Olivia has overtaken Isla to become Scotland’s most popular name for baby girls for the second time, according to figures on baby names registered in 2021 published today by National Records of Scotland.  Jack is the most popular name for baby boys for the 14th year in succession, followed by Noah and Leo.

Lyla shot up 56 places in the top 100 girls’ names to 74th overall, while Blake rose 46 places and Rowan 41.

Carson has seen the largest increase in the top 100 boys’ names in 2021, rising 42 places to 83rd, while Struan has jumped 37 places and Myles is up by 35.

Director of Statistical Services, Pete Whitehouse said:

“Beneath the headline figures the long term trend is for more names to be used each year, including some names only given to one baby in 2021.

“Almost 12% of baby girls were given a name that no other girl was registered with in 2021. Almost 9% of boys had unique names for births last year. Together with the growing range of names being used this means it’s far less common for children to share their name with their classmates than it was for their parents or grandparents.”

With NRS running this year’s census Pete Whitehouse took the opportunity to appeal to parents to take part:

“I know the parents of young children, particularly those with babies, have busy lives but I ask them to make time to fill in the census form and record their growing families in the census.

“Like registering a birth, filling in the census form is a legal responsibility for every household and provides the Scottish Government, councils, the NHS and many others with data they need to provide services for the whole country from the very youngest to the oldest.”

You can explore the popularity of first names in Scotland over the years with NRS’s interactive app here.

Table of Contents

 Most Common Surnames

Today, NRS also published a list of the most common surnames in the Birth, Marriage and Death registers for 2021.  Smith, Brown, and Wilson have been the three most popular surnames since the first list, which is for 1975, and remained the top three in 2021.

Babies’ First Names, 2021 and the Most Common Surnames in Birth, Marriage and Death registers are available on the NRS website.

A summary table shows the ‘Top Twenty’ surnames, and the number of times that
they occurred, in every fifth year from 1975 to 2015. In each of those years, the top
three remained the exact same:

  • SMITH (2,719 occurrences in 2020)
  • BROWN (1,970 occurrences in 2020)
  • WILSON (1,886 occurrences in 2020)

Many names appeared on all lists, including:

  • ROBERTSON, 4th in 2020 with 1,796 occurrences.
  • CAMPBELL, 5th in 2020 with 1,749 occurrences.
  • STEWART, 6th in 2020 with 1,675 occurrences.
  • THOMSON, 7th in 2020 with 1,658 occurrences.
  • ANDERSON, 8th in 2020 with 1,511 occurrences.
  • SCOTT, 9th in 2020 with 1,194 occurrences.
  • MACDONALD, 10th in 2020 with 1,146 occurrences.
  • REID, 11th in 2020 with 1,115 occurrences.
  • MURRAY, 12th in 2020 with 1,114 occurrences.
  • CLARK, 13th in 2020 with 1,042 occurrences.
  • TAYLOR, 14th in 2020 with 1,016 occurrences.
  • ROSS, 15th in 2020 with 946 occurrences.
  • YOUNG, 16th in 2020 with 904 occurrences.

The names which have risen most since 1975 and 2000 reflect Scotland’s growing diversity.

ALI was the fastest rising name from 1975-2020 and from 2000-2020, going from 39 occurrences in 1975 to 95 in 2000 to 145 in 2020. ALI was the joint 128th most common name in birth, marriage and death registers in 2020, rising from joint 900th in 1975.

Other names that rose by fifty or more occurrences between 1975 and 2020 were AHMED, KHAN, HUSSAIN and SINGH.

See also: Jack and Grace Most Popular Baby Names in Northern Ireland

Source: National Records of Scotland