Top Northern Irish names

Northern Irish names


The most popular Northern Irish name for boys in 2018 was James. It has been in the Top Five names for new-born boys for more than 20 years at least (annual official records began in 1997). This was the fourth consecutive year James held the number one slot since knocking Jack off the perch he'd held for twelve years, but James had to share the limelight with Noah in 2018; there were exactly the same number of registrations of both names.

The most popular Northern Irish name for boys in 2018 was James. It has been in the Top Five names for new-born boys for more than 20 years at least (annual official records began in 1997).

Close-up photo of smiling, red-haired boy aged c10 years old with strongly freckled nose, cheeks and forehead.

This was the fourth consecutive year James held the number one slot since knocking Jack off the perch he'd held for twelve years, but James had to share the limelight with Noah in 2018; there were exactly the same number of registrations of both names.

Northern Irish names for girls have seen just a little more variation since 1997, with Chloe, Emma, Katie, Sophie and Emily having held the crown at various times in the last 21 years. But 2018 brought Grace out on top after 12 years in the bronze or silver positions.

It's noticeable that in choosing names for their children, parents in Northern Ireland seem to make their selection from a very similar pot of options as parents in the Republic.


See listing of the Top 20 names for babies born in Northern Ireland in 2018 (last full data year available).

Northern Irish names for girls have seen just a little more variation since 1997, with Chloe, Emma, Katie, Sophie and Emily having held the crown at various times in the last 21 years. But 2018 brought Grace out on top after 12 years in the bronze or silver positions.

It's noticeable that in choosing names for their children, parents in Northern Ireland seem to make their selection from a very similar pot of options as parents in the Republic.

See listing of the Top 20 names for babies born in Northern Ireland in 2018 (last full data year available).


Some features of the Northern Irish names 2018 report

Some 89% of new born boys were given at least one additional name in 2018, with the most popular additional names being James, John, Patrick, Thomas and William. James alone was given to just under 10% of them.

Of the eleven new entries to the top 100 boys' names, Brodie, Cohen, Frankie and Luca made the top 100 for the first time in more than 20 years. On the way out of the Top 100 were Arlo, Cole, Harley, Senan and Toby, each of which made their debut in the list only the year before.

The highest climbers in the Top 100 from 2017 to 2018 were Tommy, Theo and Hunter.

In 2018 some 1,683 name variations appeared in the civil birth registration registers. In 1978, the figure was only 647, demonstrating the much wider range of names parents now select from.

None of the girls' names in the 1978 Top 10 made the 2018 list. (In 1978, Joanne, Lisa, Claire, Emma and Julie were the favourites.) It was the same in 1998, when Chloe, Emma, Rebecca, Amy and Lauren were the most popular names. Just a decade later, they don't make the Top 10. Amazingly, only three names from the 1978 Top 10 - Maria, Emma and Sarah - also appeared in the 2018 list. That's quite a churn!

Of the eleven nerw entries to the top 100 girls' names in 2018, Ada, Fianna, Mila, Myla, Pippa and Savannah made a first appearance in the list since 1997. The highest climbing favourites were Rosie, Sadie and Saoirse.

Sarah, once a top 20 name, was one of the names to fall the greatest number of places since 2017, along with Mya, Rose and Penny.

Northern Irish name changes over the last 150 years  

When compared with Irish first names in 1864, modern children's names have shifted quite considerably over 160 years. For the boys, only five of the old names have survived to the 2018's Top 20 twenty: James, Thomas, Daniel and Matthew.

For girls, there are no exact matches, although Anna is obviously only a slight variation of one of the 1864 Top 20.

But as the two tables below show, Irish name fashions change frequently. In just 22 years, only three of the most popular 10 boys names - James, Jack and Matthew  - remained  in the top spots and none of the girls names held their ground.


Top Northern Irish names in 1975

David

Paul

John

Mark

Stephen

Michael

William

James

Jonathan

Robert


Joanne

Karen

Catherine

Julie

Sharon

Mary

Claire

Lisa

Michelle

Nichola


Top Northern Irish names in 1997

Matthew

Ryan

James

Conor

Andrew

Jordan

Michael

Jack

David

Adam


Chloe

Shannon

Rebecca

Emma

Lauren

Megan

Sarah

Hannah

Amy

Rachel


Top Northern Irish Boys' Names

1975

David

Paul

John

Mark

Stephen

Michael

William

James

Jonathan

Robert


1997

Matthew

Ryan

James

Conor

Andrew

Jordan

Michael

Jack

David

Adam



Top Northern Irish Girls' Names

1975

Joanne

Karen

Catherine

Julie

Sharon

Mary

Claire

Lisa

Michelle

Nichole

1997

Chloe

Shannon

Rebecca

Emma

Lauren

Megan

Sarah

Hannah

Amy

Rachel