The Office of National Statistics has finally released its findings on the top names for girls 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. Freya and Lily are on the rise in England and Wales. While Emily and Ella have started to slip a bit.
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 girls 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 girls in 2019!
Alice is a storied name and one of the most popular choices for girls born in 2019. In the US, the name charts at 73. Alice is English with German origins and the name means “noble.” Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland popularized the name in modern times.
In the US, you’ll find Sienna fairly high up the list, coming in as the 181st most popular name. However, in England and Wales, the name’s holding strong. The historic Tuscan city is spelled Siena, but the Sienna spelling, used by American-born English actress Sienna Miller, has taken off. The name means “red clay.”
Sophie is the French form of the Greek Sophia, for which it is also generally used as a nickname. Sophies are dispersed throughout European royal history, including Sophie of Thuringia, Duchess of Brabant, Princess Sophie of Sweden, and in modern times, Sophie, Duchess of Wessex, the wife of Britain’s Prince Edward. The name means “wisdom.”
While Phoebe is very popular in England, the name still has a way to come in the US. Phoebe is the Latin variation of the Greek name Phoibe, which derived from phoibos, meaning “bright.” An alternative spelling of the name, Phebe, was used for a character in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
Elsie is much more popular across the UK than the US. The name is a diminutive of Elizabeth and it’s commonly associated with the Scottish form of the name Elspeth. Elsie was a popular name at the end of the nineteenth century until its image was damaged in this country by the association with Elsie the Borden cow. Elsie means “pledged to God.”
Evelyn is currently more popular in the states than in the UK. It’s a top 10 name here. The name Evelyn has roots in English, German, and French. English actor Carey Mulligan recently chose the name for her daughter. It means “desired” or “island.”
Willow came into use as a given name after the willow tree, whose name was derived from the Old English word welig, meaning “willow.” The tree has been associated with magic for centuries and we assume that’s what helps make this name so attractive to parents. The name is popular in every majority English-speaking country.
The name of the young Princess of Cambridge, Charlotte, the name belonged to Queen Charlotte Sophia who first popularized it in England. Queen Charlotte was the mother of fifteen children and a patron of Mozart and Bach. The name means “little Charles” or “free man.”
The completely wonderful floral name, Poppy has not been viewed as favorably by US parents. Poppy made the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2016 and has been on a popularity roll in England, Scotland, and Wales. The name has Latin origins and means “red flower.”
Another decidedly British favorite, Florence is barely in the top 1000 in the US. Unlike here, the Brits can’t get enough of this charming name. Perhaps they have Florence + the Machine, headlined by red-haired Florence Welch to thank. The name has Latin origins and means “flourishing.”
If Evelyn seems too buttoned-up for you, consider Evie instead. Evie was derived from Eve, which in turn comes from Chawwah, a Hebrew name related to the concept of life. The name was practically absent in the US from the 1940s through the turn of the century.
Rosie is a perfectly marvelous flower name that is not nearly as popular in the US. The name, of course, means “rose.” It has English origins. Like Evie, Rosie took a hiatus for decades in here before returning to the top 1000 in 2013.
In English speaking countries and Scandinavia, Ella developed as a diminutive for names beginning with El-, such as Eleanor and Elizabeth. In both England and Wales and the US, the name sits at the 13th spot. We finally agree on one! The name has German origins as a form of Alia, which means “completely.”
Ivy is derived from the name of the ivy plant, which got its name from the Old English word ifig. Ancient Greeks presented an ivy wreath to newlyweds as a symbol of fidelity. The name is traditionally given to girls born in December and is commonly associated with Christmas. Because of its symbolic nature, the name means “faithful.”
Emily was derived from the Roman name Aemilia, which may have evolved from the Latin word aemulus, meaning “hardworking” or “rival.” Thanks to esteemed literary figures Emily Dickinson and Emily Brontë this name carries a bit of clout along with it.
Freya overtook the top 10 spot from Emily in 2019. Freya, the name of the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, has long been popular in the U.K. but is just beginning to be appreciated here. The name means “a noble woman.” We love that this name is on the rise it’s an excellent choice.
Like Freya, Lily clenched the top 10 in the UK overtaking the spot from Ella. Lily came into use as a given name as a direct influence of the flower. Lily is a name whose popularity stems from its storied use as a symbol of purity and innocence, and its role in Christian imagery. In the US, the name has been gaining steam once more and it’s now the 34th popular choice here.
Grace is derived from gratia, the Latin word for “grace.” It existed as Gracia in the Middle Ages but was not in common use until the Puritans adopted it along with other Christian attribute names in the sixteenth century. Then, it became associated with “the grace of God.” In the US, the name was most popular way back in 1875, but it still ranks in the top 50 here.
As with the US, Sophia is the more popular choice than Sophie. It was first used in England in the seventeenth century and was the name of George I’s both mother and wife. Sophia was derived from sophia, the Greek word for wisdom. It’s one of the most popular names in the Western world.
Isabella is a girl’s name of Hebrew, Spanish, Italian origin meaning “pledged to God.” The name appeals to many parents around the world thanks to its feminine sound and classic gravitas. The name has belonged to many European queens and would be a fitting choice for your little princess.
In the US and England and Wales, Mia is equally popular. Mia originated as a short form of Maria, which ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Miryam. In modern times, Mia has been used as a nickname for names including Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam. Mia is also an Italian and Spanish word meaning
“mine.” The name can also mean the same as Maria, “bitter.”
Ava is a magnificent name and it’s a top 5 pick for American parents as well. In medieval times, Ava was a diminutive of Germanic names beginning in Av-, in particular Aveline, from which the name Evelyn would eventually emerge. Ava, therefore means “island” or “water.”
Isla, the Spanish word for island, is also the name of a Scottish river, an island, although there it’s spelled Islay. Queen Elizabeth has a great-granddaughter named Isla Elizabeth Phillips. Isla has the perfect mix of vintage charm and cotemporary appeal.
Amelia became a British royal name via the daughters of Kings George II and III. Amelia is derived from the German name Amalia, which in turn is a variation of Amalberga. The root, amal, is a Germanic word meaning “work.” Amelia is also exceedingly popular in the US where it also cracks the top 10.
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Actually, parents in England and Wales and the US can agree on a lot. Olivia is also the most popular name for girls here. Records of the name Olivia exist from as far back as 13th-century England, but the name was popularized after Shakespeare used it for the name of the countess in Twelfth Night. As you’d expect, the name means “olive tree.” We’re into it.
There you go! The top 25 most popular names for girls in England and Wales. We hope you enjoyed this list and comparing what parents in the US are similarly choosing.
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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