Mohammed is the Most Popular Name for a Boy

Every news medium appears to be carrying the story that Mohammed is now the most popular boys name in the UK often accompanied by a top ten list such as in this piece. I couldn’t help thinking that this seems to almost intentionally designed to feed into right-wing paranoia so decided to look into the story.

The first thought that springs to mind is that Mohammed is a rather significant name in Islamic culture and every other Muslim male seems to have at as one of his given names – so the seeming dominance of Islamic naming may be illusory. The top ten boys’ names are:
1 Muhammad
2 Oliver
3 Jack
4 Noah
5 Jacob
6 Charlie
7 Harry
8 Joshua
9 James
10 Ethan

There are no other exclusively Islamic names in the list.

The top ten girls’ names are:

1 Sophia
2 Emily
3 Lily
4 Olivia
5 Amelia
6 Isla
7 Isabella
8 Ava
9 Sophie
10 Chloe

No exclusively Islamic names at all.

Another point to bear in mind is that actual numbers are not given in the Metro and many other stories on the matter, so I decided to try to find them. A couple of minutes on Google found this Office for National Statistics page which contains links to a number of Excel sheets, including one for boys’ names, which gives Oliver as the top name. However, there are various spellings of Mohammed which are just different Latin transliterations of the same Arabic name so it may be fair to say that it is the most popular with 7,445 boys given the name.

However, it is clear that there are there are tens of thousands of boys with non-Islamic names, clearly in the vast majority. This may seem like meaningless pedantry but immigration and immigrants are constantly being attacked by those in power, the press really need to report things as they are, not feed into unthinking fears.

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