The baby names that have defined the decade

Which baby names have defined the decade? [Photo: Getty]
Which baby names have defined the decade? [Photo: Getty]

Baby name trends tend to happen gradually, which means the start of a new decade can provide a unique opportunity to look at the top monikers that defined the 2010s.

As we wave goodbye to one decade and welcome the new, we’ve looked at data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to reveal the names currently being called out from school registers all over the UK.

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When it comes to the most popular ones then there hasn’t been a huge amount of movement in either the boys or girls lists.

At the start of the decade, Sophie and Joshua both held the top spots, but they were swiftly dethroned by Lily and Oliver the following year.

It’s been a strong decade for baby Olivers, with the name holding onto the top spot no fewer than three times in the last 10 years, and coming in second place, to Muhammad, for a further four years.

Interestingly, however, 2019 seemed to see Oliver fall out of favour with it slipping out of the top 10 entirely.

READ MORE: 2019's most popular baby names have been revealed and there's some surprise new entries

Other go-to options for boys include Jack, Harry, Noah and Thomas.

While the end of the decade saw new top 10 entries for more modern choices such as Freddie, Leo and Arthur.

When it comes to top picks for girls, Olivia quickly replaced Sophie in the number one spot and has been consistently popular, heading up the list of most popular girls names for six of the decade’s 10 years.

The beginning of the 2010s saw Lily and Emily as popular parental picks, and both names remain in the top 10 following last year’s most popular list.

Newer names making their mark include Freya, which jumped 13 places to appear in the top 10 and Mia, which is also proving popular with parents.

Royal names also seemed to have inspired this decade with George, Harry and William all regularly making appearances in the top 10.

Meanwhile, biblical choices Noah and Jacob have both featured.

Girls names ending in ‘A’ also seemed appealing to parents, too. Ava, Sophia, Amelia, Ava, Ella, Isla, Mia, Aria and Sophia all appearing in the top 10 in 2018.

Other common boys names regularly making the top 10 include Oscar, Jack and Ethan.

READ MORE: Lola, Chloe, Felix and Harrison: The 'controversial' baby names dividing parents

The 2010s saw Olivia top the most popular list six times [Photo: Getty]
The 2010s saw Olivia top the most popular list six times [Photo: Getty]

We spoke to ChannelMum.com baby name expert SJ Strum to identify the naming trends that have most influenced parents’ choices in the 2010s.

“What a decade it was for baby names,” she tells Yahoo UK.

“As parents became more adventurous hunting down truly unique names and taking inspiration from fresh and adventurous sources, the number of different names choices rocketed to over 60,000 in the UK.”

From naming your baby after a character from ‘Peaky Blinders’ to turning to your Insta filters for moniker inspiration, here are some of the names and the trends that have defined the past decade. 

Box sets

The 2010s was the decade when we all became obsessed with Netflix. From Game Of Thrones to Peaky Blinders, couples chose unusual new names based on their streaming obsession. 

Filter faves 

First we filtered our photos, then our whole lives on social media. And in the last couple of years of the decade, the filter obsession spilled into colours with mums and dads choosing vibrant filter hues as names, including Indigo, Coral, Violet, and Olive. 

Matching pairs 

Arguably the biggest trend of the decade, matching pairs saw parents pick out a single name while pregnant which works for both a boy or a girl.

It explains why Oliver and Olivia have held the top spot for so alongside Charlie and Charlotte which are also firmly wedged in the top 20. 

READ MORE: Gray, Everlyn, Quinn: Gender-neutral baby name ideas

Gender neutral baby names

Thankfully, the 2010s became the decade we stopped defining children by pink and blue. This has had a knock-on effect on baby names with a whopping 37% of parents now considering a gender-neutral name.

Monikers including including Riley, Quinn, Taylor, Wren and Sidney have all rocketed in popularity as a result. 

Fun not formality

In all aspects, parenting became more playful and less formal over the last decade.

Names which formerly would only have been nicknames are now given names officially recorded on the birth certificate.

The formal Frederick is now ranked 65 in the name charts while cuter and less stuffy Freddie is riding high at number 18.

Other top swaps are Alfie instead of Alfred, Albie or Bertie not Albert and Millie instead of Matilda

Parents have turned to popular culture for inspiration for baby names [Photo: Getty]
Parents have turned to popular culture for inspiration for baby names [Photo: Getty]

Iconic surnames

The 2010s saw us lose so many celebs and parents have honoured their favourites by allowing their names to live on in their children.

Jackson boomed after namesake Michael passed in summer 2009 with the name soaring in popularity the following year.

Bowie also leapt 1018 places in the year after his 2016 death and classic surnames including Hendrix and Lennon also continued to grow in popularity.

Ancestry names

Throughout the decade, Henry, George and Harry remained playground staples, so parents began to look further back in time for unique inspiration.

As our obsession with rediscovering our family tree grew – from using the Ancestry site to doing DNA swab kits – now there is kudos in a cool old family name.

The next generation is now an army of Wilfred's, Stanley's, Franks and Theodores, alongside Mabels, Edith's and Elsie's. 

Double-barrelled names 

This trend split the nation, with it frequently voted the most disliked baby name trend.

Fans went wild for double names including Lacey-Mae and Tyler-Joe, but 51% of parents vetoed it as something they would never consider.

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