News

Most popular names in Scotland

Published: 20 Mar 2018 09:31
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Statistics

Olivia and Jack remain the most popular baby names in Scotland, and Smith, Brown and Wilson the three top surnames, according to figures published today by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

The full lists of first names given to babies whose births were registered in 2017 replace the top 100 lists published in December, and include the first name of every baby, including those whose births were registered in December.

The three top surnames in the Birth, Marriage and Death registers for 2017 - Smith, Brown and Wilson - have been the most common surnames recorded in the registers for over 40 years, based on five-yearly analysis going back to 1975.

The NRS website includes annual lists of babies’ first forenames back to 1974, and information about how the top names have changed. Many names which were once very popular have gone out of fashion. A table of the Top Ten names for each sex for 1975 and for every fifth year thereafter, shows that (for example):

  • for girls, none of the names that were in the Top Ten in 1975 appeared in the Top Ten in 2000 or 2015, and none of the Top Ten in 2000 survived into the Top Ten in 2015;
  • Nicola, which was the top name in 1975, had dropped out of the Top Ten by 1995 (when Nicole was in the Top Ten). Karen, second in 1975, had gone from the Top Ten by 1985; Susan, third in 1975, had gone by 1980;
  • for boys, David, John and Paul, which were the Top Three in 1975, did not appear anywhere in the Top Ten in 2000 or 2015. Paul had dropped out by 1990, John by 1995 and David by 2000;
  • James, fourth in 1975, is the only name which has been in its Top Ten in every one of the selected years;

Background

  1. Full lists of babies’ first names for 2017 are available via this page of the NRS website.        
  2. Most common surnames in the Birth, Marriages and Death registers for 2017 are available via this page of the NRS website.
  3. NRS’s “baby names” app enables anyone to explore the rises and falls in the popularity of particular names since 1974.