Muhammad is the top name for baby boys in the English regions of London and the West Midlands in 2016, and was the top scoring across the whole of England and Wales in the year when slight variations in spelling are taken into account.The annual release of the most popular names for baby boys and girls by the Office for National Statistics also reveals that Muhammed has pushed traditionally popular boy’s name William out of the top 10 in the past recorded year.
Whilst the statistics showed the most popular name for boys and girls were Oliver and Olivia respectively, the decision by the Office to list slight changes to the spelling of Muhammed as completely different names masked the fact that the popular Muslim name was actually in first place, and not in eighth as reported.
The variations in the name such as Muhammad, Mohammed, and Mohammad may come from the imprecise nature of transliterating Arabic names into English. Muhammed and other similar spellings of the name of the Islamic prophet, which is often given to Muslim boys in honour of the religious figure, have taken the top spot in England and Wales every year since 2011.
In all, there were 7,084 Muhammad, Mohammad, and Mohammed boys born in 2016 — ahead of the official first place boy’s name Oliver, which saw 6,623 boys in 2016.
Breitbart London has reported over the course of this decade on the steady climb of the name. The 2015 figures showed Muhammed at 12th, but hitting first place when combined with the other similar spellings. The 2014 figures had it at 14th, and 2013 at 15th.
Whilst the changes in demographics and attitudes across England and Wales that are driving these changes are clear from the statistics, they are even more apparent in certain areas. In heavily multicultural regions like London and the West Midlands, Muhammed is the most popular boy’s name even without other spellings being taken into account.
London has been minority white British at least since the last census in 2011, and Birmingham — the defacto capital of the West Midlands region — has been predicted to become minority white British by the end of this decade. The Coventry Telegraph reportsMuhammad first surged to most popular in the area in 2015 and alternative spelling Mohammed is only fractionally behind at fifth place.
Earlier statistics released by the ONS in 2017 showed that up to 98 per cent of population growth in English cities over the past decade has been down to immigration. At the same time, separate figures showed that mothers born abroad now account for 28.2 per cent of births in England and Wales.