Weekend Post: Journey into the Top 20 Pt. I

A naff doodle of mine of two of my friends, Tiff and Jess.

A constant source of fascination for me is the elite few names which consistently appear in the upper ranking of the name popularity, and of late I’ve been looking into when exactly the current crop of Top 20 names in England&Wales in 2010 became popular. The findings were mostly what I expected, that being that the male names are mostly all consistent performers, whilst the female names are mostly all names that are experiencing a spurt in the popularity stakes.

First to clarify, when I mention historical data, I’m talking about the piece of data which lists the Top 100 for both male and female names from 1904 – 1994, with a space of a decade between each list (i.e. the data is for 1904, 1914, 1924 etc.). The first complete list of data dates from 1996.

1. Oliver + Olivia

The name Oliver ranked at #93 in 1904, the earliest list available. Since 2000, he has climbed 13 places to the top spot, which he took from Jack in 2009. In recent years, he re-entered the Top 20 in 1998 at #20, and has remained in it ever since.

The first time Olivia appears in the historic data in in 1994, at #24. Since 2000, she has climbed 7 places, and took the female top spot in 2008. She entered the Top 20 in 1997 at #19.

2. Jack + Sophie

Jack ranked at #39 in 1904, and since 2000, he has fallen one place. He took the top spot in 1996, and lost it to Oliver in 2009.

I once penned this name as a potential challenger to the top spot, forgetting that she was indeed the #1 name in 1996. When you look at the historical data, the name Sophie entered the Top 100 in 1974 at #85.

3. Harry + Emily

The name Harry ranked at #18 in 1904, and since 2000, he has climbed 3 places. In 1994, he was at #30 and by 1996 he was inside the Top 20 at #17. Infuriatingly, the 1995 data isn’t available.

The name Emily ranked at #1 in 2003 and 2004, and has remained inside the Top 5 since 1996. In 1904, the name Emily ranked at #23 – historically speaking, the name appeared in every year except between 1934-1964.

4. Alfie + Lily

Alfie doesn’t appear at all in the historic data, which lists the Top 100 for a year in each decade. In 1996, he was at #119, and he entered the Top 100 in 1997 at #92. Alfie is a recent addition to the Top 20 – he only entered in in 2006 at #16. Since 2000, he has climbed 53 places.

In 1996, the name Lily ranked at #85 and her earliest ranking in the historic data is in 1904 at #20. Since 2000, Lily has risen 41 places and she entered the Top 20 in 2004 at #16.

5. Charlie + Amelia

Charlie first ranked in the historic data in 1994 at #59. Since 2000, he has risen 28 places, and he entered the Top 20 in 2004, at #15.

The name Amelia ranked at #85 in 1904, and entered the Top 20 in 2004 at #18. Ranking at #63 in 1996, since 2000 she has risen 30 places to where she is today – rising 4 places from her 2009 ranking.

6. Thomas + Jessica

The name Thomas ranked at #4 in 1904, and since the year 2000, he has fallen 4 places. The name Thomas has consistently been inside the Top 10, nevermind the Top 20, since 1996.

In 1996 the name Jessica ranked at #3, and she ranked at #1 in 2005. The name first appears in the historic data at #40 in 1984, and by 1994 she had risen to #3.

7. William + Ruby

Another long-time favourite, William ranked at #1 in 1904, and he has risen 5 places since 2000 – gaining one of those places between 2009 and 2010. Like Thomas, he’s another Top 10 favourite.

The name Ruby enjoyed somewhat of a meteoric rise in the early 2000s – from #78 in 2000 to #1 in 2007. She actually entered the Top 20 in 2005 at #15, but she fell 5 places from 2009 to 2010. She ranked at #77 in 1904.

8. Joshua + Chloe

The name Joshua first appeared in the historic data in 1984 at #78. Since the year 2000, the name Thomas has fallen 4 places, with him losing 3 of those places between 2009 and 2010. Joshua is another one which has consistently been inside the Top 20 since 1996.

Chloe first appears in the historical data in 1984 at #97, and by 1998 she had risen to take the #1 spot. Since then she has been mostly in decline, falling 5 places since 2009.

9. George + Grace

George ranked at #3 in 1904, and in 1996 he just sneaked into the Top 20 at #19, whilst in 1994 he was at #21. Since 2000, the name has risen 8 places, rising 2 of those places between 2009 and 2010.

She entered the Top 20 in 2002 at #19, her highest rank was in 2006 when she ranked at #1. Grace has risen 12 places since 2000, but has fallen 2 places between 2009 and 2010. In 1904, Grace ranked at #38.

10. James + Evie

James ranked at #6 in 1904, and has consistently been inside the Top 10 ever since, barring 1954 and 1964 when he fell as low as #19 in the latter year. His highest ranking was #2 in 1994.

The name Evie does not appear at all in the historic data, ranking at #237 in 1996. She entered the Top 20 in 2007 at #15, and since 2000, she has risen #111 places.

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Categories: Popular Names, Popularity | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Weekend Post: Journey into the Top 20 Pt. I

  1. I just love looking at data! It’s interesting seeing the differences between our Top 10 and yours – you seem to be hanging onto names like Joshua and Jessica that have fallen here, while you also have a faster uptake of “new nickname names” like Alfie and Evie. It’s funny how we seem to love William more than you do.

    I counted, and we have exactly 5 of each gender the same, which I guess makes us half-English? We have 3 boys and 4 girls the same as the US, which makes us slightly more British than American.

    Like

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