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Marie, Paul top baby names in Germany

Dagmar Breitenbach
May 2, 2019

Among the names most often given to newborn girls and boys in Germany in 2018, some, like Marie and Paul, are classic. Others, like Johanna and Henry are new on the list.

five babies
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/W. Grubitzsch

Last year's most popular baby names in Germany were Marie and Paul, followed once again by Sophie and Maria for girls and Alexander and Maximilian for boys, according to the Wiesbaden-based Society for the German Language (GfdS).

Compared to 2017, the three top girls' names on the list remain unchanged. For boys, Paul and Maximilian, which was the previous year's favorite, switched positions. 

The ranking takes into account all given names.

New in the top 10

Johanna appeared in the 2018 girls' top 10, in 10th position, as well as the name Henry for boys, in the ninth position. For boys and girls, "Henry is the first Anglophone name in the top 10 in years," says GfdS director Andrea-Eva Ewels.

The GfdS compiles the list with the help of birth registration data from 700 registry offices in Germany, which gives the society access to 90 percent of all the names parents chose for their newborns in Germany in any given year. The society has been publishing the baby name rankings since 1977.

Emma and Ben

The first-name-only ranking listed by the GfdS remains completely unchanged from 2017: Emma, Hannah and Mia for baby girls, and Ben, Paul and Leon for newborn boys.

On its website, the society points out that the names differ widely depending on where people live. Parents in eastern and northern German federal states increasingly choose old-fashioned names including Mathilda, Frieda, Ida, Greta, Leni and Lina for girls and Karl, Oskar, Anton, Jakob and Theo for boys.

The GfdS also says Charlotte and Emil are potential contenders for the top spots in the Germany-wide list in the near future — both names were among the top 10 in many of the country's 16 federal states last year.

Mohammed was a popular name across the country in 2018 and made it to the top 10 in several German states, the society says, and adds that first-name trends increasingly tend to spread from the north of the country to the south, and from east to west.

A list of the most popular baby names in other German-speaking countries shows Mia and Noah at the top of the list in Switzerland. In Austria, parents most often chose Anna and Lukas for their newborns, and in Liechtenstein, Emilia and Leo came in at the top in 2018.