Revealed: The most popular baby names in England and Wales. Is your little one's name on trend?

Welcome to the world baby Hunter [Photo: Getty]

Choosing a baby name for an actual human has to be up there as one of the toughest parenting decisions you’ll make.

Do you go for something out of the baby naming box and risk your name being so out there no one can spell, or even say it, or stick to something a little more traditional and take the chance your little one will be one of 5 Thomas’ on the pre-school register?

If you’re truly a modern parent you could even opt for something based on the availability of your baby’s domain name. (yep that’s totally a thing millennial mums and dads are doing apparently)

For parents-to-be who are undecided (or who can’t agree) the Office for National Statistics has released a list of the most popular baby names in England and Wales for 2017.

And while there hasn’t been much movement at the top with the ever popular Olivia and Amelia reigning supreme for girls and Oliver, Harry and George dominating the boys name charts, there were some interesting newcomers to the top 100 list, as well as some historically popular names that plunged right out of favour.

Oliver held onto the crown for the most popular first name given to baby boys in England and Wales, a position held since 2013, while Harry and George have remained in second and third places respectively since 2016.

Meanwhile, Olivia remained the most popular first name given to baby girls, a position held since 2016; Amelia remained in second place and the increasingly popular Isla hopped up the list into third.

Leo replaced Thomas in the top 10 for boys, whilst Hunter and Ralph replaced Aaron and Jasper in the top 100.

When it comes to girls monikers, Poppy replaced Jessica in the top 10, whilst Aurora, Orla, Edith, Bonnie, Lyla and Hallie displaced Lexi, Zoe, Maddison, Sarah, Felicity and Lydia in the top 100.

Regionally, Olivia was the most popular name for baby girls throughout England and in Wales, but for baby boys Oliver was beaten by Muhammad in London, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber, with Harry the most popular name in the North East.

“Although Oliver and Olivia remained the most popular baby names in 2017, some fascinating changes took place beneath them,” said Nick Stripe, Head of Life Events, Office for National Statistics. “Leo entered the boys top 10 for the first time, whilst Hunter rocketed into the top 100, also for the first time, reaching number 78.

“Sarah, the most popular name for baby girls throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s, dropped out of the top 100 for the first time since our records began in 1904.  Brand new entries into the top 100 for girls include the names Aurora and Hallie.”

The most popular baby names list of 2017 has been released [Photo: Getty]

Also commenting on the findings leading baby names expert SJ ‎Ljungstrom, from parenting site ChannelMum.com said:

“While it’s almost no change at the top of the charts, the rapid rise of key names lower down the chart show how fast society is changing.

“The Instagram effect is starting to shine through with dreamy space names for girls the stand-out new trend. Celeb favourite Luna is the second biggest climber in the Top 100 girls chart – up 30 places to number 48 – alongside other heavenly names including Aurora, which jumps 25 spots to become a new entry in the top 100.

“Meanwhile Hallie – a feminine nod to the famous comet – is up a whopping 46 spots. Dozens of celebs and influencers have picked heavenly names over the last year and it’s a beautiful trend which will only blaze brighter as it gathers more pace on social media.

“Also still growing for girls is the botanicals theme. Poppy is up five places into the top ten, while Daisy, Ivy, Willow and Iris are all big climbers too.

For boys, SJ says millennial parents are leading the way with something she describes as the ‘soft macho’ phenomenon.

“Instead of traditional short, sharp masculine names like Jake and Tyler which have plunged in popularity, the ‘Soft Macho’ trend is seeing manly but gentle names including Hunter, Leo and Ralph all picked hundreds of times last year.

“These names work wonderfully as they appeal across the classes and regions, but without the grating sounds of older macho names. With the rise of gender neutrality, soft macho monikers also mean baby boys don’t have a tough image to live up to.

But it seems for girls the Royals are losing their naming allure.

“Surprisingly Megan is down a whopping 17 places, although that may reverse in next year’s charts that show babies being born this year. Zara has dropped two places, Elizabeth slides six and Victoria is down by one. So it’s left to the boys as Harry is holding up in second place alongside William who is a non-mover at number 11.”

Top 10 boys’ names in 2017:

1. Oliver

2. Harry

3. George

4. Noah

5. Jack

6. Jacob

7. Leo

8. Oscar

9. Charlie

10. Muhammad

Top 10 girls’ names in 2017:

1. Olivia

2. Amelia

3. Isla

4. Ava

5. Emily

6. Isabella

7. Mia

8. Poppy

9. Ella

10. Lily

To see the full list of the top baby names used in 2017, visit the ONS website

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