Names: everyone’s got one but how has yours performed over the past 110 years? Are you a comeback kid, a disappearing act or a completely new entry?
Find out using our interactive graphic that shows the top 100 names for baby boys and girls in England and Wales for every ten years between 1904 and 1994 and for each year from 1996 onwards.
The comeback kid
You may have already noticed that some names from the past are making a comeback.
When it comes to boys the comeback trend has been strong – six names that featured in the 1904 top 20 also made it to the top 20 in 2015.
One of these names – James – has never fallen out of the top 20, although it did dip in popularity in 1954 and 1964.
Four of the six comeback names have royal links: William, George, Henry and Harry.
The other comeback name is the biblical name Thomas.
Rank of comeback names for boys for every ten years between 1904 and 1994 and for every year from 1996 onwards
There are also names that have returned in their shortened or nickname form – for example while Charles has fallen out of favour (although never out of the top 100) – Charlie came into the top 20 in 2004 when it stood at 15. In 2015 it had risen even higher – to stand at number six.
Similarly, while Frederick and Alfred have fallen down the rankings, Freddie stood at number 17 in 2015, up from number 96 in 2004 (when it first came into the top 100) and Alfie stood at number 14 – up from number 92 in 1997 (when it first came into the top 100).
Rank of comeback names for boys that have returned in a shortened or nickname form for every ten years between 1904 and 1994 and for every year from 1996 onwards
The comeback trend has not been so strong for girls’ names.
The only 1904 top 20 name to make it back into the top 20 in 2015 is Lily (it stood at 20 in 1904 and 13 in 2015).
Alice (which stood at 8 in 1904) made it back up to 18 in 1994 but stood at 24 in 2015.
Florence, Elsie, Ivy and Violet have all made somewhat of a comeback into the top 100 but they have not reached the heights of their early 20th century popularity.
Rank of comeback names for girls for every ten years between 1904 and 1994 and for every year from 1996 onwards
The disappearing acts
Gladys, Doris, Hilda and Ethel were all in the top 20 in 1904 but they have all, at some point, disappeared from the full list of names given to baby girls since 1996 (the first year the full list of names given to three or more babies is available).
Don’t write them off just yet though – they may be making a comeback – there were six baby girls named Gladys in 2015, another six named Hilda, 13 named Doris and 22 named Ethel. This puts them back on the full list – although sadly not yet back on the chart of the top 100 names.
Rank of the names Gladys, Doris, Hilda and Ethel for every ten years between 1904 and 1994 and for every year from 1996 onwards
On the boys’ side – none of the 1904 top 20 names have ever disappeared from the full list of names given to three or more baby boys since 1996 – but Harold, Reginald and Walter are the least popular in 2015: ranked at 1,327, 435 and 393 respectively.
Other visual.ONS articles:
You can download the top 100 names given to baby boys and girls for every ten years from 1904 to 1994.
The full lists of names given to three or more baby girls and boys are available from 1996 to 2015 and they can be downloaded from the ONS website.
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