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Olivia and Arthur the most popular names for new-borns in Belgium

Illustration picture shows a baby playing with a ball Friday 27 March 2020 in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ)
05:51 15/07/2021

Every year the Belgian statistical office Statbel unveils the ranking of the most popular names in the country. In 2020, Olivia and Arthur moved to the top of the rankings for new-borns while Jean and Maria were the most popular in the population across all age groups.

The Olivias of Belgium replaced the Emmas who had sat at the top of the new-born rankings for 16 years in 2019 and have remained there since.

"548 babies were named Olivia in 2020, 103 fewer than the previous year and just 19 more than the 529 babies who received Emma as their first name," the Statbel statement read.

So, the reign of Olivia may not last long. Emma may well reclaim the top spot in the future. Mila completed the top three for girls’ names with 489 children given that first name in 2020.

"Among the biggest progressions in the top 100 we have Alba, given 87 times, an increase of 142%; Capuchin (85, +55%) and Lea (without accent) (107, +45%)," Statbel added.

Among male new-borns, Arthur remained the most popular name in 2020, leading the pack for a third year in a row. 587 Arthurs were welcomed to the world last year. "Arthur has been in fashion for a few years now and comes top for the third consecutive year."

Noah came second for boys’ names with 564 children bearing that name, while Jules - 543 children – came in third.

"Among the biggest progressions in the top 100 are Otis, given 210 times, an increase of 68%, Oliver (158, +34%) and Charles (123, +31%)."

In the population as a whole, Jean and Maria are the most common first names. "The classic first names remain strongly represented, although the numbers of the top three are in constant decline," Statbel said in its statement. Across all age groups, 68,298 men bore the name Jean in 2020, compared to 65,886 in January 2021.

Mohamed, meanwhile, has made strong progress and "enters the top 10, replacing André," Statbel revealed, adding that the name came out on top as the most popular male name for babies in Brussels, followed by Adam and Amir. Sofia was the most common name among baby girls in Brussels, ahead of Lina and Nour.

Nationally, in terms of the general population, Maria was well ahead of the competition for women’s names: 116,317 women bear this name as of January 1, 2021, even after dropping from 121,316 in 2020. The top 10 remains unchanged compared to last year with the exception of Nathalie who takes the 4th place from Monique."

Peeters, Janssens and Maes remain the most prominent surnames.

Written by Nick Amies