Is Oliver the new Lucas? Is Isabella outdoing Hanna now? Euronews Culture consults various statistical institutes to find out which are the most popular names across Europe.
Names given to newborns speak of the societies in which they will grow up, and names either reflect deep-rooted traditions or current trends.
Many websites specialize in guiding or inspiring the choices of parents, and all often base their choices on similar sources: the national statistics offices that list the names entered in the birth registers every year.
All EU member states publish them except Germany, where there is no national list of names. As for Greece and Cyprus, the data is from the 2011 census, while Romania’s data is undated and its statistics office did not respond to our requests for clarification.
Euronews Culture consulted these statistical institutes one by one to produce an official map of the most popular names in 2021* in the EU, in much the same way we did in 2017.
Most popular baby boy names in EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, England and Wales in 2021.
for boys, Noah is the most common name in the largest number of countries.
It tops the list in six countries, almost all of which border each other: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden, but also Switzerland and England and Wales combined.
Two other names lead to more than one country: Jakub in the Czech Republic, Norway (Jakob) and Slovakia, doc George is the most common name in Greece and Bulgaria with local variants (Georgi / Georgios).
The most popular girls’ names in the EU member states, Norway, Switzerland, England and Wales in 2021.
for girls, Maria is a top name in most countries.
Four scattered countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland and Portugal – have given birth to more Marys than any other country.
To these countries we can add Greece with Maria and Romania with the compound name Ana-Maria.
Then he comes Emma in Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands (and Emma in Slovakia); Mia, the most popular name in three countries – Croatia, Estonia and Switzerland; and Sofia in Latvia and Lithuania.
Expanding to the Russian city of Moscow, we find a variant Sofia at the top of the list for girls. for boys, Alexander is still the most popular name in the last 30 years, with the exception of Artem in 2012.
The most common names in Europe
It is difficult to define the name of the largest number of babies in the European Union.
Different national statistical offices do not provide the same data. They range from 1,625 names with birth numbers in Belgium to just the first 5 (without birth numbers) in Greece.
Another difficulty is the variation in the spelling of the same name from one country to another – even within the same country in some cases, such as Aleksandar, Aleksandar, Aleksandar or Jasmin, Yasmina, Jasmin, Yasmeen.
On the other hand, it is possible to count how many times a name appears on the official lists of all observed countries (European Union, Norway, Switzerland, England and Wales).
Euronews Culture compiled the spelling of the same name and counted how many times it appeared in the lists, to determine which names are repeated the most in Europe.
As each variant counts as one occurrence, a given name can appear more times than there are countries. This is the case for the two most common names for each gender: Lucas appears 42 times under all its variants, i Sofia appears 56 times under different spellings. We’ve kept the most common spellings in our top list below.
Among the boys, we notice a great repetition of names Matthew. Due to different variants despite the common root (Matteo, Matias, Mattia, Matthew, Matej, Matti, Mats, Matwij, Mattis, Matto, Mattes, Matt, Mathieu, Matas), the name has 101 occurrences.
Here is a list of the 10 most common names for boys in Europe:
Lukas – 42
Alexander – 30
Oliver / Olivier – 23
Muhammad – 22
Noah – 21
Elias – 21
Matteo – 20
Gabriel – 18
Daniel, Liam, Benjamin – 17
Ryan, Martin, David, Leo, Adam, Teodor, Viktor – 16
Here is a list of the 10 most common female names in Europe:
Sofia – 56
Hana – 51
Maria – 34
Izabela – 33
Amelia – 30
Jasmina – 29
Emma – 27
Emilia – 27
Sara – 26
Elizabeth – 25
10 most popular baby names for boys and girls around the country
With the exception of Greece, Euronews Culture was able to obtain 10 or more of the most commonly used names in each country.
When it comes to more original nameswhich are often considered as such depending on the background of the reader, are absent from these Top 10 lists, which are ultimately quite classic in the cycle of name trends.
You have to take the time to look through thousands of names in the Top 100 or more to find, for example, Sezan, Toulouse, Heaven, Castor, Mon, Fré, Fé or Africa.
We also notice the presence diminutives of classical names which themselves became first names, such as the now common Tom or Sam for boys, or the widely used but lesser known diminutives for girls, such as Isa or Flo.
Sometimes these diminutives are written in an unusual way, as if people forget that they are related to the name from which they are derived, such as Jaxx or Jax as a diminutive of Jackson.
Some compound names also dare to use unconventional combinations, such as Billie-Lou, or Czech Rosie Elaine Antoinette, Oliver Kai or Daniel Raymond. However, compound names are still rare in most lists of given names, except in the Czech Republic.
Finally, it is not fashionable for both sexes to be popular epicene (unisex) names at the same time. Only four of the thirty countries studied have mixed names on the lists for girls and boys. There are six of them in the Czech Republic (Alex, Eda, Michaela, Misheel, Nikol, Šanel), five in Germany (Elia, Isa, Janne, Mika, Toni), two in France (Camille and Charlie) and one in Poland (Ilia).
Of all the names surveyed, the Netherlands is the most favored country short names the most (four letters for boys, five for girls), while Greece, Italy and Cyprus prefer lthose names (eight or seven for boys, six or seven for girls).
Check back later this year to see changes in trends, as the most popular names of 2022 will be released in all countries studied.
* Data are from 2021, except for the following countries:
- 2011: Greece and Cyprus
- 2019: Czech Republic
- 2020: Latvia
- 1st half of 2022: Poland
- 2022: Lithuania
- Undated: Romania