The Italian Almanac

what's my name?

Italian News - August 5

Mums and dads prefer to call their new baby boys Francesco and their girls Giulia. Other popular boys’ names include Alessandro, Andrea or Matteo, and Martina, Chiara or Sara for girls. The names are the ones parents choose most frequently for their children, with surprising uniformity throughout Italy.

The results are revealed in a survey for 2004 by ISTAT, the national statistics institute, on the birth rate and fertility of Italy’s residents. Other top ten names for boys are Lorenzo, Luca, Mattia, Simone, Davide and Marco and Alessia, Francesca, Sofia, Giorgia, Elisa and Alice for girls.

More traditional names seem to be losing their appeal. Vincenzo, Nicola and Stefano for boys, and Maria, Emma and Laura for girls, have slumped to thirtieth, twenty-ninth and twenty-eighth places respectively. Over the whole of Italy, the most popular names for the 284,311 boys and 269,459 girls registered in 2004 are Francesco and Giulia.

Although boys were given about 30,000 different names, including compounds, and girls received the same number, the distribution shows a strong concentration on the first thirty on the list, which account for more than half of all boys’ names and forty-five per cent of those given to girls.

Choices are to some extent guided by culture, religion (saints’ names) and traditions strongly rooted in specific areas, explains the report, but what emerges from the analysis is a very high concentration unconnected with individual territories.