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BIRTH

These are Germany’s most popular baby names for 2020

New research revealed on Wednesday what the top names for both boys and girls in Germany are - and which names are growing (or falling) in popularity.

These are Germany's most popular baby names for 2020
Photo: DPA

Ben is no longer the most popular first name among newborn boys in Germany.

Noah has overtaken the top spot for the first time in nine years  – but just barely, according to new statistics from name researcher Knud Bielefeld published on Wednesday in Ahrensburg, Schleswig-Holstein.

Trailing only closely behind Noah and Ben, the second place name, is Matteo.

It was a similarly close race with girls' names, Bielefeld told DPA. There, Mia, Emilia and Hannah ranked in first through third place, overtaking Emma – long the favourite girl's name in Germany.

“For me, it was extremely exciting. That was a head-on-head race until the last second,” said Bielefeld.

Bielefeld evaluated the names of about 23 percent of all children born in Germany in 2020.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: German birth rate falls as more women have children later

“If my sample had looked a little different, the name that is now maybe in second or third place would now be in first place,” he said. “There are only minimal differences between them.”

Bielefeld said that several of the top names, such as Emilia and Matteo, had climbed steadily higher in the list of most popular first names in recent years.

“If you want me to predict: I expect Matteo and Emilia to be at number one next year if the upward trend continues like this,” he said.

Emma, Sophia, Lina, Ella, Mila, Clara and Lea landed among the top ten names for girls. Among the boys, Finn, Leon, Elias, Paul, Henry, Luis and Felix made it onto the list.

The most popular middle names in 2020 were Sophia, Marie and Maria, as well as Alexander, Elias and Maximilian.

There were several regional differences in top baby names, though, depicted state by state in the map below using a sample size of 23 percent of all children born in 2020. (Credit: DPA)

International names – above all those from the English-speaking world and Scandinavia – as well as older German names, also ranked highly.

“Emil, Anton, Paul, Emma and Anna – these are older names that we’ve known for a long time,” said Bielefeld.

Gerda has climbed higher every year, and in Saxony in particular, the name Kurt has now also become more and more popular.” 

There was also a large decline in the popularity of the first name Greta. The name, also borne by the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, fell from 30th to 130th place between 2019 and 2020.

“That's really the most remarkable observation I've ever made since these statistics. Such a steep drop,” said Bielefeld.

Of course, parents again gave their children unusual names in 2020. For example, girls were graced with names such as Amore, Divora and Marvelous, while boys were handed over creative choices such as Archibald, Hotte, Rhett and Denver.

According to Bielefeld, these names were all given at least twice in Germany. 

One name, however, did not appear at all: Corona.

Bielefeld and his assistants usually evaluate both the official reports of a city, as well as the photo galleries of birth clinics. Due to the pandemic, however, photographers were less frequent there in 2020.

Instead, significantly more registry offices gave him data related to first names this year, said the expert.

For the statistics, Bielefeld evaluated data from 465 locations, corresponding to about 23 percent of all children born in 2020.

A similar statistic is released each year from the Society for the German Language, which says it uses 90 percent of all data from the registry offices.

In a forecast in mid-December, it had seen Emil and Lena as having the best chances of coming out on top nationwide.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: Germany's most popular baby names

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EDUCATION

Schools around Germany reopen as Covid numbers sink

As coronavirus figures continue to fall around Germany, several states are again opening schools in full force. Here’s where - and when - in-person classes are resuming again.

Schools around Germany reopen as Covid numbers sink
Elementary shcool pupils in Hanover returned to the classroom on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte

On Monday, the countrywide 7-day incidence dropped to 35.1 per 100,000 residents, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The RKI reported 1,978 new cases in the last 24 hours, down from 2,682 a week before. 

In light of the lower numbers, many states have decided to end distance learning and alternating classes, and to return to regular classroom operations.

This marks the first time in several months – in some cases since November – that primary and secondary pupils have been able to return to full instruction.

However, mandatory face masks and coronavirus tests at least twice a week still apply to all pupils.

Where and when are schools reopening?

Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia is reopening schools with face-to-face instruction across the board on Monday.

Lower Saxony, Saarland and Hamburg are also returning to normal operation across class levels in most state regions. 

In Brandenburg, this initially applies only to elementary schools. The only exception is the city of Brandenburg/Havel, where the numbers are still considered to be too high. In a week’s time, the secondary schools are to follow suit. 

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the state with the lowest 7-day incidence nationwide (14.9 as of Monday), students began returning to classes on Thursday. 

Berlin, on the other hand, plans to stick with the alternating classes – where different groups of students attend on different days – until the summer vacations, which begin June 24th.

The capital’s mayor Michael Müller (SPD) recently pointed out that the incidence among students in the capital was higher than the average. 

Rhineland-Palatinate is also taking a cautious approach. Following the end of school holidays in a week, pupils will have two more weeks of rotating classes before everyone returns for face-to-face instruction.

From June 7th in Bavaria, if the 7-day incidence remains stable below 50, face-to-face teaching is planned everywhere. Previously this was only the case at elementary schools and some special schools. 

In Baden-Württemberg, elementary schools are to return to face-to-face instruction if the 7-day incidences remain stable between 50 and 100. 

From June 11th, this is also to apply to all students in grade five and above who are currently still in alternating instruction.

What’s the reaction?

Not everyone is happy with the way schools are reopening. On Monday the Federal Parents’ Council criticised the different approaches taken by the states. 

“It’s like it has been since the outbreak of the pandemic: each state does what it wants,” complained chairwoman Sabrina Wetzel in a statement. “We demand a uniform line on openings as well.”

For parents, the different regulations from state to state are difficult to understand, she said, adding that “it’s also unfair to the children”.

READ ALSO: German teachers call for uniform Covid rules in schools nationwide

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