The Most Popular Baby Names Across the Globe
The most important thing you will give your baby is his or her name. And because of the permanency of names, choosing the perfect moniker for your baby is not a simple task. You want to consider how easy it is to spell and pronounce, whether or not it has a significant meaning and what kind of nicknames might develop from it.
So, how do baby names compare across the globe? We've done some digging to find the top baby names from the U.S. to China and found the cultural influences on each to be fascinating. In the U.K., as one might guess, “royal” names make quite the impression, while religion has quite an influence in the Middle East.
Looking to honor your ancestry or simply choose a popular name from another country? In the past year, BabyCenter, “The Telegraph” and statistics offices from individual countries released lists of the most popular baby names by country for you to consider for your baby.
Rounding out the top three names for girls in the United States are Emma, Olivia and Ava. For boys, Liam, Noah and William top the list.
In past years, popular baby names in the U.S. were often biblical, with Jacob, Emily, Mary and James ranking near the top. While some of those names are still holding steady, most common choices in the last decade or two have become much more modern.
Similar names are leading the charts in Canada, with Olivia ranking No. 1 for girls, and Noah topping the most popular names for boys. Emma and Charlotte are also popular with the ladies, while Liam and Jackson makes the top three for the guys.
The parallels between the popular names in Canada and the U.S. highlight how heavily the two influence one another.
Same goes for name choices in the United Kingdom, with Olivia being the No. 1 choice for girls followed by Sophia and Amelia.
The male version of Olivia, Oliver, ranks No. 2 on the charts, while Muhammad is No. 1. The Arabic name has several different spellings and is especially popular in culturally diverse London.
The Central Statistics Office reports that in Ireland, the most popular name for boys is Jack. It was popular during the Middle Ages and even became a slang term meaning “man.” Rounding out the top five are James, Daniel, Conor and Sean.
The most popular name for girls is Emily, derived from the Latin name Aemilia. It means “striving” or “eager.” In Ireland, it’s followed by Emma, Amelia, Grace and Sophie to complete the top five girl names.
Following in the United States’ footsteps (or vice versa), Emma (which is of German origin) tops the name charts for girls, followed by Mila and Jade.
Raphael, which means “God has healed” in Hebrew, is the No. 1 name for boys, while Liam and Lucas are next in line. Interestingly, other Hebrew names such as Noah and Gabriel made the top 10 list.
For several years, the most popular girl's name in Spain has been Lucia, which means “light.” The name has been a popular choice given to many babies who were born at daybreak.
For the boys, Lucas, which is a Latin name with a similar meaning ranks No. 2, while Hugo tops the list at No. 1. It, too, has a connection to light, meaning “bright in mind and spirit.”
Claiming the No. 1 boy name spot in Italy is Francesco, with Alessandro and Leonardo following behind. Much of the popularity of Francesco can be attributed to Pope Francis.
Italian girls are often named Sofia, meaning “wisdom,” Aurora or Giulia.
Germany is yet another country that favors the name, Emma, which means “whole” or “universal” in Old German. Famous actresses who share the name include Emma Thompson, Emma Stone and Emma Watson.
Ben tops the boys’ names list. It’s such a fitting name for a baby boy, too, as it literally means “son” in Hebrew.
William, Oscar and Liam are at the top of the boy names list in Sweden, while for girls, Alice, Alicia and Olivia are popular. While Old German in origin, William actually grew to popularity after the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
As for Alice, the name became popular in the 12th century and is a shorter version of the German moniker, Adalheidis.
In Denmark, Sofia also happens to be the most popular pick for girls.
And in the boys category, you're likely to meet one named with the biblical name, Noah. The name was very common to Puritans and has been used since the Protestant Reformation.
Norwegians prefer a similar moniker for girls, Sofie. This is a Persian variation of Sophia. The name is followed by Nora and Emma.
Jakob, Lucas and Emil are the top picks for boys. Jakob is mainly used in Germany and Nordic countries and is derived from the Hebrew name Yaakov.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, boys in Iceland are most likely to be named Alexander, Aron or Mikael. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, Alexander has been popular, which is likely due to the prominence of kings who were given that name.
For girls, you can expect Emilia, Emma or Elisabet. But don’t confuse Emilia with Amelia; the two names have different roots and meanings, despite their similar spellings. And while these names are easy enough to pronounce, the most popular middle names in Iceland (Þór, Hrafn and Ósk, among others) are actually not.
For boys in South Africa, the most likely name of choice is Enzokuhle, followed by Lethabo and Melokuhle. Interestingly enough, those are the same names that top the list for girls.
Meaning “expected to do great things,” the unisex name of Enzokuhle is a wise pick for any baby. The meanings of Lethabo and Melokuhle, “joy” and “beautiful one,” respectively, are equally as inspiring.
The Middle East
In predominantly Muslim regions, the most popular boy's name is Mohammed, after the prophet of the Islamic faith.
Mohammed's favorite wife, Ayesha, makes the list as the top name among girls. Both names, however, are spelled a variety of ways.
For almost 20 years, Tamar has been the most popular girl's name in Israel. It is an Old Testament name with Hebrew origin that means “date palm tree.” Not far behind are Noa, Avigail, Maya and Yael.
Boys in Israel are most commonly named Muhammed (spelled a bit differently here than in the Middle East); however, the most popular Jewish name for boys is Noam.
Turkey is one place in this region where Muhammad doesn’t top the boys’ name list. Instead, the top name for boys goes to Yusuf. There are different spellings used, including Yusef, which is common in the United States. The name is an Arabic variation of Joseph.
For girls, the top pick in Turkey is Zeynep. This is also an Arabic name that means “father’s jewelry.” The name is popular among Muslim parents, as it is the name of one of the prophet Muhammad’s daughters. Other popular picks for boys include Eymen, Omer, Emir, Mirac and Mustafa. Also in the top five for girls are Elif, Defne, Hiranur and Ebrar.
In China, the family name comes before the given name, with almost 85 percent. of the population sharing about 100 last names; the most common is Wang.
When it comes to first names, Li, meaning “pretty, graceful,” tops the list for girls. And Wei, meaning “big, great,” ranks highest for boys.
Meaning “heart of hope,” Nozomi is Japan's top baby girl name, followed by Kokoro and Emika.
Hiroshi, meaning “honesty” or “integrity,” has been a popular choice for boys since the 1920s and leads the ranks just ahead of Takashi and Akira.
Just like in China, Koreans list their surnames first, and most first names consist of a single syllable.
Topping the list of boy names is Do Yoon with Ha Jun and Seo Jun trailing behind. Popular among girls are Ha Yoon, Seo Yoon and Seo Yeon.
Among the most popular names for boys in Russia are Alexander topping the charts, along with Artem and Maxim. Artem takes form in Russian, as well as Ukranian with Artemios.
For girls, names like Sofia, Maria and Anastasia are popular. Several of these names have been the most popular names in Russia for more than 10 years now.
The Indian name, Sannvi, tops the girls’ list, as it means “Goddess Lakshmi,” the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. Aadya and Kiara follow suit.
And while Mohammed tops the boys’ list, like several other countries, Reyansh and Aarav take up the second and third spots, respectively.
Australia & New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand share a lot of cultural similarities, and that’s even the case when it comes to baby names. For the fifth year in a row, Oliver has been the most popular boy name in Australia, followed by William and Jack. For girls, Charlotte topped the list for the third year in a row, with Olivia and Ava ranking second and third, respectively. Even though Charlotte is traditionally a girl’s name, it actually means “free man.”
In neighboring New Zealand, Oliver also reigns, with Jack and Noah trailing behind in the second and third spots. Once again for girls, Charlotte takes the lead, followed by Harper and Isla.
It wasn't until 2016 that the Brazilian government first released an official report on baby names. This year, Alice tops the charts for girls, with its pleasant meaning of “noble, kind,” followed by Sophia and Helena.
Miguel tops the boys’ list, and it means “who is like God” in Spanish. Arthur and Bernardo follow in line.
Topping the names in Argentina is Isabella. It’s quite a regal name, considering it’s a variation of Elizabeth, and several European countries had royal Isabellas throughout history.
For boys, Benjamin is another name with a lot of clout, especially for its relevance in the bible. After all, Benjamin was the youngest of Jacob’s 12 sons.
Isidora tops the baby name list in Chile. And it’s quite fitting for a baby since Isidora means “gift” in Greek. Emilia and Josefa came in second and third, respectively.
Topping the boys’ list is Mateo, the yin to the Isidora yang, because it means “gift of god.” Other names in the top three for boys were Vincente and Gaspar, respectively.
In Peru, parents prefer a strong female name, as Valentina literally means “strong” in Latin.
Sebastian is the most popular for boys, which means “venerable” in Latin. Actress America Ferrera named her baby Sebastian last year, giving him the nickname Baz.
No. 1 on the girls’ list in Colombia is Luciana, which (similar to Lucia) has the origin meaning of “light” in Spanish and Italian.
Jeronimo tops the boys’ list as the Spanish variation of Jerome, which means “sacred name” in Greek.
Similar to some of the other Latin American countries on this list, Luciana and Mateo top the baby name lists in Costa Rica.
Coming in second and third for the girls is Emma and Isabella, respectively, while Santiago and Samuel follow in line on the boys’ list.
Yet another country that loves the name Sofia is Mexico, with Regina and Valentina following in line on the girls’ list.
And for the boys, it’s Santiago, a biblical name that means “St. James” in Spanish. Mateo and Matias take up the second and third spots.