Muhammad is the most popular name for boys in Britain, pushing the traditional British names of Oliver and Jack into second and third place respectively, according to the website BabyCentre.
There is a surge in Arabic names generally, with Nur a new entry in the girls’ top 100, jumping straight to number 29, and Maryam rising 59 places to number 35. Omar, Ali, and Ibrahim are new to the boys’ top 100.
The decline in popularity of more traditional names may be due to the higher birth rate among second generation immigrants who tend to have large families, as well as cultural traditions within different migrant groups.
The higher status boys are held in amongst certain religious groups – including Islam where the treatment of women and gender segregation has been highlighted on numerous occasions – could explain why boys are given the name of their Prophet but there is no significant girls’ name to replicate the trend.
The Office of National Statistics said that mothers from Libya had the highest average birth rate, at 5.58, closely followed by Guinea with 4.84 and Algeria with 4.32.
British women are having significantly more children than a decade ago, with birth rates for women in England and Wales up by 18 per cent according to figures at the beginning of this year.
Statistics from the census showed that a quarter of those babies born were from mothers who arrived in Britain from other countries: There were 724,000 births in 2011 — of which 26 per cent, 185,000, were to mothers themselves born abroad. At the last census in 2001, just 16 per cent of births were to foreign-born mothers.
Sarah Redshaw, managing editor for BabyCentre, who created the list said, “With the increase of Arabic names plus Aarav, an Indian boys’ name, the top 100 shows the ever-increasing diversity of the UK today.”
Biblical names are also on the rise, with Jacob, Noah, and Gabriel all securing places in the coveted top 100.
But royal names have taken a slide, with George falling out of the top ten to number 13 after a peak in popularity following the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child. Other royal names, such as Harry and William, also fell in support this year.
The most popular girls’ name is Sophia, followed by Emily and Lily. The female top ten features traditional Western names, tipping towards those more often associated with middle and upper class families.
Celebrities and TV have also continued to inspire parents with the names of David and Victoria Beckham’s offspring appearing in the list. Harper, the name of the couple’s daughter, is a new entry in the top 100 while Romeo is up 67 percent and Crux 400 percent.
“Parents have also been influenced by celebrity name choices. The Beckhams and Simon Cowell have been big influences this year. Eric, the name Simon Cowell chose for his son, increased by 314%” Ms Redshaw added.
And finally, 2014 seems to be the year of the surname-as-baby-name, with Harrison, Austin, Mason, and new entry Hunter all enjoying a surge in popularity.