Would you call your kid Kevin? – Dad’s Diary by Simon Carter

My name was once very popular. In 1974, Simon was the eighth most common name given to new-born boys in the UK.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 11:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 11:23 am
Would you name this little cutie Kevin? Or perhaps Gary or Steve? He's more likely to be a Henry nowadays...
Would you name this little cutie Kevin? Or perhaps Gary or Steve? He's more likely to be a Henry nowadays...

Now it’s rare. In 2017, it was the 368th most popular name – only 125 boys born in England and Wales were given it.

There were more boys called Archer, Beau, Bilal, Ayden, Troy, Junior, Nate, Preston, Sami, Harri and Rafe than there were Simon.

There were 169 were named Buddy and 205 called River, and frankly they are ridiculous names compared to Simon.

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Want to waste a few minutes looking at names which were once popular, but are in danger of being consigned – like mine – to the history books? Visit ons.gov.uk and look up the baby names section. It’s fascinating. Seriously, it is.

When I was at school I knew loads of Kevins, Garys, Marks, Pauls, Stevens and Neils, and quite a few other Simons. All those names were (unsurprisingly) conspicuous by their absence in the 100 most popular for new-born boys in 2018. Will any baby ever be christened ‘Gary’ again? I really hope so.

I didn’t know any William, Georges, Harrys or Henrys when I was young. If anyone had been called Henry at my school they would have been wedgied every day.

Yet all those names have gradually come back into fashion over recent years, at the expense of mine.

You can go online* and find a graph (1900-present day) telling you how popular your name has been.

It informs me the most popular era for calling babies Simon was in the 60s and 70s.

It also appears my name was never in the top 100 prior to the early 1950s, and that it dropped out in the mid-1990s. Who knows when it will return?

I typed my kids’ names in as well.

Benjamin dropped out of the top 100 in the mid 1920s, only returning in the mid 1970s when it zoomed straight back into the top 40. It has stayed there ever since, peaking in the top 10 in the early noughties (my son was born in 2002, so I helped raise his name to previously unknown levels of popularity).

As for Ellen, in the early 1900s it was a top 20 name but gradually declined until it dropped out of the top 100 in the mid 1930s.

It made a long-awaited return in the mid 1990s, but last appeared in 2003 – the year my daughter was born.

I urge you to log on and find out when your own name was at the peak of its popularity.

Who knows, you might have a name which has NEVER been popular. My mum’s got one. Marilyn only appeared in the top 100 between 1945-1955 and even then never broke into the top 40.


Will Mildred come back into fashion?

Let’s take a stroll down baby-naming memory lane to find out what the top names were from different generations …


Boys: 1 Muhammad, 2 Oliver, 3 Noah, 4 Harry, 5 Leo, 6 George 7, Jack, 8 Charlie, 9 Freddie, 10 Arthur

Girls: 1 Olivia, 2 Sophia, 3 Amelia, 4 Lily, 5 Ava, 6 Emily, 7 Ella, 8 Isla, 9 Mia, 10 Aria


Boys: 1 Thomas, 2 James, 3 Jack, 4 Daniel, 5 Matthew, 6 Ryan, 7 Joshua, 8 Luke, 9 Samuel, 10 Jordan

Girls: 1 Rebecca, 2 Lauren, 3 Jessica, 4 Charlotte, 5 Hannah, 6 Sophie, 7 Amy, 8 Emily, 9 Laura, 10 Emma


Boys: 1 Christopher, 2 James, 3 David, 4 Daniel, 5 Michael, 6 Matthew, 7 Andrew, 8 Richard, 9 Paul, 10  Mark

Girls: 1 Sarah, 2 Laura, 3 Gemma, 4 Emma, 5 Rebecca, 6 Claire, 7 Victoria, 8 Samatha, 9 Rachel


Boys: 1 Paul, 2 Mark, 3 David, 4 Andrew, 5 Richard, 6 Christopher, 7 James, 8 Simon (smiley emoji!), 9 Michael, 10 Matthew

Girls: 1 Sarah, 2 Claire, 3 Nicola, 4 Emma, 5 Lisa, 6 Joanne, 7 Michelle, 8 Helen, 9 Samantha, 10 Karen


Boys: 1 David, 2 John, 3 Steven, 4 Michael, 5 Peter, 6 Robert, 7 Paul, 8 Alan, 9 Christopher, 10 Anthony

Girls: 1 Susan, 2 Linda, 3 Christine, 4 Margaret, 5 Janet, 6 Patricia, 7 Carol, 8 Elizabeth, 9 Mary, 10 Anne


Boys: 1 John, 2 William, 3 James, 4 Robert, 5 Charles, 6 George, 7 Joseph, 8 Edward, 9 Frank, 10 Thomas

Girls: 1 Mary, 2 Helen, 3 Dorothy, 4 Margaret, 5 Ruth, 6 Mildred, 7 Virginia, 8 Frances, 9 Elizabeth, 10 Anna