The list of Canada’s most popular baby names for 2022 is here.
Some of the top names, though, will still likely be familiar for many.
According to StatCan’s latest report, unique and rare baby names made up 86 per cent of all of the baby names observed in the country last year. When it comes to unique and rare names, StatCan defines this as there being four or fewer children in Canada with the same name.
However, Claudine Provencher, demographer with StatCan, told Global News in an interview that that number does not mean that the majority of babies born in 2022 had unique names.
“That means in reality that 14 per cent of all the first names that exist are shared among 84 per cent of the newborns that were born in 2022,” she explained.
“If we look at the other way around, that means only 16 per cent of newborns had a unique or rare name.”
Basically: if there are 100 different names observed in all the babies in Canada last year, 86 of those names would qualify as rare or unusual. But that doesn’t mean the majority of total babies actually got one of those 86 names, with the vast majority still getting one of the 14 names not considered unusual or rare.
Data provided to Global News showed that 6,458 first names are shared by the majority of newborns in 2022.
When compiling the data, Provencher said the names that are unique or rare often only belonged to four or fewer newborns that share the same name.
StatCan, she said, only released the names in the 2022 list that had five or more babies sharing it both to ensure confidentiality and given the number of names counted in 2022 it would be “almost unmanageable” to include every name.
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As of last year, the number of names given to newborns in a single year has increased by about 31 per cent in the last 30 years, with there being 33,940 names used in 1992 compared to 44,545 in 2022.
Provencher said while it may seem like there isn’t a large number of newborns with unique names, even that 16 per cent still speaks to parents looking for ways to be unique in their naming.
“So what we see, I think more and more is parents taking, say, a popular name and just change one letter or just split the name into two and that would make the first name more unique,” she said.
Last year also saw several names break into the top 100 for the first time, with Luka, Leon, Jules, Milo and Weston all being new names to join the boys list and Wren joining the girls.
Several other names also saw big gains in popularity, with Freya and Athena jumping more than 10 spots, and Rowan and Ali jumping between 15 to 25 spots.
In terms of the most popular names, StatCan notes that Noah was the most popular boy name for the second straight year and has been in the top 10 for the last 18 years. For the girls, Olivia has remained undefeated for seven years and has been battling Emma for that top spot since 2003.
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According to Provencher, the data is collected by StatCan from 12 of the 13 provinces and territories — Yukon has not provided the data at this time. Officials count all of the first names given to babies, and then rank those names.
Part of why the data is provided yearly, she said, is because of demand.
“We decided to do that because we’ve had many requests from the public to have this data available.”
When it comes to parents deciding on choosing a name, it should be noted that even those listed in the top 10 are about one baby out of 100, so there are “lots of other first names” given to newborns.
Provencher said it shows parents really try to give their child a unique name, even if just slightly different from the popular names with a slight spelling difference.
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