Not a single child born in the U.K. in 2016 was named Nigel

When he heard that no babies born in Britain in 2016 were named Nigel, Nigel Smith began to fret that the people with whom he shared a first name were a “dying breed.”

“I thought that’s a bit of a worry, really, because most of us are over a certain age,” Smith told As It Happens host Carol Off.

Instead of going into mourning, however, he decided to have some fun with it. He owns the Fleece Inn, near Worcestershire, so he organized “Nigel Night” at the pub.

“We’re going to die out soon, so it’s important to sort of celebrate our Nigel-ness before we all pop off the planet.”

Smith says 434 Nigels — including himself — joined in the festivities on Saturday to enjoy some music, food and celebrating their mutual “Nigel-ness.”

It’s believed to be the biggest gathering of Nigels in the world — though it’s unclear who’s keeping track of this unusual statistic…

All attending Nigels, ranging in age from seven months to 80 years old, were verified with an ID check, and handed a badge with their name on it. Other attendees were issued badges that read “Not Nigel” on them.

According to the U.K. Office for National Statistics, no boys born in 2016 were named Nigel. The name enjoyed a slight uptick with 11 new Nigels in 2017, and eight in 2018.

That number pales in comparison to the most popular name, Oliver, which saw 5,390 new additions in 2018. Other top boys’ names over the last decade included George, Harry, Noah and Jack.


Smith didn’t rule out the possibility that Farage’s role in the 2016 Brexit referendum may have even played a part in the dearth of newborn Nigels that year.

“Despite the man, we are fighting back.”

Here is the link, via Michelle Dawson.


As far as who's replacing the Nigels, the most popular baby boy's name in London is Muhammad. Lots of boxing fans in that city, it seems.

But in the UK, which just happens to be much larger than London (or the Outer Hebrides, for that matter, where the most common boy's name was apparently Calum in 2014), the most common male name remains Oliver - and in typical British humor fashion, the most common female name is Olivia.

And you do realize that the name list are generally compiled from births, not simply from births to citizens, right? As noted in the link below - ' name statistics are compiled from first names recorded when live births are registered in England and Wales as part of civil registration, a legal requirement.' Basically, all EU citizens are civilly registered, for example, meaning that a Polish or German citizen naming their child with a typically Polish or German first name is included in the statistics.

And hard as it might be to imagine, not everywhere else in the UK prefers Oliver, as Harry was the winner in the North East.

Not sure why it would matter whether the proud parents are citizens or not, unless the head Nigel deigns to Send Them Back™. I'm afraid we have the same issue across the pond, it seems. In the West, everyone's a citizen, even if you don't have the proper paperwork or live here (yet).

Aside from that, perhaps one should look at the fertility rate for Olivias versus the rate for whatever the feminine of Muhammad is?

'whether the proud parents are citizens or not'

Maybe because under 15% of the residents of the UK may not actually be citizens, though this information does not make a clear distinction (very few EU citizens would have become British citizens in the past, and virtually none would now, but non-EU is harder to know) - 'The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate that in 2017, just under 9.4 million people living in the UK were born abroad, (14.3% of the total population of the UK). Of these, 3.7 million were from countries now in the European Union and just under 5.7 million were from non-EU countries.'

Luckily, the ONS has cleared this up a bit - '"In 2017, around 1 in 10 of the population of the UK had non-British nationality (6.2 million) – again, this has been steadily increasing year-on-year and the majority (61%) of these held EU nationality (3.8 million)."'

Obviously, births to non-citizens are unlikely to map 1 to 1 to UK births, but that is probably a bit more accurate than thinking London births are fully representative regarding UK - or Outer Hebrides, for that matter - births.

'In the West, everyone's a citizen'

Not even close. Merely being born in the UK grants precisely zero right to UK citizenship. Basically, it is mainly countries in the New World that still practice jus soli. You are welcome to read more here -

'for whatever the feminine of Muhammad is'

Always fascinating to see how little people know, but Maryam likely comes closest. Maryam as in Mary, that is, the mother of Isa, a figure that Islam holds in high regard (though not as the Son of God, but simply as a prophet, which is still a step up in religious respect from how the other people of the Book look at Jesus). Again, you are welcome to read here -

Maybe we can ask native Londoners whether they take solace in the fact that the Muhammeds living around them are non-citizens.

After a rejecting Brexit, we already know that the majority of Londoners have no problems with non-citizens living around them. Or electing a mayor who is a Muslim for that matter, whose parents were immigrants.

But what is really amusing is thinking that a Malaysian, a Pakistani, and an Egyptian named Muhammed share more than a Pole, a German, and a Spaniard named Thomas. That is, members of both groups have different languages and different histories, even if one can assume that members of each group share the share basic religious faith, at least historically.

Though upon reflection, the first group does share a bit more history than the second group - all three were former colonies of the British Empire. Strange how easy that is to overlook when talking about London, the former capital of a global empire once known for not having the sun set on it.

I'm positive Londoners don't have a problem with either, whether the native ones do is a different matter.

The maps showing voting results for both the Brexit referendum and the last mayoral election (both of which were open to British nationals, distinct from British citizens) suggest that the white British (i.e., the British), which only comprise about 45% of the population of London, preferred both Leave and non-Khan mayoral candidates.

Of course I had Brexit and mayoral candidates less in mind than, for example, the appearance of no-go zones, or the fact that the crime rate is back on the uptick, or if you want to cut to the chase, the increasing frequency of terror attacks, harkening back to the bad old days of the Troubles.

But as you imply I suppose these are Britain's just deserts for establishing and maintaining an empire over many of the nations whose residents now occupy the imperial capital. Perhaps at some point in the future they will determine collectively that they have made things even Steven (or Stephen) and return to their homelands.

I'm fairly positive the distinction between someone whose family has lived in a community for centuries and someone who just showed up, or whose parents just showed up, recently has already been explained to you.

I suspect you know this, if you don't understand it without prompting, and are just engaging in obfuscation to avoid acknowledging the point that white Brits (and yes, there were not many Jamaican or Pakistani British for the vast majority of its existence, including the period when it developed from a Roman backwater colony into a global empire) might have more of a stake in the future of Great Britain than the economic immigrants living in London.

As to the no-go zones, I suppose the reporting of the local newspapers on Muslim patrols who harass native Londoners don't count. Or for that matter, their exposes on the inability of the Metropolitan Police to effectively investigate crimes in London and the "institutional racism" that limits that to certain areas. Not to mention the grooming scandals. But they do deny the existence of no-go zones and if the media in the age of Orange Man has taught me anything it's that they can be trusted to tell it like it is.

The plague of Mohammeds is regrettable, but the Nigel shortage isn’t so bad. Think of all the boys who can now go through their lives without new acquaintances assuming they are queer just because they bear the name ‘Nigel’.

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It's also #1 in Berlin. The media there similarly knows how politically unpopular the underlying demographic changes are, so it engages in a lot of obfuscatory discussion of "context."

'It's also #1 in Berlin.'

So what?

Who knows, maybe Adolf will make a return among the people most concerned about those underlying demographic changes. Particularly as that name recalls an era when Germans in Berlin were growing concerned that people with certain names were no longer acceptable to das Volk.

Let us be honest - Germany has an extremely ugly history, and that genocide is not exactly something unknown here, based on names among other things. Welcome to some real context, without any obfuscatory discussion of the intentional mass murder of millions.

Let us be honest - Germany has earnestly faced and renounced that ugly history over the last 74 years.
Meanwhile, Islam has an extremely ugly present-day effort to revive the worst of its medieval past, a modern-day indulgence in genocide, ethnic cleansing, and conversion by the sword.
It is staffed by thousands of young jihadis, funded by wealthy gulf states, and defended by millions of apologists whose lack of contrition could not contrast more strongly with the attitude of postwar Germans.

'Islam has an extremely ugly present-day effort to revive the worst of its medieval past'

The Wahabis are anything but recent. Neither is American support of the House of Saud. Admittedly (much like in the case of Germany), no one really expected the Iranians to go back to Khomeini's version of a medieval past.

'a modern-day indulgence in genocide'

I'm not sure that Hussien's attempts to wipe out Kurds and marsh Arabs can be placed at Islam's feet, along with the wars and death in Libya or Syria, to name several prominent examples of major conflict.

'It is staffed by thousands of young jihadis'

Thousands? I'm trembling - why, the Russians employ more to further their geo-strategic goals right now, and they seem to be even more successful in reclaiming land they consider historically theirs.

'funded by wealthy gulf states'

You are aware how funds those wealthy gulf states, right? Apologists for anyone who buys or profits from the oil and natural gas exported by those wealthy gulf states are much easier to find than apologists for Islam, after all.

'and defended by millions of apologists whose lack of contrition'

When the Salafis kill millions of their fellow citizens in Germany, let us know.

It is an interesting question though - does Christianity or Islam have more apologists when it comes to conflicts based on religion? After all, a significant amount of the apparent basis for the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia was due to the long running conflict between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, without even talking about Islam at all.

That there are bad actors and evil figures in Islam is beyond any dispute, of course.

You forgot about the Crusades, that was definitely A Bad Thing that Christians Did™. Many of them were Germans too! Sort of. Either way it's definitely a justification for national self-immolation.

I'm just adding some context to an obfuscatory discussion, my friend. Germany has an ugly history, like the Crusades, or that other time when some people did something. It's why noticing that Muhammad is one of the most common names there is... uh, either verboten or haram, I guess it depends on the context.

The massive funding of the export of Wahabbi thought is a recent thing- about 40 years old. No muslim country in the last century has brought together the combination of murderousness, state-support, and closure of escape routes that was present in Europe in the forties. But murderousness abounds today- it is only in muslim countries where popular majorities approve of what happened in the forties, and state-sponsored education and media approve as well. The Copts have had their Krystalnacht and they sleep with one eye open knowing what their neighbors will do if the government decides it is useful to look the other way. This is about today and tomorrow, not 74 years ago.

Soon only very old people with think of the "30s" as the 1930s. 21st century Germany has every right to try to not become the Islamic Republic of Germany, though barren Merkel has made it a strong possibility.

Of course if we look at the actual numbers something curios might be said.

In 2018 there were 5,390 boys born named Oliver.
In 2018 there were 3,507 boys born named Muhammad.
In 2018 there were 1,846 boys born named Mohammed.
In 2018 there were 880 boys born named Mohammad.
In 2018 there were 382 boys born named Muhammed.
In 2018 there were 285 boys born named Mohamed.
In 2018 there were 33 boys born named Mohamad.
In 2018 there were 10 boys born named Muhamad.
In 2018 there were 7 boys born named Mohammod.

In 2018 there were at least 6950 boys born named محمد with varying transliterations thereof.
In 2018 there were at least 6376 boys born named Oliver or obvious derivations thereof.

At the end of the day the "praised, commendable, laudable" one is indeed in top slot while the "elf warrior" has fallen to second.

Regardless of if this matters, let's not hide from facts by obscuring the intent of parents in the naming.

I've thought it odd that at least in Mexico, the only other culture I'm a little bit familiar with, babies named Jesus are not uncommon, while I would have been astonished to meet a boy named Jesus, growing up.

Yes, I do realize Mohammed and Jesus are in no way analogous. Just musing off-topic.

I've also thought it was strange that Paul was not more popular - at least it seems less so than John or James or even Adam. I vaguely recall Fischer touched on this.

Jesus is a quite common name in the Spanish speaking world but very unusual in other Christian countries. Probably some unspoken taboo among Christians (except those Spanish speaking) of naming your children after qhom you believe is the son of God

I once heard a Latino comedian riding about how Jesus was actually Hispanic, because no one else would have given Him that name.

Should be "riffing," dammit, not riding.


Kinda funny given that classical Arabic lacks vowels and transliterations into Urdu, Malay or the like would still be exactly what I called them. Almost like I did not include diacratics intentionally.

At the end of the day the name is being given by a certain demographic for reasons, that whenever I've asked, has been in part to "Honor the prophet."

Let's not play games if I yell "Hey Mohamad", I suspect all 6950 would look in Engand and Wales 15 years hence.

There is nothing wrong with saying we want a multicultural society and find Islam to be part of the rich tapestry of the new Britain. But making silly pleading that all these variants are not all referring to the same name and historical figure is kind of silly.

After all, how many people believe that Stephen and Steven are deeply different names or that people called one will not understand it to refer to them if they are formally named the other.

Yes, the rise of names tells us something about demographics. Britain is become a more Islamic society. Maybe you are cool with all that, but it is silliness to have a discussion about "replacing" and hang your hat on "Oliver" being the most common.

Muhamod, however transliterated, is the most popular boys name and appears to be becoming or more popular. In a very real sense "Nigels" are being displaced by Mohammed.

Similar things are happening the US with regards to Hispanic names becoming vastly more popular and it certainly as the case that ethnic names have all had their day in the sun due to immigration. The question is can modern society replicate the assimilation powers of the early 20th century? Will Mohammed join the ranks of John, Jean, Ieuan, Ian, and Sean or will he continue to reside within a poorly assimilated enclave with habits and customs that are at odds with the electoral wishes of large parts of the population?

"What 'we'? Neither you nor I are British citizens (well, definitely not in my case, though who knows, maybe you are a British citizen in the U.S.) However, it was the British citizens of London that elected a mayor who belongs to that 'certain demographic.' Well, the Pakistani segment of it, that is. Pretty sure that no UK citizen with Malaysian or Egyptian roots considers him to be a Malaysian or Egyptian."

Demographics includes many things, notably religion. The British are quite used to there being the Irish (both Protestant and Catholic) and the Presbyterians (both Irish and Scottish). Knowing that someone is Free Church of Scotland Continuing or Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster tells us much more for many things than if they are Irish or Scottish.

Is religion the major fault line among Islamic immigrants? Certainly the Muslim Council of Britain suggests that they believe it to be such. Certainly formal Islamic doctraine suggests it to be such.

If we are going to look at naming popularity as signifying anything, then we should consider Mohamad to be the most popular male name in England and Wales. Certainly there is likely more cultural affinity between Mohammed and Muhammad than Oliver and Ollie. I find it quite silly to hang your hat on the orthography rather than typical useage.

Yes of course I looked at the stastics and if my excel formula are correct there is no first name more common. For trivial questions separate orthographies make sense. For making sense of what these trend indicates, even if that is nothing, it is more correct to say that Mahammet is the most common name in England and Wales.

Why I personally care is that I have family members who are official apostates; last poll I saw suggested that about one third of British Muslims believe the appropriate response would be to kill people I hold dear. That is a terrifying number.

"Is there are reason you are confusing the UK and the U.S.? Because the mayor of London reflects the electoral wishes of large parts of the population of that city. And we are talking about UK names, not American ones."
Those are all British names. English, French (Norman/Huguenot), Welsh, Scottish and Irish for יוֹחָנָן respectively. All of those are ethnicities that immigrated into the English cities and became part of the British melting pot with particularly heavy immigration in the Victorian era.

Ultimately, I enjoy Britain and would be quite happy visiting with my family. I also enjoyed Lebanon, but I would not take my family there as too many folks there might want to kill them. Certainly I would not take my family to Pakistan where a number of them might be murdered in the streets to popular acclaim for having blasphemed the prophet.

So my question is will British Pakistani Muslims end up more like generic Brits or will they make Britain more like Pakistan? The latter is one of those sad things that most of my Pakistani contacts would also find regrettable.

Again, I have no idea if name incidence is all that important as a signifier for future outcomes, but let's be honest. Muhammad is the most popular name and it is so for religious reasons.

Well that’s more subtle than saying “those gosh dern Muhammedans are invading because of the EU and George Soros!!!!!”

I bet not many Tylers from your age cohort, Dr. Cowen. A name well ahead of its time.

I can testify from experience that there is one effect, occasionally a slightly advantageous one, of being born with a name that would become significantly more common a generation later. People have a fairly good sense for which names were popular when, and this can affect their judgment of how old someone is. If I get emails from a Brittany Smith and a Dorothea Smith, I would probably have in my mind's eye ladies of two different generations even without any other context.

Several years ago some college students who I knew were complaining about their middle names; they'd been named after grandmothers or maybe aunts and had middle names such as Florence, Ethel, maybe Gertrude, etc.

I see what you did there. Clever boy.

How are Reg and Gerald doing?

So, no one is making plans for Nigel this year?

'We're only making plans for Nigel
We only want what's best for him
We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs this helping hand
And if young Nigel says he's happy
He must be happy'

It seems a little presumptive for the author to cite a "divisive political figure" as a possible reason for the lack of Nigels born in a year when a majority of citizens voted in support of said figure's trademark cause.

(On the other hand, Donald doesn't crack the top list in the US that year either...)

Perhaps we should just come to terms with the fact that Nigel is simply a really dumb name.

I’d take any “Nigel” in the Cambridge Mass. phone book over “Beto”...

Not to mention that it does not roll off the tongue when followed by "O'Rourke". He should have gone with "de Rourke", but then it would be hard to retcon that as an old family nickname...

But while we're thumbing through the Cambridge Yellow Pages, what's your policy on "Elizabeth"?

Elizabeth stands an excellent chance of becoming our next President and I think she’s the best of a truly, historically awful lot. Sure I’d prefer the earlier Liz Warren to the current one.

Ah, apparently she’s a serial liar slash confabulist (about her past employment as a teacher: see Script, Jeryl Brier, on her past.)

I can't say if honesty is particularly valuable in a politician - people find Trump unfit because he tells ridiculous stretchers all the time - but her great untruth was such a strange one for this moment. We should all be prepared to assert by now that there is no fate anywhere on earth worse than being born nonwhite in America. And she lied to assume that very identity worse or more difficult than which there is nothing. And somehow it did not doom her, but rather placed her on a path to become a senator, and then to run for president.

It's almost like she could accuse us of lying.

There are so many things wrong with Trump. His little exaggerations and lies and the like. But his instincts are (to me) spot on. Immigration could and should be lowered; the Dems are open border maniacs; China is a problem. Am I holding Liz Warren to a higher standard? Maybe, but seriously “I’m gonna tick the Native American box every chance I get”!?

His tweeting that everyone hated has been far and away the best thing about him and occasionally gave one hope that he really might be smarter than his opposition in the two parties (i.e. the one party). If only he had stuck to tweeting. He could have trolled Biden about his son's large Ukrainian allowance every day until the election.

Time for me to look into Warren's environmental bona-fides, I guess.

Burn up all the fossil fuels in the ground or burn up the country.

What's in a name? For a time, the most popular boys names in the U.S. had one syllable (Max, Cade, Grey, Blaine, Chad, Dane, etc.) dominated in the U.S., but today (2018) the most popular boys names have two syllables (Jackson, Liam, Noah, Alden, Caden, Grayson, Lucas, Mason, etc.). I recall in times multi-syllable names were the mark of affluence (Sebastian, Montgomery, Oliver, etc.), but the one syllable name seems to be the mark of affluence today.

Will Brett be America's Nigel?

No, America's Nigel would be Nygel. or Nijeal, or possibly Nyquil.

Or perhaps Ligen. Nigel mis-spelled backwards, a la Neveah.

Conventionally unconventional "spelling" is, possibly, the least appealing strand of our vaunted individualism.

That and the performance exhausts.

A few months ago I met someone named Cordelia and said that outside of watching King Lear, I'd never met anyone named Cordelia. She said that her parents immigrated from Britain, and that it's a fairly common name there.

I understood; I told her that someone where I work is named Nigel and needless to say he's from Britain.

It is not an uncommon name in Germany either - I know two Cordelias.

I'm pretty sure that "Much Ado About Nothing" was about The Great Nigel Shortage Crisis of 1598.

I would think Nigel is still popular in Squatney...

About time someone made a Spinal Tap reference!

It would be a mighty convenience if some name were recognised as the announcement of transi-ness. So for trans men, Nigel, Clive, or Tyler.
For trans women ... what?

How about Lindsay/Lindsey? Or possibly Taylor, to stay matched with Tyler.

Luckily, in the UK, Oliver/Olivia as top first names make it simple to deal with transi-ness without much hassle at all.

"Oliver/Olivia as top first names make it simple to deal with transi-ness without much hassle at all."

Right, and the non-rhotacism helps too (I wonder how many British baby girls are named 'Oliva'?)

Not a single person in the entire United Kingdom wanted to name their kid after Farage? Surprising...

Actually, it is a surprise. considering that his party won the largest single share of votes in the last actual nationwide election held in the UK. One that was required because the British government asked to remain an EU member.

And boy, these days, is the EU regretting agreeing to that request. Johnson - or those in his circle - will have an easy time getting at least one EU member to veto another extension request.

Oddly though, apparently they aren't asking the French to kick the UK out - maybe because it must be a bit touchy giving the French the chance to tell the world 'we told you so' concerning letting the UK in the EC in the first place.

Not particularly.
"...In the over-65 category, Mr Farage’s party has 42 per cent while the Tories are on 17 per cent and Labour are on 11 per cent.
But in the 18-24 age range, the party has just 6 per cent..."

Finally someone made a reference to that song! Though this post did prompt me to look at what actually happened to the original British Steel Corporation ...

Not a single Hillary born in the USA since 2016, either. For some reason.

"Other attendees were issued badges that read “Not Nigel” on them."

OK, that's funny.

In the US, male names like Elmer and Oscar are less than rare. Evidently mothers, more consumed by fashion than fathers, do most of the child naming. How many American girls were named Monica in the decade after 1996?

I welcomed a Nigel into the world in 2016, but in the USA. Would've liked to take my boy to "Nigelfest," had I known. He would've gotten a kick out of it. Maybe next year...

As a Michael, since 2000 I have decried the decreasing prevalence of my (outstanding) name in the US, but someone that there were NO Nigels born in the UK 2016 bothers me much more.

Because the easiest way to get your kid beat up in school is to name him Nigel.

Following up on the previous thread regarding Jesus that was getting too messy, the name "Joshua" is a variation of Jesus. Christopher, Christian, and other variations refer to Jesus. So there are more than you think.

Also, variations of the name Mary among Christians long ago reached mythic proportions, far outweighing Jesus.

I didn't know that. I would have supposed people naming their baby Joshua were referring to the Joshua of the Exodus.

Actually, the spreadsheet shows Mohammed is the most popular name by a fair margin in England and Wales- it is just the the people naming their childred this have minor variations of the spelling in the western alphabet.

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