ISTAT have provided the list of the most popular Italian baby names in 2021. Whilst there are regional differences, the most popular names remain largely unchanged from previous years.
The Italian birth rate may be dropping, but the most popular names given to newborns in 2021 remain more or less the same. Sofia and Leonardo top the list according to Italian statistics agency Istat.
Sofia has been the most popular girls’ name in Italy since 2010, Istat said. In 2021, a total of 5,578 babies were given the name, or just under 3% of baby girls. The second most popular choice was Aurora, which rose from third place in 2020. Following were Giulia and Ginevra.
For boys, Leonardo has also been top of the list for a while, in this case since 2018. It was the favourite by some distance in 2021, with 8,448 baby boys, or around 4% of boys born in the country.
The second most popular choice for boys was Alessandro, followed by Tommaso and Francesco, all of which were given to just under 5,000 babies each.
Classic boys’ names tend to dominate in Italy. Many families traditionally name baby boys after their paternal grandfather or another male relative. Similarly, girls are often named after their paternal grandmothers. However, some modern names are making it onto the list nowadays.
Top Ten Italian Baby Names
Altogether, more than 26,000 boys’ names and 25,000 girls’ names are in the Istat database dating back to 1999. However, the top 30 this year accounted for around 44% of all names given to boys and almost 38% for girls.
Regional differences in Italian baby names
There is a pretty clear north-south divide in name choices. Sofia was most popular in all the northern and central-northern regions. Meanwhile parents in most of the south and centre chose Giulia or Aurora.
Leonardo topped the charts across all regions in the north and centre. The exception was the province of Bolzano, where Noah took the top spot. Puglia and Calabria in the south preferred Francesco.
Non-Italian parents living in Italy
Among non-Italian parents living in Italy, the most popular names differed. Whilst many adopted typically Italian names such as Leonardo, Matteo, Luca, and Alessandro, they also reflected the parents’ own nationality.
For example, Leonardo and Sofia were especially popular with Romanian-born parents, as well as David, Gabriel, Sofia Maria, Eva Maria, Noemi or Melissa.
Most of the Moroccan boys were named Adam, Amir, Rayan, Youssef and Jad, with girls’ names being Amira, Jannat, Nour, Sara and Lina.
The full list of baby names on the Istat website.