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Harper is a hit for newborns in NSW

Issued: Sunday, 16 April 2017

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In NSW, it’s hip to be Harper according to the Top 100 girls’ baby names list for 2016 released today by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM).

Attorney General Mark Speakman said, “Harper cracked the top 20 girls’ names for the first time last year, ranking 19 after not reaching the top 100 at the beginning of this decade.”

“The death of legendary author Harper Lee last year propelled the name into popular culture, with celebrities like Victoria and David Beckham, Dave Grohl and Lisa Marie Presley choosing the name for their daughters.”

Mr Speakman said Harper was regarded as a boy’s name in the 1800s. “The To Kill A Mockingbird author was born Nelle Harper Lee, but published her ground-breaking novel under her middle name in 1960, propelling Harper into the mainstream for girls.”

“Harper’s Atticus Finch was a lawyer driven by fairness and ethics who made an impression on me and who remains a fine example to lawyers to this day,” Mr Speakman said.

New 2016 top 20 entrants for boys are old-school classics Leo, Henry and Max. Evelyn made a comeback for girls, hitting number 18. Names that dropped out include Charlie and Cooper for boys, and Scarlett and Matilda for girls. Olivia and Oliver have taken out the number one spots for the second time in three years.

BDM Registrar Amanda Ianna said Blacktown is the top baby hotspot in NSW for the fourth year running, with 840 newborns in 2016. “Baulkham Hills put on a growth spurt of nearly 18 per cent, pushing out Randwick to join the top 10 for the first time,” Ms Ianna said.

Orange and Dubbo still lead the way for regional NSW finishing in fifth and sixth place.

Birth rates in NSW have fallen by five per cent in the last 10 years, down from 94,899 to 90,204 in 2016.

To view the Top 100 baby names, locations and other statistics go to: www.bdm.nsw.gov.au​