Luke and Elena remained the most popular names given to newborns in Malta last year.

There were 4,277 live births registered at the Public Registry in Malta and Gozo last year, 4.9 per cent more than in 2013. Fifty-three per cent were boys.

At 4.3 per cent, Luke (and its variants) was the most popular name given to baby boys. Matthew and Jacob, including their variants, ranked second and third most popular respectively for the second consecutive year.

Names which gained in popularity during the year under review include Liam, Benjamin, Joseph, Jack, Nathan, Thomas, Julian, Noah, James and Samuel. John, Kaiden, Alexander, Andrew, Nicholas, Daniel, Aiden and Jaden decreased in popularity.

Yannick and Leon placed in the top 20 list of names for the first time, while Mason, Gabriel and Keiran failed to re-appear.

Elena (including Elenia, Helena and Ella) was the most popular name given to baby girls. Julia, including its variants, placed second with a popularity share of 3.6 per cent. Emma (and its variants) also gained one place and ranked as the third most popular name given to girls last year.

New entrants into the girls’ top 20 list included Francesca, Sarah, Valentina and Eve.

Names declining in popularity in 2014 include Eliza, Maya, Maria, Christina, Martina, Kailey, Mikela, Jade, Aaliyah and Jasmine. Martina fell to thirteenth, from eighth place in the preceding year. Big climbers for 2014 included Catherine and Hailey, which rose by five and four places respectively.

The predominance of biblical names or saints was once again apparent in the names given. Examples include Luke, Matthew, Jacob, Zachary, John and Isaac for boys and Elena, Eliza, Catherine, Maria, Anna and Sarah for girls.

Some parents were also influenced by TV drama, pop culture and sports when naming babies.

Examples include Blake, Calvin, Craig, Denzel, Lionel, Mason and Neymar for boys and Adele, Chanel, Chloe, Megan, Nicole, Norah, Rihanna, Scarlett and Sienna for girls.

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