Muhammad is the most popular boys' name in England and Wales

10/25/2021 5:41 PM
Picture of a baby

The Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) name was the most popular baby boys' name in England and Wales in 2020, according to the latest figures from the ONS.

Several other Muslim names also appear in the top 100, including Yusuf, Ibrahim, Maryam and Aisha.

Muhammad is fifth on the list, behind Oliver, George, Arthur and Noah. But when the other spellings of The Prophet's (PBUH) name in the top 100 are combined, Mohammed, Mohammad and Muhammed, it comes out on top.

For example, newborns with the different spellings of Muhammad total over 6,500, whereas newborns with the variations of the name Oliver - the most popular boys name - only total over 4,000.

Zeroing in on the ten regions in England and Wales, the specific spelling of 'Muhammad' tops the charts in the North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, West Midlands and London.

The most obvious Muslim girls' names to make it into the 100 are Maryam (86) and Aisha (100). Maryam tops the list in the districts and boroughs of Blackburn, Luton, Pendle, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets, while Aisha hits the number one spot in Leicester and Bolton.

Muhammad, Mohammed and Mohammad 

Three different spellings of The Prophet's (PBUH) name appears in the top 100 - more than any other name. 

They include: 

  • (Rank 5) Muhammad — 3,710 newborns 
  • (Rank 32) Mohammed - 1,615 newborns
  • (Rank 74) Mohammad - 751 newborns

The spellings 'Muhammed' and 'Mohamed' also appear in the top 200. 

Interestingly, the data shows that in 1996 'Mohammed' was the most popular spelling of the name, coming in at 36 versus 108 for 'Muhammad'. But steadily the 'Muhammad' spelling has become more popular and by 2012 it was the most dominant spelling.

The appearance of The Prophet’s (PBUH) name in the top 100 is not new – the first time it appeared was in 1924, ranking in at 91.

It has appeared in the top 100 most popular names for baby boys every ten years from 1924 to 1994, and every year since 1996. And three different spellings of the name were also in the top 100 in 1954.

The ONS treats each spelling of a name separately and has said that combining names with similar spelling would confuse matters as it means making a ‘subjective decision’ on names. "So to make a fair comparison either all names should be treated separately or all names on the list should be combined with names that have a similar spelling," it said in a blog in 2016. 

Other Muslim names 

Other obvious Muslim names in the top 100 include Yusuf (93) and Ibrahim (98), while Yahya (151), Zakariya (160), Syed (171), Zain (181), Abdullah(184) and Rayan (188) find themselves in the top 200.

Poetically, John and Yahya (the Arabic equivalent of John) are next to each other on the list — 150th and 151st respectively. There were 361 newborns called John and 359 were given the name Yahya.

Muslim girls name in the top 200 include Fatima (104), Aaliyah (125), Zainab (133), Zahra (174), Amira (176) and Khadija (182).

You can check for the popularity of  names from 1996-2020 using the following tool