Will We Soon Have A World Without Nigels?

As it's revealed names like Nigel and Carol are becoming extinct, we look at the winners and losers of baby names in 2020

Nigel baby names

by Maria Lally |

The UK’s most popular baby names have been revealed this week, with firm favourites Olivia and Oliver retaining their spot at the top of the list for the fifth and eighth year in a row respectively.

But some names have dropped off it altogether and are on the brink of becoming extinct, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), who found that nobody named their baby Nigel in 2020. They did, however, name them Lucifer, which according to the ONS is now a more popular boys’ name than Nigel, Barry, Trevor and Piers, with fifteen baby Lucifers being born in 2020.

Carol didn’t fare much better, despite being the name of our future Queen Mother. Maureen, Susan and Janice are also falling out of favour, with names like Lyra, Mabel and Margot taking their place. The Meghan and Harry effect has also made its mark on the list, with Archie replacing Charlie in the top 10 of the list. And hit show Sex Education may also explain why Maeve and Otis have jumped up the list, making it into the top 100 for the first time ever.

George, the name of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s eldest child, is the second most popular name, with Arthur and Noah taking third and fourth place, and Muhammed moving up two places from last year into fifth place. Wilfred, however, the name of Boris and Carrie’s son, slipped from 142nd to 145th place.

“Oliver and Olivia held on to the top spots as the most popular boys’ and girls’ names in 2020 but some interesting changes took place beneath them,” says Sian Bradford from the ONS. “We continue to see the age of mothers having an impact on the choice of baby name. Archie jumped into the top 10 boys’ names for the first time, driven by younger mothers as well as the obvious royal link, while on the girls’ side, Ivy rose to sixth place.

“Popular culture continues to provide inspiration for baby names, whether it’s characters in our favourite show or trending celebrities. Maeve and Otis, characters from the popular programme Sex Education, have seen a surge in popularity in 2020.”

However, before we all mourn the end of Nigel, take heart. The ONS list only includes names on its extinct list if fewer than three children are given the name in any given year. Which means there could still be one or two baby Nigels out there.

Top 10 baby names in 2020, according to ONS


1 Olivia

2 Amelia

3 Isla

4 Ava

5 Mia

6 Ivy

7 Lily

8 Isabella

9 Rosie

10 Sophia


1 Oliver

2 George

3 Arthur

4 Noah

5 Muhammad

6 Leo

7 Oscar

8 Harry

9 Archie

10 Jack

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