It's official: these are Australia's top baby names for 2018

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

Drum roll, please!

The latest results are in for Australia's most popular baby names. Each year, the numbers are crunched and a report is put together by social researchers at McCrindle to identify the top baby names and trends across all our states and territories. 

And for 2018, if you only looked at the top 10 baby names for boys and girls, it would be easy to think that there haven't been that many changes in baby naming practices from past eras.

Ten per cent of the 300,000 babies born in the past year were given a top 10 name, but this is a sharp decrease historically, in the use of the most popular names.

It seems there has been some some significant shifts in the way Australians are naming their babies.

There's a big push towards more unique and varied names from increasingly different origins. Also imminent, is the arrival of Harry and Meghan's royal baby, who will be welcomed amid a shroud of secrecy unfamiliar to fans of the current crop of royals.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not shared any of the details of the birth location, nor is there any indication when the public will get its first glimpse of the baby, who will be seventh in line to the British throne, and will no doubt influence next year's top baby names list.

So down to the nitty gritty. Here are the results!

Charlotte and Oliver maintain their lead

Charlotte has been the number one choice for girls since it pipped Olivia to the post in 2015.

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Oliver now enjoys a six year dominance as the top boys name in Australia.

Here's how the rest of the top ten rounds out:

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The immediate standout is Willow, leaping ten places from last year to edge into tenth place.

Leo too is a newcomer to the top ten this year - and in fact for the first time in 'the modern era' notes McCrindle - placing 12th last year and now coming in at number 7. This short and powerful name has rocketed 84 places since 2010, making it one of the hottest names of the decade.

Notably, Henry has now graduated to a top 5 position, up three places from last year, and Harper is edging ever closer, up two spots to eighth position.

How Australia compares with other nations

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Our top five names for each sex are most closely aligned with those of New Zealand and the UK, with Canada and the USA more closely mirroring each other. This is not surprising considering the cultural and geographical proximity of these nations.

Noah is the only name to appear on all countries' top five lists, though there are many other crossovers.

The push for unique names

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Photo: Shutterstock

No longer are people content for their child to be one of five Sarahs or Matthews in their class. McCrindle notes that in 1987, 22 per cent of babies were given a top 10 name.

Now, just 10 per cent of babies are given a top 10 moniker, and it's a bigger shift than it initially seems, thanks to the fact that 5,000 more babies were born in the past year, compared to 1987.

It seems we're thinking more globally and are much more name savvy than our forebears, who relied more heavily on religion and the family tree than popular culture when naming their babies.

And although we aren't all looking to Tinseltown for our inspiration, it's social media that has most significantly shifted our baby naming practices. Great swathes of information via blogs, apps and websites and niche media channels have given us a much broader perspective on what makes a great name.

Kimberley Linco of McCrindle agrees that celebrities have "opened the flood gates" for people to use more unusual names, as well as our greater connectivity to the world.

"...beyond celebrities and influencers, social media is becoming a hub of creativity and self-expression. We can indulge in other people's home decorating, fashion choices, parenting styles and of course, baby name choices. Through social media, we are exposed to an incredible amount of content every day, which is making our baby name options almost endless."

"So yes, we are seeing more creativity in naming both changing names such as the spelling (e.g. Jackson/Jaxon, Sofia/Sophia), combining names (Isabelle/Isabella, Maddison/Addison, Jack/Jackson, Jayden/Aiden) as well as the newly-created names that might not be in the top 100 (e.g. Arlo, Jett, Kai, Harlow and Ayla)."

Themes

We're seeing a continuing of baby names themes that have been emerging for the past few years, including royal names, botanical names for girls and names that have crossed the gender boundary into unisex territory.

Royals

This photo released by Kensington Palace on Friday Dec. 14, 2018, shows the photo taken by Matt Porteous of Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge with their children Prince George, right, Princess Charlotte, center, and Prince Louis at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, east England, which is to be used as their 2018 Christmas card. (Matt Porteous/Kensington Palace via AP)  Photo: Matt Porteous / AP

- George has climbed 37 places since the prince's birth five years ago, and now sits at 34.

- Princess Charlotte was born in 2015 and has remained the number one name for girls ever since.

- Louis now places 59th, a jump of 14 places since 2017 (the year before the prince was born).

Having seen the 'Kate effect' in action with baby names over the past nearly six years, will we now see the same thing with Meghan? Linco thinks it's a given.

"Meghan is already such a strong influence in pop culture, not only because of her prominence in the royal family, but because she is American," she observes.

She adds, "We have already seen the 'Meghan effect' take over, with the items of clothing she wears in public can double the clothing brand's revenue. So, it will be no surprise if Meghan and Harry's baby name will have the same 'Markle Sparkle' as her choice of clothing and fashion."

Linco also gave us her hot tips for potential royal baby names.

"As Meghan and Harry are not in the direct line to the throne, we have seen they have been slightly less traditional with royal protocols than their in-laws. Meghan might want to give a nod to her own American and cultural heritage, therefore drawing a name outside of the traditional royal repertoire. We know Meghan is a strong feminist and empowers women in her own right, so she may draw on some of the pioneering women in American history, such as Eleanor (Roosevelt) or Rosa (Parkes)."

Boy names used increasingly for girls

- Riley, Dylan, Jordan, Luca, Ashton, Kai, Bailey and Jesse all featured on the girls list as did harper, Frankie, Billie and Mackenzie.

Names from the natural world...for girls only

- McCrindle reports that, "Of the top five girls' names that most significantly increased in popularity in the 2010s, three had a botanical theme." These were Willow (up 64 spots from 2010), Violet (up 53 places), and Ivy (increased 43 places).

Biblical and one-syllable names favoured for boys

- 14 of the boys top 50 were biblical names, compared to just two for the girls.

- Similarly, 14 of the top 50 names for boys were one-syllable names, and for girls only four.

Lastly, any unexpected surprises?

We took the opportunity to ask Kimberley if there were any particular revelations from this year's report. She remarked that although she was expecting it, she was delighted to see Louis rise through the ranks after the birth of the prince.. 

She says, "This really confirmed how much influence the royal family have over our baby name choices in Australia. This also made me more excited to see what Meghan and Harry will call their child, because it will almost definitely influence next year's results."

The biggest surprise however, was the fall of Jessica.

Kimberley says, "The most surprising/exciting revelation was that Jessica is now out of the top 100. Rarely in the modern era, a name so dominant in the 1990s and early 2000s, and yet in just a decade from it's peak, it has dropped out of the top 100. It is such a lovely name but shows how in this era, parents are looking for uniqueness. Such strong popularity can actually  be the source of its own demise."

Australia's top 50 baby names

baby names