the US as well. However, it’s still not in the top 500, yet! Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning “estate ruler.” This name gained popularity in the US from a certain boy-wizard and thanks, in no small part, to the English Prince who now lives in California.
Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of disregard, now being polished up and restored by some stylish parents in the US. It recently cracked the top 200 for the first time in decades. Arthur has been a popular choice across the UK for centuries. The name has Celtic origins and means “bear.”
Noah is the most popular name with Hebrew origins in both England and Wales and the US. The name means “rest.” It’s currently the second most popular name for boys in the US. It’s easy to see why this handsome name is so popular among parents around the world.
With the name George, there’s a bit of disconnect between the US and England and Wales. Here, it’s not even in the top 100. George was the name of the kings of Britain for 116 straight years, as well as the patron saint of England, Saint George, who killed the dragon and became a symbol of good conquering evil. George has Greek origins and means “farmer.”
A top-five pick in the US, Oliver has endless appeal. The name has Latin origins and means “olive tree.” Oliver was used as a given name in medieval England after the spread of the French epic poem La Chanson de Roland which features a character named Olivier. The name fell from popularity in the seventh century due to disdain for Oliver Cromwell. He’s clearly not top-of-mind any longer!
There you go! The top 25 most popular names in England and Wales. We hope you enjoyed this list and learning the different trends that are being enjoyed there.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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