New searchable StatCan database lists Noah, Olivia top names in 2021

The Baby Names Observatory allows online visitors to view the top 20 names for specific years

By Cassandra Szklarski

Expectant parents and trend watchers have a new online tool to track Canada’s most popular baby names.

Statistics Canada launched a searchable database of popular baby names Tuesday, revealing Noah and Olivia as the top monikers for 2021.

The Baby Names Observatory allows online visitors to view the top 20 names for specific years, as well as see how the popularity of specific names waxed and waned over the past three decades.

StatCan demographer Claudine Provencher said the agency developed the site after receiving many requests from the public.

“We mainly did that to serve the purpose of providing another tool for the public to search for their future newborn’s names. It’s just a fun product to provide for Canadians,” said Provencher.

She added that the tool offers a national look at name trends, augmenting regional data already provided by provinces and territories.

Provencher said the top names in 2022 will be known in September, with future lists to be revealed annually each September going forward.

She did not expect the list has changed much since 2021, noting that on average a popular name persists in the Top 5 for about eight years. 

Of course, there can also be wide variance among some popular names. 

“You’ll have Daniel, which stayed for only one year in the Top 5 over the last 30 years,” said Provencher. 

“On the other hand, you’ll have William that stayed for 22 years.”

In 2021, there were 367,684 births, according to StatCan. Provencher said about 85 to 90 per cent of those babies are represented in the dashboard.

What’s more, those children bear 6,472 different names and the number of different names is increasing over time, she added.

“People try to find a unique first name. So we’ll have lots of names (spelled) differently, just to be unique. And also probably because of the multicultural (population) that is increasing in Canada.”

Names that were used fewer than five times a year are excluded from the database, she added.

Here’s a look at the top baby names in 2021, ranked by frequency:

Boys

1. Noah, 2,393

2. Liam, 1,967

3. William, 1,684

4. Leo, 1,559

5. Benjamin, 1,433

6. Theodore, 1,425

7. Jack, 1,365

8. Thomas, 1,318

9. Logan, 1,314

10. Oliver, 1,310

11. Jacob, 1,293

12. Lucas, 1,241

13. James, 1,221

14. Nathan, 1,199

15. Ethan, 1,145

16. Jackson, 1,065

17. Owen, 987

18. Adam, 978

19. Henry, 957

20. Felix, 918

Girls

1. Olivia, 2,032

2. Emma, 1,715

3. Charlotte, 1,579

4. Amelia, 1,308

5. Ava, 1,105

6. Sophia, 1,105

7. Chloe, 1,088

8. Mia, 1,017

9. Mila, 936

10. Isla, 922

11. Alice, 879

12. Sofia, 878

13. Lily, 810

14. Zoe, 784

15. Ella, 781

16. Evelyn, 779

17. Charlie, 777

18. Ellie, 727

19. Abigail, 716

20. Nora, 715

Banner image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2023.

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