Nora and Lucas once again most popular
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Nora and Lucas once again most popular

The most popular names in 2012, Nora and Lucas, were once again the most popular in 2014. Despite this, only 1.4 per cent of girls were named Nora and 1.4 per cent of boys were named Lucas.

Top ten, girls' names and boys' names 2014
PlacingNameNumberPer 1000
Girls' names   
Boys' names   
Figure 1. Top names 2014
Figure 2. Top ten 2014
Figure 3. Development in the popularity of Lucas and Nora
Figure 1. Top names 2014Figure 2. Top ten 2014Figure 3. Development in the popularity of Lucas and Nora

Nora was among the top ten favourite names in 2000 and has therefore been one of the most popular girls’ names for quite a while. Nora was the favourite in 2012 and again in 2014, when Nora and Norah together made up the most popular name, pushing Emma into second place. The name Nora was first used in Norway in the mid 19th century, when it grew in popularity due to a play written by Henrik Ibsen called A Doll’s House. The name is a short form of Eleonore, but the meaning of the name is unknown. Nora is at the forefront of the growing trend of girls’ names ending in -a and -ah. More than half of all girls’ names now end in -a or -ah, compared with just one in ten in 1947.

Lucas back on top

Lucas and Lukas together conquered the top spot after one year with Filip. Lucas has been a popular boys’ name since 2008 and has been the favourite in six out of the last seven years. The name means ‘man from Lucania’. Lukas is believed to have written both the Lukas gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Despite the popularity of Lucas, the share of biblical boys’ names is slowly falling, with 21 per cent in 2014 compared to 23 in its peak year of 2006. By way of comparison, around 1.5 per cent of boys had biblical names in the 1950s.

Biggest climbers

In 2014, old favourites Markus and Emil climbed eight places to 3rd and 4th place respectively. Aksel has been rising in popularity and is now in the top ten. For the girls, Nora, Anna, Tiril and Emilie are seeing the greatest increase in popularity. Over the last five years, Matheo, Liam, Olav and Aksel for the boys and Olivia, Ella, Mie and Lilly for the girls have seen the greatest rise in popularity.

Only 1.4 per cent of the girls and boys had the favourite names

Although Nora and Lucas are the most popular names, only 1.4 per cent of girls and boys respectively were given these names in 2014. By way of comparison, almost 6 per cent of newborn girls were named Anne in the 1950s. In other words, we now have a wider range of names to choose from.

Statistics Norway has compiled statistics on names since 1991. In the 1990s, the median for the most popular names was 2.4 and 2 per cent respectively for boys and girls. Over the next ten years, the shares fell to 1.85 and 1.9 per cent. The corresponding figures for the last five years are 1.7 and 1.4 per cent. Much of the increase in variations in names in recent years is due to immigration in Norway, which has seen the introduction of many new names. In 2014, there were 80 000 girls’ names and 68 000 boys’ names in Norway. Whether the attention given to the most commonly used names makes people choose other names is unknown.

Some children given more than one name

Almost half of all children in Norway have two surnames, while just one in ten had a double-barrelled (hyphenated) surname in 2014. Both of these figures were lower than the previous year. With so many surnames, most are content with just one first name: just 22 per cent of the boys and 25.8 per cent of the girls have more than one first name. The most common middle names are Alexander/Aleksander, André and Johan for the boys and Sofie, Marie and Louise for the girls. Thus, if our list of favourite names had included middle names, the favourites would have been different.

As Swedish name trends are passed on to Norway, it is interesting to follow their development. In Sweden, the favourite boys’ names were Lucas, William and Oscar in 2014. For the girls, Elsa knocked Alice off the top spot where it had been for the previous three years, while Maja was third most popular. Apart from Alice and Vincent, which have not yet caught on in Norway and are in 156th and 143rd place respectively – the favourite Swedish names are pretty similar to the Norwegian favourites.

Some local variations

Lucas is the most popular name in four counties in Norway. Mohammad, with its various spellings, continues to be the most common boys’ name in Oslo. Erik, which is in 39th place in Norway, takes the second spot in Hedmark. Noah, which is in 13th place in Norway, was the favourite boys’ name in West Agder in 2104. For the girls, Nora is the favourite in three counties, while Julie and Lilly take the top spots in Akershus and West Agder respectively. One of the biggest climbers for girls, Anna, is the favourite in Sogn og Fjordane.