The 2012 Most Popular Baby Names

This baby says it all … even though she can’t speak yet. (Photo via

It’s that time of year again – the Most Popular Baby Names of 2012 are revealed. I always like to compare British and American favorites. Let’s see.

All a bit boring really, in that there are no unbelievable howlers. What surprises me this year is how many similarities there are on the girls’ lists.  It’ll be interesting to see if Madison, Aubrey, Addision and Avery make it over to the UK, as I for one, always thought they were boys’ names.  I mean don’t they have an undeniable masculinity about them, or is it just me?

The British trend for choosing grandfather-type names such as Archie, Alfie and Wifie didn’t cross the Pond.  (Surely it can only be a matter of time before my grandfather’s name, Cuthbert, makes it onto the list.) Nor did the ubiquitous Freya and Poppy, although Mia made an appearance this year on the American list and disappeared off the British top 20. Hailey, the U.S.’s number 19 seems a little too 1960’s for Britain I suspect, and it’s certainly not in the top 100 yet. Having said that, a very popular little girls’ name in my neck of the Midwest is Audrey, and Brian is a fairly common name for little boys. I don’t think there are many Brits with either name who are under 60 and 40-years-old respectively.

Another list in the US is of the more, errr, unusual names registered in 2012. Some poor boys were named Aero, Casanova, Exodus, Mowgli and Turbo. I’m picturing the scene at the local park where a parent is trying to round the kids up to go home. “Come on Casanova, it’s time to go home,“ as said child buries his head in the sandpit. Oh the shame. It’s one thing being called Romeo when you’re a Beckham and everyone thinks your dad’s a god among men, but quite another when you’re little Casanova in 3rd grade, getting your head shoved down the toilet on a daily basis.

The girls didn’t fare much better with Ace, Excel, Juju, McLean and Rogue. Do you think these people just see the name written on a shelf or on the side of a truck and say “Oh, that’s a good name?” And calling your child Rogue, no matter how rock and roll it may seem, is just begging for trouble.

Perhaps we should have a new service at hospitals – baby-naming counselors, armed with dictionaries.

Do you have a favorite?


Toni Hargis

Toni Summers Hargis is a Brit who has lived in the USA since 1990. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and children and writes about US/UK matters when not putting out domestic fires. Toni blogs as Expat Mum and is the author of Rules, Britannia - An Insider's Guide to Life in the United Kingdom, (St. Martin's Press). She has made frequent appearances on radio and TV explaining British things to Americans.
View all posts by Toni Hargis.
  • gn

    “Jayden” is an interesting case. It came out of nowhere in the mid-to-late 1990s. Now my preschoolers are surrounded by Jaydens and Kaydens (with various spellings).

    Wikipedia cheekily suggests that “Jayden”‘s sudden popularity derives from a Star Trek episode broadcast on Valentine’s Day 1994.

  • gn

    PS “Addision” must surely be an typographical error for “Addison”. And there’s a long-established pattern of boys’ names becoming girls’ names: Hilary, Evelyn, Ashley, Kelly, Tracy, Vivian, etc.

  • Christian Lopez

    I have a question for the Brit readers. I am 43 years old. My name “Christian” has only become a little more popular here in the U.S. in the past decade or so. As a child and well into my adulthood, I never met anyone with my name here, but I did notice it a bit more in some of the British television I watched. Is my name equally rare in the U.K. or would I likely have run into others with my name on a more regular basis?

    • gn

      I knew two Christians in my high school (UK).

      My sense is that it’s a popular name among people with Scandinavian ancestry or connections.

    • Lydia

      i know 4 Christians, and I live in Kentucky.

  • Allison Hughes

    rogue would be a awesome name my mom wanted to name me hattymay withc would have been horrible my question as a american is why would you name your kid poppy? i could see that getting you beat up but here in america the wierd names you metioned would only be looke don in envy we like having unique unsually names lol my moms name is rexana my oldest sister is barbie my second oldest sister is bess-aine my oldest brother is blue and my brothers best friends sons name is bear i have three girls at my school named angel and a few boys theres a guy named bronze there s girl named topaz ramse and a bunch more lol i cant think of them right now lol though i do have a normal name just allison i wish i had a unique one but whatever XD

    • $9083274

      Punctuation and spellcheck. Please. Punctuation and spellcheck.

    • Sofia

      Allison as a Brit living in America I think it is funny that having a name like Poppy you think someone would beat you up, but yet Barbie, Blue and Bear are great unique names that people would be envious of? Really?

  • norwegianqueen

    i like my name and their is an actress here different spelling. annalyn

  • Sarah E. Pierson

    I’m a teacher and I’ve run into some interesting names now and then. My two favorites: Popeye and Quesadilla. No joke.

  • Linda

    To the Brit who posted 10 most annoying things Americans do??? EITHER STAY IN ENGLAND OR GO BACK HOME!!! We can fight the Revolutionary War again, you know……oh, and have a bad day!!!!

  • Ellie Jakes

    Good taste rule – You should never name a child anything that cannot be pre-fixed with Prince or Princess – So, Prince Jayden…errr no. Princess Addison? no again.