Most popular forenames and most common surnames registered in Scotland in 2018 - new figures published


19 March 2019
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600-11552.jpg Most popular baby names of 2018
The most popular forenames and most common surnames registered in Scotland during 2018 have been revealed, in new research published by National Records of Scotland, which also explores the popularity of names from 1975 onwards.

The most popular forenames and most common surnames registered in Scotland last year have been revealed, in new research published by National Records of Scotland, which also explores the popularity of names from 1975 onwards.

The full lists of first forenames given to babies whose births were registered in 2018 replace the top 100 lists published in December, and include the first forename of every baby, including those whose births were registered in December.

The three top surnames in the Birth, Marriage and Death registers for 2018 have been the most common surnames recorded in the registers for over 40 years, based on five-yearly analysis going back to 1975. They are:

  • Smith
  • Brown
  • Wilson

The National Records of Scotland website includes annual lists of babies’ first forenames back to 1974. Jack has been the top boys’ name for 11 years running and three boys’ names have been top in at least five of the years from 1974 to 2018:

  • David (19 years: 1974 to 1992)
  • Ryan (five years: 1994 to 1998)
  • Jack (16 years: 1999 to 2002, 2006 and 2008 onwards)

Olivia has been the most popular girls’ name for three years running. Four girls’ names have been top in at least five of the years from 1974 to 2018:

  • Laura (11 years: 1979 to 1989)
  • Emma (eight years: 1990 to 1993, 1996, 1997, 2003 and 2004)
  • Chloe (five years: 1998 to 2002)
  • Sophie (nine years: 2005 to 2013).  

Changing fashions

Many once popular names have gone out of fashion. A table of the top ten names for each sex for 1975 and for every fifth year thereafter, shows that no girls’ names that were in the top ten in 1975 appeared in the top ten in 2000 or 2015, and none of the Top 10 in 2000 survived into the Top 10 in 2015.

Nicola, which was the top name in 1975, had dropped out of the top ten by 1995 (when Nicole was in the top ten). Karen, second in 1975, had gone from the top ten by 1985, whilst Susan, third in 1975, had gone by 1980.

David, John and Paul, which were the top three boys’ names in 1975, did not rank in the top ten in 2000 or 2015. Paul had dropped out by 1990, John by 1995 and David by 2000. James, fourth in 1975, is the only name which has been in the Top 10 in every one of the selected years.

Explore the baby name trends infographic here. See the full babies first names 2018 list here and most common surnames here.

QUICK LINK: Most popular baby names in Scotland - 1900 and 1950

Further reading

Gaelic Baby Names for Girls and Boys by Jeffrey Fisher

Scottish Baby Names: Names from Scotland for Girls and Boys by Jeffrey Fisher