When it comes to popular baby names, Emma and Liam are leading the way

The Celts and the Bible seem to inspire the names of British Columbia’s baby boys, but little girls are everything nice and culturally spliced.

The British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency, in its annual report for 2011, revealed the most popular names for boys and girls for that year.

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For boys, the Celtic name Liam took No. 1, followed by Ethan (Hebrew), Mason (English), Lucas (Scandinavian), and Benjamin (Hebrew).

For girls, the most popular baby name in 2011 was Emma (Anglo/ German), followed by Olivia (English), Sophia (Greek), Ava (English, Persian or German), and Chloe (Greek).

Shirley Broback, producer of the Vancouver Island Baby Fair and host of the Real Parenting radio show on CFAX, said she was interested to see the continuing popularity of names like Emma and Liam.

“The names are all really classic names, and Olivia has been popular for quite a few years now,” said Broback, who wondered when the name Justin for boys, or Taylor, for both boys and girls, would leap up in popularity, driven by celebrities such as singers Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, and actor Taylor Lautner.

Victoria doula Melissa Harris of Glowing Touch Doula Services said in her experience, naming of a new baby can take anywhere from minutes to weeks.

Harris said parents will often turn to family names or grandparents’ names, especially for middle names, to keep their family history alive.

“They are looking for something unique, and grandparents’ names, or mothers’ maiden names turned into first names, are a really good way of honouring a family’s traditional values while also finding something unique,” she said.

B.C. Vital Statistics reported 43,991 births in 2011, up from 2010, when there were 43,670.

Birth numbers are ahead of death totals: B.C. Vital Statistics reported 31,776 deaths in 2011, up from 31,151 in 2010.

Life expectancy also increased to 82 years between 2007 and 2011, up from 81.7 in 2006-10. The oldest person to die in 2011 was 112.

rwatts@timescolonist.com

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