Linnea and Lucas most popular in 2008
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Linnea and Lucas most popular in 2008

Linnea and Lucas/Lukas were the new leading first names in 2008. The trend with biblical boys’ names and girls’ names ending in “a” continues. In Oslo, the decidedly most popular boys’ name is Mohammad.

The most popular girls' name in Norway in 2008 was Linnea, which was in 12th place in 2007. The name Linnea originates from Sweden and refers to the "linnaea" flower, which is named after the Swedish botanist Carl von Linné. Linnea has been extremely popular in Sweden for a while, peaking in 5th place in 2002.

Popularity of the names Linnea/Linea and Emma. 1880-2008

Otherwise, the list of most popular girls’ names has not changed very much. Emma is in 2n d place and the most popular name in 2007, Sara, is number three. Leah has jumped five places and is now in 9t h place.

The most popular boys’ name in 2008 was Lukas/Lucas. There are almost as many boys called Lukas as Lucas: 244 and 293 respectively. The name is taken from Lucanos, which is Latin and means “Light” or “Man from Lucania”. The origin is the author of the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Lucas was the most popular boys’ name in Sweden in both 2006 and 2008. Otherwise, the previous most popular name, Mathias, is in 2n d place and Markus remains at number three. Emil has grown in popularity and is now in 4t h place. Kristian/Christian, which is now in 5t h place, has been in the top ten since 1974. Oliver has jumped 10 places to number 8, just before Tobias.

Popularity of the names Lucas and Mathias. 1880-2008

See the table for the whole country, the counties and selected municipalities .

The popularity of a name goes in waves. Many of the currently popular names were also popular more than 100 years ago and have returned after a long absence. This applies to many of the biblical names, amongst others. Whether religion actually played a part in the popularity of these names in the 1800s is not known. In any case, they disappeared during the 1900s, but have now made a strong comeback. Name trends are fairly international, and the biblical boys' names are also popular outside Norway.

In contrast to the recent leading names, Linnea and Lucas/Lukas are “new”, and prior to 1990 were hardly ever used. Noah, which is now in 14th place, is also totally new to Norway.

The majority of our most popular names are already established in Sweden. The name list in Sweden is the best indicator of what is happening in Norway. The trend with many girls’ names that end in “a” or “ah” probably stems from our neighbours to the east. Over half (51.5 per cent) of the girls that were born in 2008 were given a name ending in “a” or “ah”. Immediately after the war, the corresponding figure was 13 per cent by comparison, with Eva as the greatest contributor.

The most popular names in Sweden 2008
  Boys Girls
1             Lucas                 Maja
2 Oscar Emma
3 William Julia
4 Elias Ella
5 Hugo Elsa
6 Alexander Alice

See Statistics Sweden for more information on the Swedish name statistics.

Children continue to have many names

A growing number of children have double surnames. Both the mother and father’s name are included. A total of 48 per cent of children were given a middle name in 2008. The number with a hyphenated surname is also increasing. In 2008, 7.3 per cent of children were given a hyphenated name, while the corresponding figures for 2006 and 2005 were 6.4 and 5.7 per cent respectively. One out of four girls and one out of five boys were given more than one first name in 2008.

The most popular second first name in 2008 was the same as before - Marie (583), followed by Sofie (432) and Emilie (206). The most popular second first names for boys are Aleksander/Alexander (490) and André (370).

Regional variations

Mohammad is registered with a number of different spellings. A total of 120 boys in Oslo were given one of these variations as a first name in 2008, which is far more than Jakob in 2nd place with 76. Mohammad is peculiar to Oslo; only 56 boys were given this name in the remainder of Norway.

Otherwise, the variations are most likely random. Oliver is the most popular name in both counties in Trøndelag.

Rise and fall

The names that increased in popularly the most since 2007 were Isak, William and Oliver. Note that William was the most popular name in Sweden in 2007. The girls’ names that increased the most in popularity were Linnea, Emma, Mille and Milla.

Elias and Thea fell most in popularly in 2008.