Top 100 Latvian names of the past 100 years

06.06.2017

What do Sofija, Emīlija, Marta, Alise, Katrīna and Elza have in common? All these girl names were popular in Latvia during the interwar period and have once again become trendy in the 21st century.

Parents make very individual and personal decisions on the name of their child, however, Top 100 names show some common trends. As the 100th anniversary of Latvia approaches, the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSB), by using the data of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA), has carried out research on the most popular names since 1918. The interactive tool – Top 100 Latvian names of the past 100 years (that may be accessed at http://vardi.csb.gov.lv) – is a CSB and OCMA present to Latvia on its 100th anniversary.

During the past 100 years, the first rank of the baby boy name Top has been taken by three names: Jānis, Daniels and Roberts. Jānis has been the most popular for the longest period – taking the first rank from 1918 to 2000; around the year 2005 it lost its rank to the name Daniels, while Roberts has been the most popular baby boy name for the last 10 years. Roberts was popular also during the first period of Latvia’s independence, especially in Vidzeme region. Although its popularity experienced a slight drop as years passed by, it has never left the Top 100.

Jānis and Roberts are not the only survivors of the Top. Pēteris, Aleksandrs, Andrejs, Vladimirs, Kārlis, Eduards, Artūrs, Ēriks, Edgars, Māriņš, Vladislavs and Aleksejs have had ranks in the Top since 1918 as well.

Though, special attention must be given to the names Jānis, Aleksandrs and Andrejs, which have managed to have ranks in the Top 100 during all periods and in all regions.

It is quite interesting that certain names, e.g. Arvīds, Jāzeps and Arnolds, which were favoured among parents during the time from 1918 to 1940, have lost their popularity and have lost their ranks in the Top until now, whereas the name Kārlis, which was just as widespread and had a similar downturn, has currently taken up the fifth rank on the Top.

Popularity of the baby boy names Arvīds, Jāzeps, Arnolds and Kārlis over 100 years
(rank in the Top from 1 to 100)

The first rank of the Top shows a greater variety when it comes to the baby girl names over the past 100 years; the leading position has been taken by ten names – Anna, Dzintra, Valentīna, Tatjana, Svetlana, Jeļena, Kristīne, Laura, Anastastija and Sofija.

Up until the end of World War II (from 1918 to mid-1940s), the most popular girl name in Latvia was Anna. The name Anna has also been among the top five names since 1990.

At the end of 1940s, the most popular girl name in Latvia was Dzintra, however, it was popular for a very short period – it left the top around the year 1970 and has not managed to come back yet. Around the year 1950, the first rank of the girl name Top was taken up by Valentīna.

During the time from mid-1950s to 1975, the first rank of the top was taken by Tatjana, Svetlana and Jeļena, in that order. The popularity of these names was mainly facilitated by the people immigrating from other USSR republics, as in Vidzeme region, where the share of immigrants was lower than in other regions, Anita, Inese and Inga were the most popular names during this period.

Over the next 10 years (from 1980 to 1990), the most popular girl name in Latvia was Kristīne, whereas since 1995 the first rank was taken over by Laura, Anastasija and Sofija, in that order.

Many of the girl names having their peak popularity currently, e.g. Sofija, Emīlija, Marta, Alise, Katrīna and Elza, were very common also several generations ago – during the first independence. Although names Milda, Alma, Tekla, Zelma and Herta were just as widespread during 1920s and 1930s, they lost their popularity around 1935–1940 and have not managed to regain it so far.

In turn, the names which could be found in the Top 10 around 1930–1935 (Velta, Dzidra, Mirdza, Biruta, Ausma and Aina) dropped out of the Top 100 from 1955 to 1965 and have not came back until now.

Popularity of the baby girl names Milda, Velta and Emīlija over 100 years
(rank in the Top from 1 to 100)

 

Anyone may check the popularity of his/her name in Latvia over a period of 100 years at http://vardi.csb.gov.lv. If a name is not in the Top, none of the regions in Latvia has it among the hundred most popular since 1918.

Anyone who has a story behind the popularity of a name is welcome to send it to us on Facebook, draugiem.lv or Twitter by using the hashtags #100vardi and #LV100 or by writing to vardi [at] csb [dot] gov [dot] lv.

 

 

 

Media requests:
Gundega Kuzmina
Deputy Director
Information, Publishing and Printing Department
media [at] csb [dot] gov [dot] lv
Phone: +371 67366933, +371 27880666
www.twitter.com/CSB_Latvia
www.facebook.com/csplatvija