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‘Muhammad’ Surpasses ‘William’ In England’s List of Most Popular Baby Names

Muhammad cracked the top 10 list of the most popular baby names in England and Wales, surpassing William, James, Daniel, and other historically common names in the country, according to data from the U.K.’s national statistics agency.

Baby names can give a glimpse of pop culture influences and the changing demographics of a nation. In this case, it shows diversity within the 696,271 live births in England and Wales last year. The name has moved from 43rd to 8th in one decade.

Over the years, some reports have argued that if you were to look at all the different spellings of Muhammad than it would actually be the most popular name. And that’s true; There are numerous spellings of Muhammad, including “Mohammed” and “Mohammad,” in the top 100 list.

Still, that doesn’t take into account spelling variations of other Anglo names—for instance the variant spellings of Kristin, Kristen, and Krysten or Erik and Eric—that would offer up a true comparison.

At any rate, the result runs the risk of being twisted to spark Islamophobia or anti-Muslim sentiment.

Here’s what England’s Office of National Statistics can tell us: Muhammad (that specific spelling, which is the most common) is now firmly in the top 10 category—and it’s on the rise. Just check out the graph below showing three spelling variants of the name.

Screenshot from Office of Statistics
Screenshot from Office for National Statistics

The most popular boys’ name in England remains Oliver, followed by Harry, George, Jack, and Jacob. Olivia is the most popular girls’ name in England.