REVEALED: These are France's most popular baby names

Martin Greenacre
Martin Greenacre - [email protected]
REVEALED: These are France's most popular baby names
A father wearing a protective mask holds his newborn son against his chest during the Covid-19 pandemic, novel coronavirus at the maternity of the Diaconesses hospital in Paris, on November 17, 2020. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

Emma and Gabriel are no longer the most common baby names in France, with two new names emerging to claim the top spot.


Jade was the most popular girls' name in 2020, according to the top ten list published by French national research institute Insee on Thursday. A total of 3,814 Jades were born in France last year, just three more than were given the name Louise.

Emma had previously held the crown as the most popular girls' name every year since 2016.

There was another upset among the boys, with Léo taking the crown in 2020, after Gabriel had been the most popular name since 2015. Gabriel remains the second most chosen boys' name, with Raphaël, Arthur and Louis not far behind.

Exactly 4,496 Léos entered the world in France last year.

Image: Insee.

While the orders have changed, the names which feature on the top ten list are similar to last year's stats. In fact, all of the same boys' names feature in the top ten, while the only change among the girls was Mia replacing the almost identical Mila.


Regional variation

Behind these lists, there is a significant degree of regional variation. Jade and Louise were each the most popular girls' name in five of France's thirteen metropolitan regions. However, Lina was more popular in Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and Corsicans preferred Ghjulia.

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There was slightly less variation in boys' names, with Léo coming out on top in eight regions. But Arthur was the most popular given name in Brittany, Raphaël in Normandy, Adam in Ile-de-France, and people in Corsica again stood out by opting for Andria above all other names.

The most popular names from recent years represent a big departure from traditional French names. Insee's data allows us to consult the most popular names for every year since 1900.

Counting the last 100 years since 1920, Marie is by far the most popular girls' name, even if it hasn't topped an annual list since 1958. Among boys' names, Jean has been the most common, claiming the top spot every year from 1920-1957.

Names like Marie and Emma have been incredibly consistent in their pomp, but there have been a number of anomalies down the years, like the time in the 1990s when the very un-French-sounding Kevin exploded all across France thanks to a couple of popular American actors.


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