One Irish name has proven a firm favourite among new parents in the Big Apple, taking the top spot for most popular names in the city for the fifth year in a row.
Ringing in the new year, the New York City Health Department released a list of the top ten most popular names given to baby boys born in the city in 2020.
Over 100,000 boys were born in the city in 2020, and one Irish boy name has ranked the most popular baby name in New York.
This is not the first time the Irish name has taken the city by storm. In fact, 2020 marks the fifth year running that the Irish boy name took the top spot.
A subtle nod to Ireland – the most popular name in New York
The Irish boy name Liam took the top spot for the most popular baby name in New York for 2020. A total of 682 boys born in the city throughout 2020 were given the name.
Perhaps popularised by Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson, known for his roles in films such as Schindler’s List, Michael Collins, and Taken, among many others, the Irish name has truly taken over New York City in recent years.
Other famous figures, such as Australian actor Liam Hemsworth and English singer Liam Payne, have no doubt contributed to the popularity of this Irish name in the United States.
Irish boy name ranked most popular baby name in New York – but what does it mean?
Liam is a derivation of Uilliam, the Irish version of the popular name William. The Irish name is believed to mean ‘strong-willed warrior’ or ‘protector’.
Until the end of the 18th-century, the name Liam was relatively unheard of outside of Ireland. However, when the people of Ireland began emigration to places such as the United States during the Great Famine of the 1850s, the name took on momentum.
It quickly gained popularity on a global scale. Thus, over the past 170 years, it has grown to become one of the most popular boy names in the world.
Popularity at home – still a popular name in Ireland
It is not only in New York, however, that Liam proves a popular choice for baby boys. At home in Ireland, the name Liam was given to 329 new babies born in 2020.
Therefore, the CSO ranked it as the seventh most popular name given to boys in Ireland that year. This is the highest it has ranked in the country since 1964.
The name has proven popular in the United Kingdom as well.
The name has steadily decreased in popularity here since its peak in 1996 when it was recorded that every one in 100 boys was given the Irish name. Still, in 2020, it came in 36th position as the most popular name given to baby boys in the UK.
The legacy of Irish names – worldwide popularity
The Irish Consulate in New York took to Twitter at the news that the Irish boy name had ranked most the popular baby name in New York. They said:
“The Irish name “Liam” was the most popular boy’s name in New York (and the USA!) in 2020. 682 Liams were born in NY: twice the Ireland total.
“Liam was unheard of outside Ireland until emigrants brought the name to Britain and USA in the late 1800s.
“Now it’s exceptionally popular around the world: #2 in Sweden, also liked in Germany, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.
Its origins lie in the longer Irish name “Uilliam”, which became common in the 12th century.”