Scotland

Baby names: How popular is your name?

James McAvoy's first name has stood the test of time but Karen Gillan's has almost disappeared Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption James McAvoy's first name has stood the test of time but Karen Gillan's has almost disappeared

If you are called John, Paul, Nicola, Karen or Sharon, you are probably in your 40s, while Christophers, Andrews, Claires and Lauras are more likely to be in their 30s.

People called Ryan, Scott, Rebecca and Amy could reasonably be assumed to be 20-something, while Sophie, Chloe, Cameron and Lewis are most likely to be teenagers.

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There will be many exceptions but a look at the most popular names given to babies shows they have changed enormously since the National Records of Scotland started to collate them into annual lists in 1974.

Back in 1974, David was by far the most popular name for newborns, with one in every 20 baby boys called it.

David kept its place at number one until 1992 but after that the decline was swift and now it is less popular than Blake.

Nicola headed the charts for baby girls for much of the 1970s but it was never as big as David was for boys. It has dropped from almost 1,000 in 1974 to just three in 2019, the same as Tallulah.

Karen, the second most popular name in 1974, fared even worse, with just two babies being given the name in 2019. The names Sharon and Susan have disappeared altogether.

The change from John to Jack illustrates the way names have shifted. In 1974, John was the second most popular name in Scotland and there were very few babies called Jack, despite it being a popular nickname.

Over the next two decades John declined and Jack rose, with the tipping point being 1994. Five years later, Jack was the most popular name in Scotland and John has continued its slump ever since.

The past couple of decades have seen the emergence of many names that were almost unknown in the 70s such as Eva, Ellie, Logan and Ollie.

How names have changed over five decades

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Image caption Scottish actor David Tennant was born in 1971 and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 1970
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Image caption David Hasselhoff was big in the 1980s, as was The Little House on the Prairie, starring Melissa Gibert as Laura Ingalls
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Image caption Ryan Giggs and Emma Bunton were both big in the 1990s
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Image caption Jack Black and Sophie Dahl were big names in the 2000s
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Image caption Scottish actor Jack Lowden and Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner share their first names with hundreds of baby Scots

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