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.
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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.
“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.
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