The names at risk of going ‘Bye-Bye Baby’ across the UK

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What is on trend comes and goes across the country. What was once fashionable and current can become as out-dated as your favourite pair of flared jeans.

The same goes for popular baby names and what ones end up topping the tables can change generationally or year-on-year.

What name you chose for your child is a very permanent decision that many don’t take very lightly and whether you chose something incredibly unique or stick with a timeless classic, not all names can remain in vogue.

These are some of the names that haven’t stood the test of time and are at risk of becoming extinct in the UK.

Data from the National Office of Statistics

Craig is at the top of the list of being threatened by changing trends with a 98% drop in babies being born with this name between 1996 and 2018. This is followed by Kieran with a 96% drop and just 115 babies being given this name in 2018.

Unisex names such as Jordan and Ashley are also seeing a drop in popularity with both facing a 95% drop since 1996.

I spoke with Andrew McAnallen (28) who is the President of the Ulster University Students’ Union about how he feels about his name experiencing an 89% drop in recent years.

He said, “That is a surprising drop. I can’t fathom why the general public would have lost interest in such a fashionable name, perhaps it’s down to a lack of famous Andrews or maybe even because of famous Andrews!”

In 1991, the year he was born, Andrew was the 4th most popular boys name in the UK but he ensures that this was not the influence for his naming.

“My mum came from the heart of County Tyrone and my dad from County Armagh. They moved to Belfast around the start of the 90s in the midst of what was still a turbulent time for the conflict. The choice to call me Andrew was perhaps a little cautious and to create a little ambiguity.”

Data from the National Office of Statistics

Looking at baby girl names, Kirsty has taken the largest hit on the list with only eleven babies across the UK being called this name in 2018 resulting in a 99% drop since 1996.

Despite the UK’s reality TV obsession and names such as Gemma Collins and Lauren Goodyear appearing in headlines and on online on a regular basis, both these names are on the way out with a 98% drop in popularity over the last decade.  

Danielle Thomson (19) was not overly surprised to hear her name had dropped from 2,641 babies born with it in 1996 to only 48 in 2018.

“I don’t like my name. So many people have different pronunciations of it! My family from New Zealand call me ‘Dani-Elle’ but everyone here in Northern Ireland either calls me ‘Din-Yell’ or ‘Dan-yell’,” she explained.

Asking whether the popularity of a name would influence her in what she would name a child she said, “Yeah it definitely would I think. If a name was really popular it would put me off calling a baby it as I think it would become quite common and I like unique ones.”

To see if any of these at-risk names stood a fighting chance of surviving, I spoke to Erin Small (25) who is a mother of one and expecting her second child in early June about the prospects of using any of these names for her baby.

Erin said, “I don’t think I would use any of the girls’ names, I’m not a fan of any. As for boys, I would probably only consider Sean after my maternal grandfather or Andrew as my partner’s name is Andy.”

Erin called her firstborn Ava which was in the top five most popular girls name in 2016 when she was born but despite this, she says she does not look to trends when naming a baby.

“I would personally try to avoid super popular names, I didn’t even know Ava was as popular as it has become when I was naming Ava and now she is one of three in her class called Ava R! I like older and more traditional names but I also had to consider more this time around as to how the second baby’s name would sound with Ava.”

Hannah McSorley
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