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Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Posted
3 APRIL 2023
6 min read
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Most popular baby names

Choosing a name for your child is a deeply personal decision, and the possibilities for inspiration are truly limitless. Whether you’re expecting in the coming months or want to celebrate a special time of the year, we’ve delved into the world of baby names associated with the warmer months.

Using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), we tracked trends to reveal the most popular spring and summer-inspired names, as well as those that have fallen out of favour in recent years.

We’ve also explored the world of celebrity-inspired baby names, to discover which stars are setting the trend and how their influence is shaping the naming landscape.

Most popular spring & summer-inspired baby names

To determine the current trends in seasonal baby names we analysed the increase in popularity of names from 2011 to 2021.

Leading the way for girls is Nova, which saw a massive 7,129% rise in popularity from 2011 to 2021. This spring-inspired name comes from the Latin word novus which means ‘new’, making it the perfect name for the season of new growth.

Aura – which means ‘soft breeze’ – ranks second for girls, experiencing a 1,525% surge in popularity. This is followed by the name Primrose in third (916%), taken from the flower that blooms in early spring.

For boys, the name August has undergone the biggest jump in popularity, with a 1,383% increase in the number of babies named after this summer month. Hunter  (meaning ‘to hunt’) and Axel (‘father of peace’) follow in second and third, with a growth of 1,236% and 902% respectively.

Spring and summer-inspired names going out of fashion

In addition to unveiling the most sought-after spring and summer baby names between 2011 and 2021, our study has also shed light on some names that have fallen out of favour in this time.

For girls, the name Varsha (which means ‘rain’) has seen a 100% decline, taking the top spot for the biggest drop in popularity. This is followed by Brooke (‘small stream’) which decreased by -83% and Tamar (‘Palm Tree’) which decreased by -79%.

Interestingly, the well-loved names Lucy (meaning ‘light’) and Chloe (meaning ‘blooming’) have also experienced a decline in popularity, both being used over 70% less than they were in 2011.

When it comes to male names, Arun (‘dawn’), Dayton (‘light town’) and Dylan (‘son of the sea’) have seen the biggest decline in use, all dropping by more than 60%.

Most popular spring-inspired names

When it comes to girls’ names inspired just by spring, Nova, Maple, Olive, Oona and Robin have experienced the most significant surge in popularity between 2011 and 2021. Maple (500%) and Olive (397%) are both inspired by trees of the same name, while Oona is derived from the Irish word for ‘lamb’.

As for boys, Hunter, Axel, Ash, Asher and Denver top the list for spring-inspired baby names. The names Ash (367%) and Asher (243%) are inspired by the Ash tree and also mean ‘happy’, while Denver means ‘green valley’ – perfect for spring.

  Girls Boys
Rank Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%) Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%)
1 Nova 7,129% Hunter 1,236%
2 Maple 500% Axel 902%
3 Olive 397% Ash 367%
4 Oona 375% Asher 243%
5 Robin 330% Denver 229%

Most popular summer-inspired names

Aura has seen the biggest growth in popularity for summer-themed girls’ names (1,525%), while for boys August takes the crown (1,383%).

Parker, which is a gender-neutral name meaning ‘park keeper’, actually follows in second for both boys (675%) and girls (850%). The third most popular name is also similar for both genders: Oceana for girls (467%) and Ocean for boys (207%).

  Girls Boys
Rank Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%) Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%)
1 Aura 1,525% August 1,383%
2 Parker 850% Parker 675%
3 Oceana 467% Ocean 207%
4 June 386% Ray 110%%
5 Capri 300% Luca 84%

Most popular names based on flowers

Floral names are an ever-popular choice for girls, but some have caught on more than others. We found the name Primrose has grown in popularity the most, with 916% more babies being named after this flower in 2021 compared to 2011. This is followed by Juniper (730%), Ivy (624%), Posy (500%) and Dahlia (252%).

For boys, on the other hand, flower-inspired names have yet to catch on as a widespread trend in the UK. However, our research did uncover a couple of notable exceptions: Sage (240%) and Basil (115%). Despite the limited selection, it's clear that some parents are embracing the idea of botanical names for their sons.

  Girls Boys
Rank Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%) Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%)
1 Primrose 916% Sage 240%
2 Juniper 730% Basil 115%
3 Ivy 624%  
4 Posy 500%
5 Dahlia 252%

Most popular names based on celebrities

Celebrities and pop culture have a great deal of influence on current trends, often dictating what’s popular and what’s not – including, it seems, when it comes to baby names. To find out which celeb-inspired names are the trendiest, we looked at how much each grew in popularity between 2011 and 2021. Once again, our full (and non-gendered) seedlist was compared against names for both boys and girls in the ONS data.

For girls, our research revealed that the name Reign went through the biggest popularity boost, increasing by 1,600%. The name is gender-neutral but appears to have caught on more for girls in the UK – despite initially being made popular by Kourtney Kardashian’s son Reign, who was born in 2014.

Meanwhile, Bowie comes top of the list for boys with a massive 1,850% hike in popularity between 2011 and 2021. The name is no doubt inspired by British pop music icon David Bowie, who unfortunately passed away in 2016 – leaving behind an impressive legacy, and apparently inspiring parents around the UK to name their children after him.

Interestingly, another name influenced by David Bowie appears on the list: Ziggy, inspired by Bowie’s famous Ziggy Stardust character, has risen in popularity by 656% as a boys’ name since 2011.

  Girls Boys
Rank Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%) Name 2011-2021 difference in use (%)
1 Reign 1,600% Bowie 1,850%
2 Winter 947% Bear 1,443%
3 Monroe 740% Arlo 1,263%
4 Aurora 720% Bodhi 1,247%
5 River 713% Apollo 725%
6 Bodhi 667% Ziggy 656%
7 Blue 300% Ace 641%
8 Hazel 167% Otis 637%
9 Sunny 142% Archer 600%
10 Ariel 118% Maverick 523%

 

Brought to you by the life insurance experts at Comparethemarket.

Methodology & Sources

We used a seedlist of names inspired by spring & summer, as well as popular celebrity baby names, to determine their popularity in the UK.

We compared each seedlist against ONS data to identify the number of times a name has been used and how this has changed between 2011 and 2021. The ONS data is split into boys' and girls’ names, and the full seedlist (not separated by gender) was compared against both genders.

Names were then ranked according to which experienced the biggest increase in use between 2011 and 2021.

To appropriately determine the names going out of fashion only those with at least five names in 2011 were considered.