Most Popular Names Revealed

Most Popular Names Revealed

What’s in a name? When it comes to deciding which moniker is our favourite, we take inspiration from many different places, including our favourite TV shows or books growing up, common family names, or celebrities that made a big impression on us.

Names have changed in popularity over time; while some names (like Gemma, Aimee and Rebecca) are at risk of disappearing, others like Stormi are becoming commonplace. For some names, their sudden unpopularity can be linked to social media memes – such as Karen, which has seen a substantial 24% decline in use over the last five years, after becoming synonymous with entitlement and rudeness.

But how does the media we consume translate to name use? The Popular Names Study by Casino Guardian set out to find out to name the most popular names inspired by pop culture – using official data – and highlight any unusual trends…

The Study Methodology

The Popular Names Study pulled together data from the Office for National Statistics, which uses birth registration data for those born in England and Wales – with new reports released in Autumn each year. The study involved analysing trends over the last five years and the last decade to highlight any notable statistics, and splitting these into key categories including: film and tv, pop culture, national days and alternate spellings.

Film and TV Findings

It’s no secret that we’re a fan of names inspired by film and TV in the UK – in fact, some of the most recent rising names include Elsa (used 168 times last year) and Hermione (up 123% since 2015). So, we wanted to look at recent film and show releases to see whether they’d had a similar impact on expectant mothers, and identify which names have had a hard time in recent years.

The study found that the effects of Netflix smash series Bridgerton are already clear, with Daphne – the name held by the leading lady in Season 1 – jumping up in popularity by 23% since the season’s release, while hit series Euphoria has already had some impact. Jules – the name of Rue’s love interest – has risen by 300% in popularity since the show debuted in 2019, while other main character names (Cassie, Rue and Lexi) have also increased in use.

TV is also a clear influence on our favourite names, as Mollie Mae – winner of Love Island and now a leading influencer – has risen in popularity by a massive 48% since she hit our screens. However, the findings also show that it’s not just recent releases that are shaping the next generation. Cult classic Twilight’s controversially-named Renesmee is seeing a resurgence, with 50% more people given the name in the last five years.

Finally, the study also looked back on the influence of films that made a massive impact at the time of release – with 2022 marking the ten-year anniversary of Marvel’s The Avengers (2012). And as well as kickstarting the best decade in cinema for comic book fans, the film also made quite the impression on new mothers, with the name Loki increasing in popularity by 70% since its release.

Top Bridgerton-Inspired Names by Recent Popularity

RankNameAnnual Increase (2019 to 2020)Babies Named: 2020Babies Named: 2019

Pop Culture Influence

Social media is one of the biggest sources of information for the majority of us, so it makes that some names have seen substantial shifts, depending on the drama surrounding celebs that carry the moniker. And although we know that one bad story doesn’t define a person, we do know that people are less likely to use names if they associate them with bad behaviour or a generally negative public perception.

This is clear with the name Karen, which has dropped by 24% over the last five years after becoming synonymous with entitled women who insist on speaking to the manager. Another potential fatality is Ellen, with the talk show host’s slow fall from fame due to uncomfortable interviews and cruel pranks resulting in a 39% drop in use over the last five years.

And who could forget the mystery surrounding Kylie Jenner’s latest arrival, with her little boy seeing his name switched out after birth from Wolf to an as-yet-undisclosed alternative. It wouldn’t be surprising to see her son’s name soar in popularity once it’s announced, as her firstborn Stormi inspired a 167% increase in the name’s use over the last three years.

National Day Names

Although we’re sure there are people out there who’ve been named to honour holidays or annual celebrations (perhaps those who were conceived on Valentine’s Day), the study instead looked at names that fit well with the theme of upcoming national days. This includes those which are scheduled to take place in May – May Day (May 2nd), Star Wars Day (May 4th) and National Gardening Day (May 14th).

It’s not good news for the month on the whole, with the data showing that the name ‘May’ is at risk of extinction, having dropped by a massive 43% over the last decade. The name – associated with Roman earth goddess Maia – saw a brief resurgence in 2016, but is now becoming less commonplace year on year.

Interestingly, the study also found that the Dark Side is proving more popular for name inspo than the good guys in Star Wars, with Anakin – aka Darth Vader and the original trilogy’s primary nemesis – up by 60% in use this year, while Luke [Skywalker] has dropped by 14%. But it’s a different story for girl’s names which continue to fight the good fight, with Leia having risen in popularity by 40% over the last decade.

And it wouldn’t be spring without looking at popular botanical names in celebration of National Gardening Day, which encourages homeowners to get out there and use their green thumb. It’s Lily that came out on top as the most popular girls name associated with the great outdoors, followed by Poppy and Daisy. For boys, the most popular monikers were Rowan, – named after a type of small tree – Ash and Forest.

Top Star Wars Baby Names by Recent Popularity

RankNameAnnual Increase (2019 to 2020)Babies Named: 2020Babies Named: 2019

Alternate Aliases

When it comes to name inspo, some parents have to make more decisions if they’re opting for a moniker that can be spelt numerous different ways. The study sought to end the debate over the correct way to spell common names – including John, Sean and Steven – by seeing which variant is the most popular, and when they became the preferred pick.

The closest margin between alternate spellings were Lily and Lilly – while Lily was far preferred, Lilly was also a fairly common choice a decade ago, before dropping by a substantial 70% in use to date. Lewis and Louis were also fairly close, although the former came out as the winner – despite the Royal Family opting for the latter for the new prince.

Those named Jon have to bow down to Johns, who have the correct spelling, while Sean was the preferred format over Shaun, proving a massive 139% more popular. Stephen came out victorious over Steven, while Stuart obliterated Stewart in the ranking. Rachel was far more common than Rachael, Mark should definitely have a k at the end rather than a c, and Hayley absolutely thrashed Hailey and Haley for the win.

Most Popular Way to Spell Common Names

RankAlternate SpellingBabies Named: 2020RankAlternate SpellingBabies Named: 2020


It’ll be interesting which weird and wonderful names become new favourites over the next five years – especially given that there are many memes circulating about potential covid-inspired picks. Could we see another name condemned to the depths of society like Karen, or will Kylie Jenner’s influence see Wolf jump up in use substantially? We’ll see!