Switzerland explained For Members

REVEALED: The most popular names for babies in Switzerland

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 24 Aug, 2022 Updated Wed 24 Aug 2022 10:20 CEST
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Noah or Mia? If born on 2021,it could be either. Image by Samuel Lee from Pixabay

Your knowledge of Swiss population may not be complete unless you are familiar with the most common surnames and most popular baby names in the country today (hint: no, it is not Heidi).

There is nothing original, or new, about the names that parents in Switzerland give their newborns. So if you expect to hear names like Sky, Moon, or Star, you won’t, and there is a reason for that.

In Switzerland, parents can’t give their children a name so unique that it could, later in life be judged to potentially damage the child’s well-being. There are, therefore, rules about which names are acceptable and which aren’t.

In considering this, Swiss authorities will look at whether “the child will be exposed to ridicule because of its name”.

Although this appears incredibly difficult to define — not to mention subjective — there are several actual examples which have been rejected by civil registry officials for breaching the well-being rule. 

They include ‘Grandma’, ‘Rose Heart’, ‘Prince Valiant’ and ‘Puhbert’. 

Not surprisingly, Judas, Satan, Cain and Lucifer are also banned. You can fead more about the rules in the link below.

EXPLAINED: Why so many baby names are banned in Switzerland

Now that we know what not to name a child, which names were most popular in 2021?

The answer comes from the new survey that the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) published on Tuesday.

In 2021, Noah, Liam and Matteo were the most common names given to newborn boys. For the girls, the parents favoured Mia, Emma and Elena.

There is nothing revolutionary about these names: they have been topping the popularity charts off and on since 2010.

Overall, if looked at according to linguistic regions, other names prevail.

In the German-speaking part of Switzerland, most boys are names Peter, Daniel and Thomas, and Maria, Anna and Ursula for girls.

In the French part, most males are named Jean, Daniel and David, and the majority of girls, Maria, Marie and Anne.

Marco, Luca and Andrea are most common boys’ names in the Italian-speaking region, and most girls are named Maria, Anna and Sara.

And although only 1 percent of Switzerland’s population still speaks Romansh, the dominant names in Graubünden (where Romansh speakers live) are Gian, Martin, and Christian for boys and Maria, Anna, and Claudia for girls.

READ MORE: 18 interesting facts about Romansh, Switzerland’s fourth official language

What about foreign nationals?

Switzerland has a sizeable immigrant population, and these groups tend to give their children names reminiscent of their origin.

These are the most popular names for various nationalities living in Switzerland, FSO found:

Italy: Giuseppe, Antonio and Francesco for boys; Maria, Anna, and Francesca for girls.

Germany: Michael, Thomas and Andreas for boys; Julia, Claudia, Anna for girls.

France: Nicolas, Alexandre, Julien; Marie, Sophie, Nathalie.

Portugal: José. Carlos, Manuel; Maria, Ana, Sandra.

Spain: José, Juan, Jose; Maria, Ana, Laura.

Kosovo: Arben, Valon, Bekim; Fatime, Shqipe, Merita.

Serbia: Aleksandar, Dragan, Nikola; Jelena, Maria, Danijela.

Turkey: Mehmet, Ali, Mustafa; Fatma, Ayse, Elif.

What about surnames?

Müller is the most common surname among the permanent resident population. Meier and Schmid are in the second and third place, respectively.

These three surnames dominate not only in the German-speaking part, but also nationally.

In the French-speaking regions, da Silva (which is more Portuguese than French) is most common.

In Ticino, Bernasconi is the most widespread name, while Derungs prevails in the Romansh region.

 

 

 

 

 

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/08/24 10:20

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