We all know how pop culture can leave a lasting impact on us – whether it’s a song lyric you just can’t get out of your head, or the decision to book a holiday to a far-flung location after seeing it featured on your favourite TV show. But does the power of our favourite media go even further than this? Can pop culture influence the names we give our children?
musicMagpie decided to find out once and for all, by analysing the UK’s top 100 baby names for each year of the last decade. They highlighted those names which had seen the biggest increases in popularity, and drew parallels with the worlds of TV, film, music, sport and showbusiness.
Name of Thrones
One of the most popular TV shows of recent times, Game of Thrones also proved itself to be the single biggest influence on naming habits over the past decade. Not only have the names of standout characters seen a boost in popularity, but so have the names of the stars playing those leading roles.
Maisie Williams made a name for herself as Arya Stark, becoming a fan favourite as the show progressed. Thanks to this, the name Arya/Aria climbed a whopping 83 places in the rankings, while Maisie climbed 54 positions.
Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen, also saw her name climb the rankings, moving up 47 places over the course of the last decade.
It’s not just the female stars who’ve seen their names increase in popularity either. Thanks to Jon Snow, the name Jon/John re-entered the top 100 for the first time in five years, reaching position 56.
Lights, camera, action!
Over on the big screen, the return of the Star Wars franchise in 2015 caused the name of John Boyega’s lead character Finn to leap into the top 100 for the first time ever, coming in at position 77. In the same year, Emma Stone won an Oscar for her role in La La Land, while her name climbed 16 places, from position 53 to 37.
Long live Queen B
One of the best-selling artists of all time, it’s no surprise that Beyoncé has had a major impact on naming habits. Following the birth of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s first child Blue Ivy, the name Ivy entered the top 100, climbing to position 24 in 2017. Even the couple’s surname has been popular, with Carter rising through the charts to reach position 59 in the same year.
Head over to musicMagpie to see which other pop culture trends have impacted children’s’ names in the UK.