The top of the new English baby name charts has a traditional look. It’s stocked with regal classics like royal kids George and Charlotte, plus cuddly English favorites like Poppy and Archie.
If you want to see where name trends are headed, though, you have to look past the top-10 list. The fastest-rising names of the year in England and Wales point in directions both old and new. Check out the top risers and top new debuts of the year:
ENGLAND’S HOTTEST RISING NAMES OF 2016
Together, these name show off a combination of global and local style. Kylo, for instance, was also the fastest-rising boy’s name in the United States courtesy of a Star Wars film. (It’s also a great illustration of how modern celebrity names are about style, NOT homages. Read more about the Kylo phenomenon.) Adaline, similarly, was America’s movie-inspired top riser of 2015.
But Jorgie? Reggie? Louie? Those nicknames are pure Brit-cute style. Even the girls’ name Paisley, which was already a Western-styled U.S. hit (a la country singer Brad Paisley) follows the Poppy-like cute model. Other names that appeal to the same American parents as Paisley but lack that sweet style, like Raelynn and Hadley, remain unknown in England.
One more trend to watch is the rise of “high Scrabble value” letters in names like Ezra and Jaxon. Additional hot X & Z names include the word names Zion and Fox and the more traditional names Beatrix and Rex.
Looking at new names that didn’t appear at all in last year’s stats, the hottest are inspired by different corners of popular culture.
#1 Boys’ Debut: Kion, the royal lion son in the Disney animated series The Lion Guard
#2 Boys’ Debut: Jolan, a one-named singer who appeared on the singing competition The Voice UK
#1 Girls’ Debut: Rey, the heroine of the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens
#2 Girls’ Debut: Hollie-May, popular English model Hollie-May Saker
Once again, some of the names and cultural references will be familiar to audiences around the world, while some are uniquely home-grown. Hollie-May in particular is as English a name as you’ll find today. The hyphenated style is much more popular there than in the rest of the English-speaking world, and NO name ending in May is hot in the United States.