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Popular baby name trends of 2016

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BABY NAMES 2016
Names inspired by film & TV
Harley Quinn in Suicide SquadWhich popular films and TV shows are influencing parents-to-be?

The baby name trends of 2016 are remarkably different from last year, with both 1980s names and Irish names plummeting in popularity. Instead they’re being replaced by parents’ favourite superheroes, Instagram stars, and names inspired by nature.

Celebrity names, and A-list baby name choices, continue to have an impact on BabyCentre parents. And 2016 has seen the deaths of some of our most-loved celebs, whose influence can also be seen on the charts.

Trending boys’ names

Oliver has reclaimed the top spot from Muhammad, for the first time since 2013. Oliver has been a firm favourite in the top 10 for a decade. The name comes from the Latin olive, meaning "olive tree". There have been further changes at the top too, with Noah rising to third place from fourth, Harry up two places from number six to number four and Jack finishing off the top five, down two places from last year.

George and Henry have both been new entries to the top 10 this year, with George climbing four places from 12 to number eight, and Henry soaring from number 18 to number 10.

Check out the top 100 boys’ names of 2016 to see what’s going on elsewhere in the charts.

Trending girls’ names

Olivia remains at the top of the girls’ names chart for another year. Olivia is followed by Lily at second place and Sophia at third place, two names which have swapped places from 2015.

New entry Ava has crept into the top 10 this year, up five places from number 11 to number six, and other names ending in ‘a’ continue to be popular choices, with Isabella climbing two spots from number 10 to number eight. Isla has returned to the top 10 at number seven, after falling to number 12 in 2015.

Check out the top 100 girls’ names of 2016 for more inspiration.

Nature-themed names

BabyCentre parents are getting closer to nature this year by choosing lots of pretty, flower-themed names. Lily is in second place, up one place from 2015 and Poppy, Daisy, Rose and Holly are all climbing in the charts too.

Eden is a new entry in the top 100 this year at number 92. This pretty name may be inspired by the Bible’s Garden of Eden. It has Hebrew origins and means "paradise" or "place of pleasure". Other nature-themed names on the rise include Hazel, Maple and Bluebell. Could this be a trend to grow in 2017?

Superheroes

Cult comic book characters and stars of Marvel movie and TV adaptations are proving popular this year with BabyCentre parents choosing their favourites for their own little superheroes.

Felicity is a new entry in the top 100 girls’ names, perhaps in homage to expert hacker Felicity Smoak from DC Comics’ Arrow. Other crime-fighting girls’ names rising in popularity includes Lois, which may have been inspired by Superman’s Lois Lane. Iris combines two trends this year, being both nature-themed and taken from Iris West, a character in The Flash. And both Harley and Quinn have jumped in popularity this year. Perhaps a nod to the mallet-wielding supervillain Harley Quinn, of Suicide Squad?

Boys’ names in 2016 are also inspired by the huge amount of new superhero films and TV shows on release. Could The Flash’s Harrison Wells could be the reason Harrison has jumped eight places from number 39 to number 27?

Stars of Instagram

With Instagram continuing as a dominant social media force, it’s no surprise that some of its biggest stars are having an impact on baby name choices, particularly when it comes to girls’ names.

Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams has over four million Instagram followers. Could this be the reason that Maisie has gone up from number 56 to number 47 on the top 100 girls’ names chart? Other Instagram-inspired girls’ names on the up include Selena (Gomez), Kylie (Jenner) and Alexa (Chung).

Celebrity names

Celebrities have long inspired parents’ baby name choices, and this trend continues in 2016.

Are parents choosing Daisy because they are fans of Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley? Or maybe because it was the name chosen by actor Olivia Wilde for her daughter? Whatever the reason, Daisy looks set to become a firm favourite in the BabyCentre charts, rising four places to number 26 this year.

Many well-loved stars have passed away in 2016, and fans have been quick to pay tribute with their baby name picks. Harper has risen from number 87 to number 56, perhaps in homage to To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee. Outside the top 100, Victoria has risen in popularity, which may be a nod to the comedic actress Victoria Woods’ untimely death earlier this year. And even Prince has seen a handful of registrations this year, undoubtedly a tribute to the music legend himself.

Names inspired by film and TV

Feel the force!

One of the most-anticipated film releases of all time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was released right at the end of 2015. And the film franchise seems to have inspired BabyCentre parents’ name choices, as Luke and Harrison are both in the top 100. New character Finn could be making his mark too, as the name has climbed up five places from 72 to 67. In fact, space is another growing trend, with Nova, Luna and Phoenix all a potential nod to Tim Peake’s epic voyage earlier this year.

Box set baby names

Our love of binge watching the latest box set continues in 2016, with character names from Orange is the New Black, Sons of Anarchy and Peaky Blinders all appearing in the baby names charts.

Peaky Blinders’ Arthur Shelby could be the inspiration behind Arthur’s leap from number 55 to number 35 in the top 100 boys’ names. Tommy and Alfie are in the top 100, while Polly and Ada have risen in popularity too.

And are Sons of Anarchy fans the reason why registrations for Jax, Tara and Harley have all gone up in 2016?

The fourth season of Orange is the New Black saw the return of Piper Chapman to our screens – and a flurry of parents choosing Piper for their baby girls. Could Tiffany, Tasha and Nicky see more registrations in 2017?

If you want to get ahead of the pack when it comes to choosing your baby’s name, check out our top predictions for baby boys’ names and baby girls’ names in 2017.
Last reviewed: December 2016
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