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Baby names


Here’s to Noah, Emma, Luca, Nico – and Mia


By swissinfo.ch


Swiss parents have once again snubbed Roger, Belinda and Xherdan – three of the country’s top sports stars – and stuck with traditional names for their babies.

Noah and Mia were the most popular names across Switzerland last year, according to the “First name hit parade 2015”, published by the Federal Statistical Office on Tuesday.

Of the 44,650 Swiss boys who came into the world, 443 were called Noah, which has been the most common name since 2011, apart from in 2012 when it was pipped by Luca. Noah was followed by Liam (412) and Luca (361).

The pram queens among the 41,900 girls were Mia (465), who retained her crown from 2013, Emma (447), who was the top name in 2011, 2012 and 2014, and Lara (335).

In fact, of the top 20 girls' names, only two (Leonie in 18th place and Sophie in 20th) didn’t end with the letter “a”.

Clear differences were also noticeable among Switzerland’s four language regions. Leon and Mia were most popular in the German-speaking part of the country, Gabriel and Emma in the French-speaking part, Leonardo and Sofia in Italian-speaking canton Ticino and Laurin and Alessia in Romansh-speaking canton Graubünden.

The statistical office also published the most popular names overall in Switzerland. Unsurprisingly these names are more “old-fashioned” and reflect the fact that two-thirds of Switzerland’s 8.3 million inhabitants live in German-speaking regions: there were 62,129 Daniels in the country last year, ahead of Peter, Hans, Thomas and Christian.

Among the women, there were 86,978 Marias – more than double the runners-up Anna, Ruth, Ursula and Elisabeth.

Influences

What’s in a name? According to the authors of the 2015 list, “a name is never a coincidence”.

“The choice of parents is based on their cultural and social surroundings. Behind every first name lies a meaning and every generation leaves its mark on the names chosen,” they wrote.

Quite what these cultural and social influences were, they didn’t say, but swissinfo.ch noticed that these don’t include the seven-person Swiss cabinet (Alain, Didier, Doris, Johann, Ueli, Simonetta and Guy), figures from the world of sport with the most Twitter followers (Roger, Stan, Martina, Xherdan and er, Sepp) or the stars of the most successful film in Swiss cinemas in 2014 (Kevin, Stuart and Bob) – although given that they are Minions, perhaps it’s for the best… 

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