This Is London, December 20, 2007
Britain’s rising immigrant population has bumped the Muslim name Mohammed into second place in the latest list of most popular boys’ names.
For the last 13 years Jack has been the most popular boys’ name in the land.
But in multicultural Britain children named after the Muslim prophet Mohammed come a close second.
In a reflection of the increasing influence of Islam, figures released yesterday showed the most popular spelling of the name—Mohammed—had climbed five places to 17th in the annual list of top baby names.
However, when the seven other spellings of the name are taken into account, the total comes to 6,347 babies, making it the second most popular name of the year—up from 5,936 last year.
Although Jack topped the list with 6,772 babies, that figure fell 156 on last year, meaning if the trends were repeated next year, Mohammed and its variant spellings would be the most popular choice in England and Wales.
The other spellings are Muhammad, Mohammad, Muhammed, Mohamed, Mohamad, Muhamed and Mohammod.
The last national census in 2001 put the UK Muslim population at 1.6 million, but this will have grown substantially in the past five years.
The official figures from the Office for National Statistics tally with a similar survey on baby names published by Bounty, the parenting club, earlier this week.
They confirmed Grace was the most popular name given to girls, beating last year’s top name, Olivia, into third place.
These were separated by Ruby which is believed to have been given a boost by singer Charlotte Church, who picked the name for her daughter who was born in September.
The rest of the top five was made up by Emily, which rose one place to number four and Jessica, which was last year’s number three.
The power of celebrity was also reflected in the top 50. Jayden was the highest new entry for boys at 32, up from 68 last year, while Ava moved up 23 places in the girls’ rankings to 41.
Jayden’s rise could be attributed to Jaden Smith, son of movie star Will Smith, who appeared alongside his father in The Pursuit of Happyness.
Ava’s surge in popularity is believed to be influenced by Myleene Klass, who named her daughter Ava in August.
An ONS spokesman also said Leona almost trebled in popularity, with 238 babies given the name in 2007, following Leona Lewis winning last year’s X Factor show.
As well as Ava, Summer also entered the girls’ top 50 this year, rising 15 places to 44, replacing Anna and Paige, which dropped out of the list.