Olivia and Oliver top NSW baby names in 2016

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty 

Naming your baby is one of the biggest decisions to make - after all, they'll be wearing it their entire lives, and a name, whether common or unusual, has the potential to shape a life.

The NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages top baby name lists are out, and while there are very few surprises in the top 10, we have a new queen for 2016: Oliver reigns supreme for the third year running, and Olivia crept up from number two in 2015 to claim the top spot.

We have Shakespeare to thank for NSW's top girl name, as Olivia first appeared in Twelfth Night and is thought to be based on Oliver. They are quite literally the masculine and feminine versions of the same moniker.

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 Photo: Essential Baby

2016 NSW top 20 girls names

Olivia enjoyed top position for the first time in 2014 but was jostled out the following year. She has come back full force in 2016, headlining the top names for girls. It's a wonder Olive doesn't appear anywhere near Olivia in the lists, but a preference for longer, more ornate names for girls might be the clincher.

Isla makes her top 10 debut having climbed slowly but consistently into the ranks since 2008.

Ruby has reclaimed a spot in the top 10 since dipping out in 2015, and Zoe has fallen to number 12 from number 8 the year before.

The real climber is Harper, who comes in at number 19. Harper first appeared in the top 100 in 2011 when she stormed in from nowhere at number 57.

Harper has celebrity and literary star power behind her, via To Kill a Mockingbird's author Harper Lee and a slew of stars who have given daughters the name, including the Beckhams, who used it for their only daughter in 2011, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader, Jenna Fisher and more.

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1. Olivia

2. Charlotte

3. Amelia

4. Ava

5. Mia

6. Chloe

7. Emily

8. Grace

9. Isla

10. Ruby

11. Isabella

12. Zoe

13. Sophia

14. Evie

15. Sophie

16. Ivy

17. Ella

18. Evelyn

19. Harper

20. Sienna

2016 NSW top 20 boys names

Over to the boys now... we have a newcomer to the boy's top 10, with Leo cracking the big time in tenth position. He climbed 14 places from the year before.

When one rises another must fall, and the sacrificial name was Isaac - who, like Zoe, was placed for the first time at number 8 in 2015 but now sits outside the top 10. All other names on the top 10 list featured in those for previous years, give or take a few places.

While the classics are still king, parents are increasingly choosing 'nickname names' to go on birth certificates. Speaking to ABC News, NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages assistant registrar Ben Finn explained, "Sonny and Archie are names that were never names themselves, always nicknames, and now they've become names in their own right," adding, "Harry is 27th, and Charlie is also quite popular at 23rd."

Surnames as given names for boys are also increasingly popular, with monikers such as Harrison, Hunter, Mason, Cooper, Hudson, Riley, Jackson, Archer and Logan prominent in the top 50.

Also very much on the rise is the name Muhammed, which came in at 58 for 2016. It only entered the top 100 in 2012 so looks to be set for a meteoric rise.

1. Oliver

2. William

3. Jack

4. Noah

5. Lucas

6. James

7. Ethan

8. Thomas

9. Alexander

10. Leo

11. Lachlan

12. Liam

13. Jacob

14. Isaac

15. Samuel

16. Harrison

17. Benjamin

18. Henry

19. Joshua

20. Max

See the full NSW top 100 baby names for both boys and girls here. You can also find the top names from Queensland, WA and Victoria.