There’s just one girls’ name that has been loved by Australian parents for generations. It’s the only name that was in the top 100 in the 1950s and has remained there since. It was as popular as Cheryl and Robyn in the 1950s, as Danielle and Megan in the 1970s, as Maddison and Taylor in the 1990s, and it’s as popular as Piper and Luna now.
The name? Elizabeth. Bow down to the queen of names.
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To be accurate, Elizabeth has been popular for centuries. A Biblical name, it was used in England in the Middle Ages, and then really took off when the fabulous Elizabeth I started her reign in the 16th century. After that, Elizabeth, Mary and Ann were the big three names for girls for the next few hundred years. (Obviously, that was before naming trends were really a thing.)
Parents got bored with Mary and Ann decades ago. But not Elizabeth.
However, the name was significantly less popular in South Australia (95th spot), where Elizabeth is a northern suburb of Adelaide. (Calling an Adelaide baby Elizabeth would be roughly equivalent to calling a Sydney baby Rooty Hill.)
So why is Elizabeth still so popular in Australia? Is it something to do with our respect for the current Queen, Elizabeth II, who has managed to reign over us for 67 years without once being photographed sucking someone’s toes or turning up to a fancy dress party in Nazi uniform? Or is it something to do with all the other great Elizabeths out there, from netballer Liz Ellis to US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, from Pride And Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet to Hilary Duff’s character Lizzie McGuire?
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In the US, Elizabeth is even more popular than in Australia. Names expert Cleveland Kent Evans tells Mamamia that Elizabeth has been among the US’s top 30 names since 1900. He thinks one of the reasons is that the name has so many pet forms.