Names in danger of extinction in Andalucía... and the average age of John and Ann

Names in danger of extinction in Andalucía... and the average age of John and Ann

There is no one under the age of 30 called Prudencia or Desamparados in the region, while elderly foreign residents influence the list of names with the highest average age; in contrast, imported names such as Kylian, Neizan, Cataleya or Arya are creeping into birth registers

Nuria Triguero


Friday, 10 May 2024, 16:57


There are names that will most probably die with the last people to be called them. It has been more than thirty years since anyone in Andalucía has been registered in a civil registry as Prudencia, Isidra, Saturnina or Ildefonsa. These old-fashioned names are in danger of extinction, which the Andalusian statistics institute, IECA, has brought to light, based on recent name and surname statistics.

"This situation affects names that have not been used for more than two decades, that is to say, those names whose youngest bearers were born at least twenty years ago are subject to this risk," explains this organisation, specifying the list of the ten names that have not been used for the longest time: Juana Josefa (41 years), Josefa Luisa (38), Prudencia (34), Antonia Jesús (33), Desamparados (32), Ildefonsa (30), Sampedro (29), Saturnina (28), Isidra (27) and Antonia Isabel (26).

The ten names most at risk of dying out are traditional girls' names. There are some really unusual ones, such as Sampedro: there are only 411 people in Andalucía with this name, mainly in Huelva, Seville and the north of Cordoba and Jaén. Another example is Desamparados: there are 390 women baptised with this name, mainly in the province of Seville.

Another interesting approach raised by the IECA is the contrast between the names whose bearers are oldest on average and those who are younger.

Foreign residents

Among the ten names with the oldest average age, there is a curious mixture of traditional Spanish names together with others of foreign, mainly British, origin, especially in the case of men. This is "largely due to the presence of retired people of European origin living in Andalucía", the researchers point out.

Michael John, therefore, is top of the list; that is, the average age of all the Michael Johns living in the region is 67.7. They are followed by David John (67.5) and just John by itself (64.2). The elderly foreign population is reflected again in sixth place with Peter (62.8).

In the case of women, Ann is top of the list in Andalucía in terms of average age (71.5), followed by Carol Ann (71.3). The foreign influence returns in fifth place with Margaret (70.1).

At the other end of the scale, among the ten names with the lowest average age, there is a predominance of short names, as well as names of foreign origin but in their Spanish version.

It is easy to identify fashions originated by celebrities (footballers, actors and singers, either with their own names or the names they give their children) or even characters from TV series, as is the case of Arya (Game of Thrones).

The most common names in general among the Andalusian population are, once again this year, María del Carmen for women and Antonio for men. Although they are gradually losing prominence, they continue to be the most common names in Andalucía in recent years. These names belong mainly to the older population, with an average age of over 50 in both cases. The list of the ten most frequent names only shows one change in these latest statistics, with the rise in the ranking of the name Francisca overtaking Antonia. In terms of values, in general, the trend of population loss and ageing of the people who use these names is maintained. Out of all the traditionally common names, only David does not follow this pattern, as it is increasing in number and with an average age of under forty.

In the case of the province of Malaga, there is a slight variation: the most frequent names are María and Antonio.

"Antonio is the name most used by men residing in the eastern provinces and Manuel in the provinces located further west. In the case of women, María del Carmen is the most frequently used name in Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada and Seville, while María is the most frequently used name in the remaining provinces," specifies the IECA.

Most common - María

The list of most common girls' names by year of birth show a curious change: between 1920 and 1940 María was dominant. Then, in the 1940s, there was a number of years in which Carmen took the first place, a name that later evolved into María del Carmen, which dominated Andalusian female ID cards until after 1980. In the mid-1980s, more rapid trends began to emerge. Rocío and Cristina alternate as the most frequent names among those born in that decade and the 1990s. But in the 2000s, María's reign returned, only interrupted for a few years (in the mid-2000s) by Lucía. And to this day, María continues to be the preferred name for baby girls in Andalucía

In the case of men, between 1920 and 1940 José was the most common name for baby boys in Andalucía. From 1940 until well into democracy, Antonio took first place. From the mid-1990s onwards, Alejandro appeared and was the most popular name for almost two decades (with the brief interruption of a few years in which Pablo took the top spot). However, since 2020, a more classic name has made a comeback: Manuel.

As far as surnames are concerned, they are, of course, more stable over time. The most used and widespread surname in Andalucía continues to be García, a surname that accompanies 6.2% of the region's inhabitants. Huelva is the province where it has the lowest presence among the population (5.1%) and Jaén the highest (7.0%). García is followed by Rodríguez, López, Sánchez and Fernández with percentages varying between 4.6% and 4.1% respectively.

In Malaga province, the most frequent surnames are, in this order: García, González, Sánchez, Fernández, López, Martín, Rodríguez, Ruiz, Pérez and Jiménez.

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