Top boys' names 2009

The name Oliver nudged Jack off a 14-year-old perch to reach the top of the 2009 league table for boys' names in England and Wales, reported Britain's Office for National Statistics.

The report on baby names showed that Oliver ended Jack's reign with 7,364 entries compared to 7,090 for Jack, while Olivia was the top name for girls, followed by Ruby.

More than 10 variations on the spelling of the name Mohammad in the statistics accompanying the league tables showed the name of the Islamic prophet was more prominent in England and Wales than its first ranking spelled as Mohammed.

ONS spokesman Heath Jeffries said that the government's statistics office always spelled names on their list as they have been spelled on official documents, so each different spelling for Mohammad and any other names were listed separately.

Although Jack came second in the official list, which also included Harry, Alfie, Thomas and other traditional English names, the prominence of Mohammad could provide a field day for a small but vocal community of anti-Muslim propagandists.

Mohammed rose to 16th place from being 29th in 1999 and three variations on the name appear in the top 100 names. Three different spellings of Mohammad also appear in the top 100. 

Oliver was the top boys' name in six of the English government regions. Jack was the most popular in the two northern regions (North East and North West), and Mohammed was the name most often given in the West Midlands of England.

The popularity of the name Mohammed showed large regional variation: the name was within the top 10 in three English regions.

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