Baby names most likely to go extinct, as Jack, Kerry, and Clifford fall in popularity

Choosing a name for your bundle of joy can be incredibly difficult. Whether you want to give your little one a popular name, or prefer something more unusual, it can be hard to know which baby names fall into which category. Fortunately, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) annual figures for baby names in England and Wales in 2021 have been released confirming just that, so parents need not worry.

But for anyone looking to make an informed choice, this year’s release may come as quite a surprise. While it is good news for names such as Noah, Olivia, and Henry, other previously popular names have toppled down the list.

For instance, 2021 marks the first year Jack has failed to reach the top ten boys’ names this century, or since the series first began in 1996 – instead being replaced by Henry.

Fortunately, for fans of the name, it does not look to be going anywhere anytime soon, as Jack has still clung to a top spot. Several other boys’ names did not fare as well though, and could be on their way to extinction.

James Tucker, head of health and live events analysis for ONS, explained: “Some names could be in danger of falling out of favour. Leslie has had relatively little popularity in recent years with fewer than seven boys named each year since 2018.

“Others such as Clifford, Nigel and Norman have not fared much better with ten or fewer boys being named.” The announcement comes after last year’s release included damning news for Nigel, with data suggesting the name could be “extinct”.

At the time, no boys were confirmed as having been called Nigel in 2020. However, this does not mean no babies were given the name, as the ONS only records a name if three or more children are called by it, for data protection purposes.

Regardless, the low figures are certainly a bad sign for the name, since the data signals it could become extinct. And it is a similar story on the girls’ chart, where once-popular names could be lost forever if trends do not change.

“Girls’ names such as Glenda and Kerry, that were more common before, are also becoming endangered and we have seen less than five girls being named each year since 2018,” revealed Mr Tucker.

On the opposite end of the list, Olivia has once again reigned supreme as the most popular girls’ name for 2021 – marking the sixth year in a row the name has claimed the prestigious spot.

Sharing further insight into the most popular names, the expert added: “Noah has replaced Oliver as the most popular name for boys in 2021, moving Oliver into second place and ending an eight-year reign at the top.

“Olivia remained the most popular girls name in 2021, having held the top spot since 2016. Interestingly, Noah was not top in any of the English regions, but has risen up the ranks in most regions since last year to take first place overall.”