There's one baby name that overtakes all the others when you look at a worldwide list of common names—and it's probably not what you would expect.

By Zara Husaini Hanawalt
November 18, 2018
baby girl

It seems like the options for baby names are endless—there are traditional monikers as well as the names celebrities create. There are long names, short names, dramatic names, and simple names. There are even "hipster" baby names.

But no matter how many options we have at our disposal, there's one moniker that's a mainstay around the globe. Sofia is the most common name for girls in a whopping nine countries including Mexico, Russia, Chile, Estonia, and Slovakia. The name—and its variants—also appears in the top 25 most common names in two-thirds of all countries that report baby name statistics.

Laura Wattenberg conducted research by collecting baby names from 49 countries. "The dominance of this one name is stunning," she said.

It's not surprising that Sofia ranks so high in terms of popularity. After all, everyone from classic Hollywood icons like Sophia Loren to Sofia Vergara, the Colombian-born bombshell, bear some version of the name. In addition to the fact that it's just a beautiful, classic option, it's also incredibly versatile. Keep in mind that 'Sofia' takes on slightly different forms in various parts of the word: 'Sofie' is popular in Norway while 'Zsófia' reigns in Hungary. The name also transcends religious barriers; it's a popular choice for Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Sunni Muslims, Presbyterians and more.

What is especially surprising about all this is the research might not even completely take into account the name's full influence. Not all countries report baby name statistics and some only report their top five or 10 names. This means that countries that appear as 'unranked' in Wattenberg's research aren't entirely accounted for—and considering Greece, the homeland of the name Sophia, is listed as 'unranked,' it's pretty likely that the name is even more ubiquitous than the findings suggest.

There are several factors at work in making Sofia such an attractive choice for so many people, including the intangibles: The name is recognizable, yet not so traditional that it seems stale. Time will tell if the name holds on to its massive popularity, but for now we can pretty much say this: Sofia is the baby name heard around the world.

If you like Sophia, but want to avoid your baby being the 15th Sophia in her class, why not try one of these gorgeous alternatives ending in 'a':

  • Gabriella
  • Estella
  • Ava
  • Isabella
  • Olivia
  • Julia
  • Emma
  • Erica
  • Stella