The Pond Effect: ‘Amelia’ Is Britain’s Top Baby Name (For Girls)

Karen Gillan as Amy Pond

Karen Gillan as Amy Pond

The temptation to present the following information as a chart rundown is almost overwhelming. However, calmer heads must prevail, especially as my references are all Alan “Fluff” Freeman and yours are more Casey Casem.

So, here’s the thing. British and American families have broadly similar tastes when it comes to naming their children, with a few exceptions. You don’t tend to get as many British kids called Mason or Harper, and there probably aren’t as many American kids answering to Alfie or Jessica.

Looking over the popularity charts for baby names in 2012 (I was bored, OK?), one change jumped out above all others. In 2011, Amelia was the 11th most popular name for girls, occupying broadly the same position it does in the US rankings.

In 2012, the same year Amy Pond left the Doctor to be with Rory in the past (and Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill left Doctor Who), it jumped to the No.1 position. Coincidence? No of course not.*

Look, here’s the Top 20, courtesy of BabyCentre:

1. Amelia
2. Lily
3. Emily
4. Sophia
5. Isabelle
6. Sophie
7. Olivia
8. Jessica
9. Chloe
10. Mia
11. Isla
12. Isabella
13. Ava
14. Charlotte
15. Grace
16. Evie
17. Poppy
18. Lucy
19. Ella
20. Holly

The US equivalent, possibly still a little hung up on Harry Potter (or, to be fair, Young Victoria, or even Men In Black 3), looks like this:

1. Emma
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Isabella
5. Ava
6. Mia
7. Emily
8. Charlotte
9. Ella
10. Lily
11. Madison
12. Amelia
13. Chloe
14. Avery
15. Abigail
16. Hannah
17. Addison
18. Harper
19 . Sofia
20. Sophie

And that No.12 position for Amelia represents a jump of 18 places from 2011’s No.30. Doctor Who, I blame you.

Needless to say, the boy charts are nowhere near as interesting. The UK No.1 is Harry, the US No.1 is Liam. I could make a One Direction vs Oasis thing out of it, but even I’m not THAT bored…

* Although, at the same time, possibly.

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2. He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage. Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
View all posts by Fraser McAlpine.