Emily and James top tots names in 2015

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Emily and James were the most popular first names given to baby boys and girls in Northern Ireland, for births registered in 2015.

This is one of the findings of the Baby Names 2015 statistics published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Emily has been the most popular girls’ name in each of the past three years, albeit jointly with Grace in 2013.

But this is the first time James has held the top spot - even though the name has been in the top five, since records began in 1997.

In terms of boys’ names, Jack (which held the top spot for 12 consecutive years between 2003 and 2014) comes a close second to James in popularity with Noah in third place.

Jackson however climbed the greatest number of places to join the top 100 names for boys, rising from rank 145 in 2014 to rank 75 in 2015.

Jake and Matthew were new entries into the boy’s top 10, replacing Ethan and Jacob.

In terms of girls’ names, Ella followed a close second to Emily, narrowly overtaking Grace, which had been ranked second highest in 2014.

Rosa however climbed the greatest number of places to join the top 100 names for girls, moving from rank 147 in 2014 to rank 53 in 2015.

Aoife and Ava also rose in popularity to join the girl’s top 10, replacing Eva and Sophia.

Compared with boys, a greater number of girls’ names have held the top spot since the reporting of first names began in 1997.

Both Emily and Sophie each held the top position on three occasions, while Chloe and Katie each held it on six occasions. In terms of popularity, Sophie and Anna have stood the test of time featuring in both the 2015 top 10 and the top 10 a decade previously.

Some of the less common names given to baby girls in 2015 were Arya, Elsa, Rita and Suri.

The statement adds that the statistics highlight that the popularity of baby names in 2015 (both boys and girls) varied, for example, by District Council, age of mother, country of birth of mother and month of registration.

Meanwhile blockbuster movies, current celebrities and memorable places continue to appear to be influencing factors for some parents.