Names — we all have them. While they are something we often take for granted, names are in many ways representative of the most unique features of humans as a species. They're an assertion of individual identity and categorization.
While most of us don't choose our names, there's a lot of pride one can take in a name. Choosing a name for oneself is an important part of many cultural movements, such as the current surge in visibility for transgender people.
But what are the most common names in the world?
If you've found yourself asking this question, we can't blame you. Names are something very important to us as a species, and so the most popular names in the world should tell us something about the human race. Speaking on the human race as a side note, we love our piece on how Elon Musk's Nueralink will become the pioneer for how we interact and essentially integrate with robotics in the future.
This article will walk you through the most shared names out there country by country since cultural differences cause huge differences in names.
Most Common/Popular Names in North America — Boys
United States (1st); Canada (2nd)
United States (2nd); Canada (1st)
United States (1st);
United States (2nd);
Sofia or Sophia (Girl)
Top 10 - Mexico, Puerto Rico
The most common name for boys in North America is Liam. It's the number one most popular name in the United States, which is far the biggest population-wise. It's also the second most common name for boys in Canada, so it has help from both sides.
The most common name for boys in Canada is Noah. Fittingly enough, the second most popular name for boys in the United States is Noah. This means that if a social group of people named "Liam" or "Noah" decides to move en-masse across the world, they could vastly influence the most common names in both Canada and the United States.
It's no wonder why Liam is such a common name. According to one site, the name means "strong-willed warrior" and "protector."
By contrast, the popular name Noah comes from Hebrew and means "rest." The name is biblical, and Noah is a character featured prominently in the famous "Noah's arc" bible story.
It should be noted that Mexico shares much more in common culturally with South America than it does with the United States and Canada in many ways. Its relatively small population means it doesn't swing these lists all that much.
The most popular name in Mexico, one of the most popular travel destinations, is Santiago, which is also popular in many South American countries. This name does not even scratch the surface of the top ten in the United States and Canada.
Most Common/Popular Name for Girls
For girls, the most popular name in North America is Emma. In the reverse from the above case, the most popular in the United States is Olivia, but there are enough Emma's across the countries to even it out.
Most Common/Popular Names in South America
South America (1st);
Sofia or Sophia (Girl)
Chile (1st); Argentina (1st); Top 10 - Uruguay, Colombia
The most common girl name in South America is Sofia. Sofia tops the list in Chile and Argentina and makes the top ten Uruguay, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.
The popularity of the name Sofia is proof that some of the lines we've drawn in the world are arbitrary. Sofia cracks the top ten in Puerto Rico and Mexico, which are part of North America, but does not appear anywhere on the lists for Canada and the United States.
However, a devils advocate couple point out that the spelling "Sophia" cracks the top ten in both Canada and the United States. However, a devil's advocate to that could say that the spellings of these names make them entirely different names in function and pronunciation.
The most popular boy's name in South America presents a similar problem — it's Santiago. It's the most popular name in South America, and also Mexico, which is a part of North America.
Most Common/Popular Names in Africa
Mohamad or Mohhamed (Boy)
Mary, Mariam, Marie (Girl)
When it comes to Africa, we encounter the "Mohamad" as the most name for a male.
By all accounts, Mohamad is technically the most popular name in Africa. However, if you eliminate alternate spellings and translations such as "Mohhamed,"Mohammed", "Mahmoud," and "Mamadou," etc, you wind up with a different result. So what do you do?
One could point out that this is the same instance as with "Sofia" and "Sophia." However, the name "Mohamed" and its variants have a clear and very important person it's named after. Can we really consider those two cases the same after all?
The name is certainly this popular for religious reasons, so it seems insensitive to disqualify it on variations for different spellings. This problem becomes extra complicated because when you combine spellings, Mohamed becomes the most popular name in England.
With all of the spellings taken into account, Mohamed might just be the most popular name in the world.
For women, it appears that the most popular names in Africa are variations of "Mary, Mariam, and Marie." This could be due to the large Christian population in Egypt and Tunisia.
Most Common/Popular Names in Australia
Though Australia is on the underside of the globe, they speak English and share a lot in common with the English-speaking world. While they don't share much with North America, the most common name for women down there is Olivia, which England has in common. The most common name for men is the extremely similar "Oliver', once again the most popular name in England.
There's no wonder that this is the case. Australia was initially established as an English penal colony, and many people have marked the similarities between the Australian and English accents.
It should be noted, however, that even treating Australia as its own continent is somewhat controversial. Some people prefer the name "Oceania," which takes into account the islands of New Zealand and Tahiti. It should also be noted that New Zealand has a significant Maori population with very different names.
Most Common/Popular Names in Europe
Lucas or Luka or Lukas (Boy)
1st - Between Lithuania, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, Austria
1st - United Kingdom, Sweden, Scotland
Anna, Anastasia, Anne (Girl)
1st - in most countries
Chloe, Olivia (Girl)
1st - in some countries
Europe is a bit of a myriad when it comes to the most popular names. Years of war in previous centuries and beyond have left many parts of Europe with vastly different cultures. Europe is also made up of many countries.
The names of Spain and Portugal sound more like names you'd find in Latin America, the names of England sound like Australia and America, and the names from Germany are unique due to the hold they previously had on the world.
We will take a somewhat controversial approach here and give you a few options to choose from. We're going to try to make it so that, as statistician Edward Tufte says, you can be approximately right rather than exactly wrong.
Between Lithuania, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, and Austria, "Lucas," "Luka," and "Lukas" are the most popular names for boys. In England and Whales, the most popular name is Oliver — a name which also shows representation in Sweden and Scotland.
One should also note that "Santiago," the most popular boy's name in Latin America, is extremely common in Portugal.
As for girl's names, we also have a mixed bag. The names Anna, Anastasia, and Ane remain constant throughout several countries. Chloe and Olivia are also extremely popular names.
Most Common/Popular Names in Asia
Mohamed, Muhamed, Mahmoud (Boy)
1st - in Arab countries
Maryam, Mariam, Meryam (Girl)
1st - in Arab countries
Asia is probably the runner-up to Europe as the most culturally diverse nation. East Asians, in countries like Japan and China, have a markedly different approach to life than Arabs and South Asians.
While China is the most populated country in the world, Mohamed/Muhamed/Mahmoud/Mohammed ekes it out again, as the most popular name in the Arab world, one of the most popular names in India, the most popular name in Iran, one of the most popular names in Iraq, and the most popular name in Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
For women, the name Maryam and its variants Mariam and Meryam is most likely the most popular, coming in high on the list in Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Iran, Azerbaijan, the Arab World, and Armenia.
Know the Most Common Names in the World. . .
Now, you know more than you did before about the most popular names in the world. Do you have a name that's come in high on one of these lists? Or is your name a bit more obscure? Take these names into account when deciding names for your children.
Whether your name is one of the most common names in the world, or relatively obscure, you deserve insurance, not to just get stuck with a random insurance company, but to find the best one for you. For more information, get a quote with Insurdinary today.