The most popular German baby names in 2021 are...
The results are in! One of Germany’s two annual lists of the most popular baby names has just been released, and the results for 2021 show two new frontrunners - and a big loser.
Emilia and Matteo are Germany’s most popular names in 2021
For the first time ever, Emilia and Matteo are the most popular baby names for girls and boys in Germany in 2021, according to the annual list from hobbyist name researcher Knud Bielefeld.
Every year, Bielefeld and his team compile the ranking, using data from 433 German cities - two-thirds of which comes from birth registrations, and the other third from baby galleries at maternity wards in hospitals. Bielefeld looked at around 230.000 birth announcements this year - around 30 percent of all babies born in Germany in 2021.
Old favourite names remain at the top in Germany
While Bielefeld predicted last year that the two names would rise to the top, he was unable to explain exactly why Matteo in particular has shot up the rankings. “[Matteo] went uphill very quickly,” he told ARD. “Two years ago he wasn’t even in the top 10 and now is number one. That is very unusual… I have not found any event. I am also not aware of any particular name model in radio, television, media or sports."
Bielefeld could only say that both fit neatly into the pattern of German names. Emilia, for instance, is not so far removed from other popular names like Ella, Emma and Emily. Matteo is also similar to other names that have been around for a long time, like Mattis, Matthias or Mats. “The names are already very familiar, but they also have a little something new,” said Bielefeld.
Other old favourites also proved to be popular in 2021, with Hannah, Mia, Emma and Sophia joining Emilia in the top five of the girls’ names, and Noah, Leon, Finn and Elias making it to the top five boys’ names.
The name Greta proved to be one of the biggest casualties in 2021, sliding well out of favour - perhaps because of the name’s association with the Swedish climate activist. “In the year before last it was still in place 30 and the years before that too,” Bielefeld said. “It fell to place 130 last year and this year it went even further downhill. Greta is only in place 200.”
Traditional names popular in southern Germany
Bielefeld also uncovered regional patterns, with traditional names proving popular in southern federal states where names are typically passed down from generation to generation. Annika, Nina, Franziska, Sebastian, Matthias and Dominik all appeared on the lists of popular names in southern Germany. In northern Germany, Scandinavian and Frisian names like Ava, Jetta, Lena, Jonte, Joris and Piet are disproportionately represented.
In eastern Germany, two trends are clearly observable. The first is the popularity of retro names like Anton, Theodor, Paul, Mathilda, Frieda and Emma. More parents are also choosing to bestow English and American names on their children.
The top 10 baby names in Germany in 2021
The most popular baby names in 2021, according to Bielefeld’s research, are as follows:
10 most popular baby girls names in 2021
10 most popular baby boy names in 2021
Popular names in Germany
Germany has no official statistics on popular baby names. Alongside Bielefeld’s list, the Society for German Language also reports on popular baby names every year in May.