cultural influences that may be driving baby name trends » FINCHANNEL
Famous people, real and fictional, have long set baby naming trends, and 2021 seems to have been no exception. While it’s not possible to know exactly what’s behind the parents’ decisions, some notable names from all cultural walks of life have been popping up on the charts lately.
Movie names feature heavily
A popular Pixar fantasy may have helped Luca break into the top 30
Number of boys registered as Luca and girls named Raya at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
Last year’s widely circulated coming-of-age tale ‘Luca’ could have boosted interest in the name, with the number of boys named Luca rising from 1,323 in 2020 to 1,807 in 2021, making made the 28th most popular name for boys who year.
The release of the Disney adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon” in 2021 could be another animation influencing parents. The film, which follows the exploits of warrior princess Raya, coincided with a surge in the number of registrations of the name, with the number more than doubling from 110 girls in 2020 (joint-393rd) to 251 (203rd) in 2021.
Kylo Sees A Boost After ‘Star Wars’ Character Renounces The Dark Side
Number of boys registered with the names Finn, Kylo and Lando at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
The number of newborn boys named Kylo increased more than fivefold to 54 in 2016 after “The Force Awakens” hit cinema screens, introducing audiences to the villainous Kylo Ren.
The tally peaked at 189 in 2020, possibly pushed by Kylo turning his back on the dark side in the third film in the latest trilogy, released in 2019.
The number of Landos has also increased since Lando Calrissian’s appearance in the third film, more than fivefold, from 13 in 2019 to 74 last year.
The name Finn, one of the main characters in the trilogy, has also grown in popularity, rising from 512 listings for boys in 2015 to 788 in 2021. This could also be influenced by the crime drama “Peaky Blinders” (
Musical names are climbing the charts
There were 14 times more baby boys named Ezra in 2021 compared to the previous decade
Number of boys registered as Ezra and girls named Mabel at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
Ezra was just outside the top 50 most popular names given to boys in 2021, with 1,226 registrants that year.
The name rose to prominence around the same time musician George Ezra rose to widespread fame, with an 89% increase in 2015 after his debut album “Wanted on Voyage” topped the charts.
Like Ezra, the number of baby girls named Mabel also peaked in 2021 at 885, which followed particularly large increases in 2018 and 2020.
This may have been influenced by singer and songwriter Mabel, whose breakthrough single “Finders Keepers” reached the top 10 in 2017. Her album “High Expectations” went on to hit number three in 2019.
The 2020s are golden years for Bowie-inspired boy names
…as well as for some girls
Number of daughters registered as Bowie and Ziggy at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
The death of musical legend David Bowie in January 2016 appears to have resulted in some tributes, with Bowie’s name rising from a boys’ count of 12 in 2015 to 78 last year.
The name Ziggy, possibly inspired by Bowie’s iconic character, Ziggy Stardust, proved even more popular with boys, growing from 33 signups to 136 over the same period.
Both names have also gained popularity with girls, which is perhaps appropriate given the singer’s reputation for blurring traditional gender roles.
Newborns with a royal connection
Some names rose through the ranks after royal births
Number of boys registered as Archie, George and Louis and girls named Charlotte at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
The birth of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ first child, George, in 2013 was followed by an increase in registrations of the name, peaking at 5,263 in 2016.
Archie rose to the ninth most popular boy’s name in 2020 after the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child, with 2,944 Archies registered that year. However, this only brought the name back to the levels seen in 2018.
Louis also rose in popularity following the birth of William and Kate’s third child, with 1,274 sign-ups in 2019 compared to 941 the previous year.
The birth of Wales’ second child, Charlotte in 2015, saw the name jump from 1,951 in that year to 2,596 in 2016, dropping from 25th most popular name to 12th. However, Charlotte has gradually fallen back to 25th in the standings since then.
The Sussexes’ second child, Lilibet, was only born in June 2021, but still appears to have been met with some admiration, with eight Lilibets recorded in total during the year, compared to less than three in each of the seven previous years.
TV character names are a hit
Names featured in ‘Sex Education’ are still on the rise
Number of girls registered as Maeve and boys as Otis, at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
Maeve and Otis are still on the rise after the hit Netflix show’s second series aired in 2020 and series three in September 2021.
There were 737 boys born in 2021 who were named Otis, up from 277 in 2018 before the first series, meaning he’s jumped from 192nd to 81st.
Maeve has seen an even more dramatic increase, from a count of 84 (joint-507th) in 2018 to 654 (77th) in 2021.
The Arthurs have more than doubled since the infamous Birmingham gangster family arrived on TV screens
Number of boys registered as Arthur, Finn and Tommy at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
Arthur had risen to popularity before the show’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ first appeared on the BBC in 2013, but soared to 7th in 2018 and 3rd in 2020.
Overall, the number of Arthurs has more than doubled, from 1,559 in 2013 to 3,766 in 2021.
Finn also jumped from 511 (116th place) for boys born in 2013, to 788 (72nd) in 2021, though that could also be influenced by the “Star Wars” movies.
Although Tommy is the show’s central character, the name fell in popularity during the show’s early years.
However, it increased by 263 signups to a total of 1,299 in 2018 after the fourth series aired.
The Netflix Show ‘Stranger Things’ May Have Inspired Some Uncommon Names
Dustin went from four relatively obscure recordings in 2015 to 25 in 2020, after the sci-fi horror’s first three series appeared between 2016 and 2019.
There have also been 10 newborn girls named Max since 2018, the year after the female character of the same name appeared in the show’s second series.
There were even three babies registered with the name Eleven in 2018, another name shared with one of the show’s leads.
Are parents trying to keep up with the Kardashians?
The Saints have grown more than tenfold since the birth of Kim Kardashian’s son
Number of boys registered as Saints at birth, England and Wales, 1996 to 2021
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s son Saint, who features on long-running reality TV shows that follow the Kardashian family, was born in December 2015, when there were five name registrations for the boys. By 2021, the number had reached 59.
Khloe Kardashian’s daughter True was born in April 2018, after which the number of name registrations for girls jumped from less than three that year to 10 in 2021. Her birth may also have caused a brief surge of the number of boys named True. , with three recorded in 2019 and four the following year, compared to less than three in 2018.
The number of boys named Psalm increased slightly from three in 2018 to six in 2021 following the birth of Kim’s second son, while there were also three girls named Psalm last year.