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James and Grace the most popular NI baby names for births registered in 2020

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selective focus photography of sleeping baby

James and Grace were the most popular first names given to babies in Northern Ireland, for births registered in 2020.

This is one of the findings of the Baby Names 2020 statistics published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. The Agency will also launch a new interactive baby names search tool later today which can be used to find out more information about the names registered.

The statistics show Grace has held the top spot as the most popular girls’ name since 2018, and has appeared in the top three most popular names for 15 consecutive years. James has been the most popular boys’ name for the past six years, and has ranked in the top five each year since reporting of baby names began in 1997.

In terms of boys’ names, Jack (which held the top spot for 12 consecutive years between 2003 and 2014) comes second to James’ popularity, closely followed by Noah, which actually shared the top spot with James in 2018 before falling to 3rd place in 2019.

Cillian and Finn joined the boys’ top 10 for the first time in 2020.  Within the boys’ top 100, the highest climbers in popularity between 2019 and 2020 were Senan, Kai and Brody. Some of the less common names given to baby boys in 2020 were Bono, Bowie, Denzel, Jagger, Maverick, River, Rocky, Triumph and Wolfe.

For baby girls, Grace has taken the top spot for the third year running, and this is the 15th consecutive year it has appeared in the top three. Emily remained the second most popular girls’ name in 2020, holding this spot for the last three consecutive years, and Isla was in 3rd place.

In 2020, Fiadh entered the top 10 for the first time since the reporting of baby names began in 1997. Within the girls’ top 100, the highest climbers in popularity between 2019 and 2020 were Arabella, Aoibheann, and Matilda.

Compared with boys, a greater number of girls’ names have held the top spot since the reporting of first names began in 1997.  Some of the less common names given to baby girls in 2020 were Dior, Divine, Ever, Harley-Quinn, Honor, Liberty, Nirvana, Porsche and Vogue.

Birth registrations in 2020 included 866 baby names that had not been used before. Blockbuster movies, popular television series, current celebrities and memorable places continue to appear to be influencing factors for some parents.

Top 10 baby names in Northern Ireland, 2020


  1. James  – 190 Babies
  2. Jack – 175 Babies
  3. Noah  – 174 Babies
  4. Charlie  – 169 Babies
  5. Oliver  – 134Babies
  6. Thomas  – 119 Babies
  7. Finn  – 112 Babies
  8. Theo  – 112 Babies
  9. Cillian  – 111 Babies
  10. Harry  – 111 Babies


  1. Grace  – 176 Babies
  2. Emily  – 146 Babies
  3. Isla  – 144 Babies
  4. Fiadh  – 138 Babies
  5. Olivia  – 133 Babies
  6. Sophia  – 125 Babies
  7. Sophie  – 123 Babies
  8. Amelia  – 115 Babies
  9. Lucy  – 112 Babies
  10. Ella  – 101 Babies and Freya  – 101 Babies

You can find out more about these names and others on NISRA’s new interactive dashboard which facilitates name searches by rank, number of babies registered with that name, meaning and origin. The dashboard will be available via a link on the main baby names web page.

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