Sarah Womack, Telegraph (London), Dec. 21, 2006
Mohammed, and its most common alternative spelling Muhammad, are now more popular babies’ names in England and Wales than George, reflecting the diverse ethnic mix of the population.
The Office for National Statistics said there were 2,833 baby boys called Mohammed in 2006.
The name is 22nd in the list of most popular boys’ names, moving up a place from last year.
Spelled Muhammad, it is the 44th most popular name and enters the top 50 for the first time along with Noah, Oscar, Lucas and Rhys.
There were 2,833 babies called Mohammed born in 2006 and 1,422 called Muhammad. The total exceeds the number of Georges (3,386) or Josephs (3,755).
The list of popular babies’ names for 2006 also shows that the cult of celebrity is changing the baptismal tide.
There were 38 babies called Cruz (after David Beckham’s third child) this year, raising the name from 1,508th to 650th. There were 14 Peaches (after the daughter of Bob Geldof), raising that name from 4,509th to 1,561st.
Jack has been the top boys’ name for 12 years but Olivia has risen three places from last year. Last year’s top girl’s name, Jessica, dropped to number three, There are just three new names in the top 50 girls’ names list — Imogen, Sophia and Anna.
The ONS said some of the girls’ names gaining the most popularity this year were Evie (21), Freya (23), Poppy (30) and Jasmine (31).
As usual, the boys’ top 50 is more stable, but Harrison jumped six places to number 36. Alfie, Cameron and Henry all rose five places to numbers 16, 30 and 39 respectively.