Jack still a man of all trades as name tops baby list for fifth year


JACK AND Emily were the most popular babies’ names registered in 2011, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Jack is Ireland’s favourite boys’ name for the fifth year in a row, but Emily moved up one position to replace Sophie as the most popular girls’ name this year.

Of the 38,223 boys born in 2011, 840 were named Jack, 44 more than the number of boys named James, the second most popular name.

Seán, Daniel and Conor complete the top five boys’ names, and all have been in the top five since 2007. Jack, Seán, Conor and James have been in the top five since 1998.

There were 596 babies named Emily last year out of a total of 36,427 girls born in the State – just 14 more than the number of girls named Sophie.

The top girls’ names have varied more than the boys’ over the past few years. Emma has been in the top five since 2000, but this year marks the first appearance of Lily, which joins Grace to complete the top five list.

Sarah dropped to sixth place in 2011 after 13 years in the top five.

This was the first year in which Mason, Donnacha, Tommy and Zach appeared in the top 100 list for boys. The highest new entry at number 70 was Mason, which rose from 128th place in 2010. The name Tommy rose 72 places.

The only new girls’ name on the top 100 list was Lexi, climbing from 102nd place in 2010 to 96th this year. Michaela grew most in popularity, rising 86 places in 2011 after exiting the top 100 in 2005.

The figures show that girls are given a wider variety of names than boys are, with 4,810 different girls’ names registered compared with 3,801 for boys. More than half of all girls were given a name from the top 100 list, compared with more than three in five boys.

Caoimhe and Saoirse were the only Irish names to make it into the top 20 list of girls’ names. Seán, Cian, Oisín and Liam were the only Irish entries on the boys’ top 20 list.

Regional difference were recorded, with Ryan the favourite name for boys in south Dublin, Laois, Louth, Wicklow, Sligo, Cavan and Donegal. Alex was the most popular name in Cork city, while Jamie topped the rankings in Monaghan.

Aoife, Ava, Caoimhe, Chloe, Ella, Katie, Lucy, Mia, Róisín and Sarah were county and city favourites for the girls who didn’t make it into the top five.

Boys born to two Irish parents were most likely to be named Conor, Jack or James, while Ryan was the most popular choice for parents from Britain. The favourite girls’ name for British parents was Ruby.

Aaron, Leon, Louis, Luca and Samuel were the top-ranking boys’ names for parents from other EU countries, while Rebecca and Julia were most popular for girls.

Muhammad and Sarah were the favourite baby names registered by parents from outside the EU.

Daniel and Chloe were the most popular names announced in The Irish Times birth column last year. They were followed by James, Robert, Thomas and Tom for boys and Anna, Isabelle and Katie for girls.


CAN A child’s name have consequences for his or her future?

Recent research by social psychologists has linked the names babies are given by their parents to life decisions they make as adults, including who they marry, what streets they live on and what career paths they take.

The “name-letter” theory, developed by researchers at the University of New York in 2002, is based on the idea that people prefer the letters belonging to their own name and will select these above other letters in choice tasks. They found that more dentists were likely to be called Denis or Denise than would be expected.

A study of almost half a million Americans by University of Pennsylvania researcher Uri Simonsohn published last year supported the research, finding that people are more likely to choose their workplaces based on how similar the company names are to their own.

Previous studies on the connection between names and life choices from the University of Michigan found people were more likely to donate to a hurricane fund if they shared an initial with the name of the hurricane. CIARA KENNY