Ben and Emma Germany's most popular names in 2018

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Ben and Emma Germany's most popular names in 2018
Photo: DPA

Emma and Ben topped the most popular names charts again in 2018. At the other end of the spectrum, Tulip, Bellatrix and Donaldo were some of the most unusual to feature.


Every year, Knud Bielefeld looks through more than 200,000 birth reports across the country to compile the list of Germany’s most popular names.

In 2018, parents again opted for Ben and Emma - while a few unusual names have also gained popularity. 

2018 is the eighth year in a row where Ben has topped the charts for boys names. The rest of the top ten includes Paul, Leon, Finn/Fynn, Elijah, Jonas, Luis/Louis, Noah, Felix and Lucas. 

Emma has also been popular recently, topping the list in 2014 and 2017. Rounding out the top ten for female names are Hanna / Hannah, Emilia, Sophia / Sofia, Lina, Anna, Mila, Lea and Ella. 

While Ben and Emma were the most popular first name choices, parents decided to opt for different middle names in 2018. The most popular middle name for boys was Alexander, with Sophie the most common for girls. 

Cristiano Donaldo? Donaldo Trump? The most unusual names in 2018

At the other end of the spectrum it gets a little more interesting. Some of the most unusual names Bielefeld came across in 2018 included Bellatrix, Smaranda and Fiorela for girls, and Bryson, Donaldo and Bobi for boys. 

With names going in and out of fashion, Bielefeld says that it takes a few intrepid parents to bring a name into vogue - or back into fashion, when it might have fallen out of favour. While it might take a while to see if Donaldo catches on, it hasn’t been a good year for Kevins. 

Previously among the most popular, Kevin’s status in Germany has taken a tumble. The name now sits at 294th on the list, with Bielefeld saying it will take something special to revive it. Citing SPD politician Kevin Kühnert as an example, Bielefeld said holders of less popular names usually need to do something special to bring it back into the spotlight. 

“It’s a huge job (to make a name popular again). It would take a successful Kevin, a Kevin who has started to make a name for himself," Bielefeld said. 

Geographical influence

Fashion isn’t the only indicator, however. Mohammed/Muhammed has also risen up the charts in recent years, which is largely due to migrants arriving from Syria and the Arab world.

While Germany has had a sizeable Turkish population for decades, the name of the prophet has previously been less popular. 

The research also revealed another common trend - the southern migration of names popular in northern Germany. Bielefeld cites Fiete as an example of a name which was originally popular only in the north but has now reached ‘mainstream’ success. 

“Fiete has climbed extremely high in northern Germany, and now he’s spreading his word through Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Lower Saxony,” Bielefeld said. 

“I guess he’ll be in the first name hit parade in Bavaria in around ten years time.”

While the southern migration of names might be popular, southern names do not seem to have the same effect. 

“It’s typical that names spread from northern to southern Germany, but less frequent vice versa,” Bielefeld said. 

“Finn, which is now omnipresent across the entire country, started in the 80s in Schleswig-Holstein.”

What is the most common indicator that a name might be next year's must have fashion accessory? Bielefeld said it was hard to say with any certainty. 

"Quite often people will just hear a name they like," Bielefeld said. 

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