Sara and Mathias most popular in 2007
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Sara and Mathias most popular in 2007

2007 saw the return of two former number ones. Sara was the most popular girls’ name in 2002, while Mathias was number one in 2003 and 2004. The most popular baby names in 2006, Thea and Jonas, are now second. The trend with short girls’ names ending in ”a” or ”ah” and biblical boys’ names continued.

Use of biblical boys' names and short girls' names ending in 'a' or 'ah'

Mathias comes from Greek and means ”God’s gift”. As is the case with many names that are popular today, Mathias was hardly used for many years until it started to appear around 1980. Mathias joined the top ten in 1999 and became the number one boys’ name in 2003. Jonas, Markus and Alexander have also been stable in the top ten, while Lukas/Lucas at number five is the first newcomer in 2007. Lukas/Lucas, Noah and Elias have been climbing steadily in recent years.

Sara, which comes from Hebrew and means "princess”, has almost the same story as Mathias. It is an old name that almost fell into disuse, but from around 1970 it slowly and steadily rose in popularity until it climbed to the top in 2002. Sara and Thea are followed by Emma, Julie, Nora and Ida. These have all been in the top for a while. Leah, Linnea and Ella have seen the strongest increase in recent years.

Popular names come and go. Many names which are popular today were hardly used 50 years ago, but were popular 120 years ago. Knowing that around a third all girls had short names ending in “a” or “ah” at the end of the 19th century, it is not surprising that these names are popular today. The proportion of such names rose to 35 per cent in 2007, the highest ever.

Ten most popular girls’ names in 2007

Ten most popular boys’ names in 2007

The same pattern is evident for boys' names. Biblical boys’ names were also popular in the 19th century, but disappeared for a while in the 20th century. In 2007, 23 per cent of all boys were given names from the Bible. If we include names derived from biblical names, for example Jon and Hans, this share is 39 per cent. This is a small decrease from 2006.

If you want to predict the future, look to Sweden. It is striking how names that are popular in Sweden become popular in Norway a few years later.

Top six in Sweden 2007
  Boys Girls
1     William     Wilma
2 Lucas Maja
3 Elias Ella
4 Oscar Emma
5 Hugo Julia
6 Viktor Alice

Go to Statistics Sweden for more information on popular names in Sweden.

Middle names and hyphenated names

48 per cent of all children have a middle name. The most common middle name is still the mother’s maiden name. Furthermore, 6.4 per cent have a hyphenated surname. In 2006, the corresponding figures were 47 and 5.7 per cent. Hyphenated surnames are often made up of the parents' surnames. It is no surprise then that only 21.5 per cent of boys and 25.8 per cent of girls are given more than one first name.

The most common second first name in 2007 was - as always - Marie (570), followed by Sofie (409) and Emilie (206). The most common combination is Ida Marie (39) and Emma Sofie (29). The most common second first names for boys are Aleksander/Alexander (458) and André (357). The most common combinations are Ole Kristian/Christian (24) and Noah Alexander/Aleksander (21).

Small local variations

A name's popularity may vary in different parts of the country, but it is difficult to find regional differences in the name statistics from 2007. However, Sogn og Fjordane stands out from the rest this year. Linnea tops the list of girls’ names, Rebekka is number six and Angelica number 16.

If we add up all variations of Mohammad, it becomes the most popular boys’ name in Oslo. In the country as a whole, however, Mohammad is only the 53rd most popular choice for boys.

See tables for counties and selected municipalities (in Norwegian only).