When it comes to baby names, mum's age does matter

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

In what has been hailed as a world first, the UK's Office for National Statistics has released data on baby names according to the age of the mother - revealing a stark difference in baby naming style between older mothers and young ones.

The dataset shows that as maternal age increases so does the preference for traditional baby names. The younger the mother the "...more likely to choose more non-traditional, shortened or hyphenated names".

In an analysis of the findings, baby names expert Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names cited examples of the names older and younger mothers preferred.

"Alexander, Joshua, William, Thomas, Charlotte, Jessica and Sophie tend to be more popular among older mothers, especially those aged over 35 years. Whereas some of the more popular names chosen by mothers aged under 25 years are non-traditional names such as Hunter, Logan, Harper and Nevaeh."

The interactives below show the traditional leanings of older mums, compared with the shorter, nickname style favoured by younger mums.

Older mums top 10

Young mums top 10

The ONS reflected on the results noting, "Shortened names for boys such as Archie, Alfie and Freddie were all in the top 10 for mothers aged under 25 years but were less popular among mothers aged over 35 years. Whereas the full spellings, such as Alfred and Frederick were more popular with older mothers."

Younger mums also loved hyphenated christian names, with the ONS revealing, "Mothers aged under 25 years were the only age group where hyphenated names for girls featured in the top 100."


Nickerson noted, "Nevaeh ranked at #102 overall in England and Wales in 2018. But, for mothers under 25 it ranked #38 while for mother aged 35 and over it was only #183."

It's certainly a fascinating snapshot into how different developmental phases of life affect decision-making.