What are the most popular names for Britain’s babies?

The “Mirror” newspaper has a fun story today on the most popular boys’ and girls’ names for babies born in 2009. There is a comprehensive list of the top 100 names for each gender – see here.
Now I’m really fascinated by naming practices around the world and have a major section of my web site devoted to this topic, so I read the “Mirror” piece with special interest. But something about the lists did not look quite right. There is a serious absence of ethnic names.
In the latest list (that for 2008) from the most definitive source of baby names in England & Wales (the Office of National Statistics) – which you can access here – Mohammed (16th), Muhammad (37th) and Mohammad (65th) all appear in the top 100 list for boys’ names but none of these names is mentioned in the “Mirror” list.
It should be noted that the ONS produces its ranking of the popularity of names using the exact spelling of the name given at birth registration. Combining the occurrence of Mohammed, Muhammad and Mohammad would put the name third – a reflection of the changing ethnicity of the British population.
When I checked the “Mirror” story again, I found that the source was the parenting club Bounty. Now I’m sure that this organisation is immensely helpful to those about to become or who have just become parents, but how does Bounty compile its lists of the most popular names? I suspect it does it from those registered on its site but, of course, this is not a comprehensive or accurate source for such data.
I’ve e-mailed the journalist in question – Victoria Ward – about this.


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