Most popular baby names of 2021 revealed - and there's a change at the top

The most popular baby names of 2021 have been revealed. (Getty Images)
The most popular baby names of 2021 have been revealed. (Getty Images)

The most popular baby names of 2021 have been revealed and while popular culture has had a big influence on future pre-school registers, there's been a change at the top.

Picking a name for a tiny human is a big responsibility. While some parents opt for traditional family monikers passed down through generations, others are taking inspiration from alternative sources, including television, film, celebrities and the Royal Family.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its annual charts of parents' top picks and it seems there's been some surprising moniker developments.

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When it comes to individual names, Noah was the most popular boys' name in England and Wales in 2021, bumping Oliver into second spot and ending an eight-year reign. Olivia, meanwhile, remained the top name for girls for the sixth year in a row.

Growing in popularity, Henry replaced Jack in the top 10 names for boys, while Freya, Florence and Willow shifted Isabella, Rosie, and Sophia for girls.

In 2021 the biggest movers in the top 100 names in England and Wales were, Brody (90th) for boys, and Olive (74th) for girls, rising 36 and 25 places respectively, since 2020.

Read more: The most popular baby names of 2022 (so far)

Welcome to the world baby Kylo. (Getty Images)
Welcome to the world baby Kylo. (Getty Images)

There were also some brand new entries making an appearance in last year's most popular list with Lara, Beatrice, and Sara all scooting into the top 100.

For boys, Blake, Brody, Kai, Rupert, Tobias and Nathan also took their places in the most popular list, with Rupert and Brody making their first ever appearance in the top 100.

Muhammad was the most popular boys' name in four out of nine English regions, while the ever-dominant Olivia was the top girls' name for every English region and Wales, except for the East Midlands where Amelia was the most popular girls name.

Meanwhile baby names of Welsh origin featured among the most popular in Wales in 2021; Alys, Ffion, Seren and Eira were among the top 50 for girls and Arthur, Osian, Dylan and Elis were among the top 30 for boys.

While Noah and Olivia remain steadfastly in the most popular pack, some other names could well be in danger of falling out of favour.

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Leslie has had relatively little popularity in recent years with fewer than seven boys named each year since 2018.

Other monikers at risk of extinction include Clifford, Nigel and Norman with ten or fewer baby boys registered for each.

Girls' names such as Glenda and Kerry, that were more common in decades gone by, are also becoming endangered with less than five girls being named each year since 2018.

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Parents are taking influence from popular culture to name their babies. (Getty Images)
Parents are taking influence from popular culture to name their babies. (Getty Images)

As well as prepping for the names soon to be hollered by parents in parks and playgrounds across the nation, the ONS' annual list also offers a glimpse of what’s inspiring mums and dads-to-be when it comes to choosing baby names for their offspring.

And it seems parents were turning to their favourite programmes and films for namespo.

Last year’s highly streamed coming-of-age tale Luca may have increased interest in the name, with the number of boys named Luca jumping from 1,323 in 2020 to 1,807 in 2021.

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Meanwhile, the release of Disney adventure Raya and the Last Dragon in 2021 could be another animation influencing parents, the number of registrations of the name Raya more than doubling from 110 girls in 2020 to 251 in 2021.

The ever popular Star Wars Franchise also likely impacted parents, with the number of mini Kylos (after villain Kylo Ren, Landos and Finns all soaring up the list.

Music also made its mark on mums and dads with the monikers Mabel and Ezra all proving popular.

Ezra was just outside the top-50 most popular names given to boys in 2021, with 1,226 registered that year, while Mabel also peaked in 2021 at 885, following particularly large increases in 2018 and 2020.

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While royal baby names are perennially popular it seems regal names remained a hit with parents-to-be in 2021.

While the monikers George, Charlotte and Louis all saw a huge spike in registrations after the birth of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ children, last year saw the names stay steadfastly popular.

Archie ascended 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, that only returned the name to levels seen in 2018.

The Sussexes’ second child Lilibet was not born until June 2021 but still appears to have had some influence, with eight Lilibets registered in total over the year compared with fewer than three in each of the previous seven years.

Television and Netflix box sets also provided parents-to-be with plenty of inspiration in 2021 with Arthur, Finn and Tommy all remaining popular, potentially due to cult gangster hit Peaky Blinders.

Read more: The Netflix inspired baby names that could soon be on the rise

Noah has replaced Oliver at the top of the most popular baby names list. (Getty Images)
Noah has replaced Oliver at the top of the most popular baby names list. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile spooky series Stranger Things has, somewhat unsurprisingly, had a potential influence on the nursery registers of the future.

Dustin rose from a relatively obscure four registrations in 2015 to 25 in 2020, after the first three series of the sci-fi horror appeared between 2016 and 2019.

There have also been 10 newborn girls named Max since 2018, which was the year after the female character of the same name appeared in series two of the show.

There were even three babies registered with the name Eleven in 2018, another name shared with one of the show’s protagonists.

It's possible the Kardashians are leaving their mark on baby monikers too with the number of Saints rising more than tenfold since the birth of Kim Kardashian’s and Kanye West's son in December 2015.

Khloe Kardashian’s daughter True, was born in April 2018, after which the number of registrations of the name for girls rose from fewer than three that year, to 10 in 2021.

Meanwhile the number of boys named Psalm rose slightly from three in 2018 to six in 2021 after the birth of Kim’s second son, while there were also three girls called Psalm last year.

Top boys names 2021

1. Noah

2. Oliver

3. George

4. Arthur

5. Muhammad

6. Leo

7. Harry

8. Oscar

9. Archie

10. Henry

Top girls names 2021

1. Olivia

2. Amelia

3. Isla

4. Ava

5. Ivy

6. Freya

7. Lily

8. Florence

9. Mia

10. Willow