This is how first names in Spain have changed


The choice of a name is based on different reasons by everyone. Either to continue a family tradition, because the name has a beautiful meaning, or because that name reminds someone. It is also becoming more common for babies to be named after fictional characters or celebrities.

10,000 new names since 2010

Since 2010, almost 10,000 new names have been added in Spain. Some, like Khaleesi or Moana, come from fictional series. In addition, many derive from pet names or abbreviations such as Lola (once Dolores) or Nacho (once Ignacio).

Inspiration from Game of Thrones

In Spain, 38 girls are now called Khaleesi. In the popular series Game of Thrones, this refers to one of the main characters Daenerys Targaryen. Many others also find inspiration from this type of series to choose the name of their children. The name that has grown the most in Spain between 2010 and 2021 (+5.001%) is Aria.

In 2010, a year before Game of Thrones premiered, there were 21 girls named Aria in Spain. In 2021, this number had already risen to 1,092. In addition, the frequency of this name has been surpassed by the English version Arya (the name of the youngest of the Starks). This name first appeared in the INE figures in 2013, and eight years later there are already 1,168 people in Spain with that name.

Parents base the choice of names on very different sources, such as singers, football players or, as was already clear above, on fictional characters from series or films.


In terms of singers, according to INE data, in 2021 there were 27 boys named Leiva (a Spanish singer, songwriter and musician) and 29 named Anuel in Spain. Anuel AA is a Puerto Rican rapper. You can also find 30 guys named Drake (rapper) and almost 200 girls named Rihanna (singer from Barbados).

Names from series and movies

With fiction as a source of inspiration, in addition to the names from Game of Thrones, you can also find names from Disney films. There are 45 girls named Vaiana. The rise in the number of boys named Rio can be traced back to the Netflix series La Casa de Papel. While 79 boys were named by that name in 2017, the year the series premiered, that number tripled to 229 in 2021.

Football names

One of the biggest inspirations when it comes to boy names has always been footballers, and that hasn’t changed in recent years. An example of this is the names Leo and Neymar. In 2010, there were almost 2,000 boys named Leo in Spain. 12 years later, at the same time as the footballer Leo Messi grew up, the number has risen to 25,000.

In the case of Neymar, the Brazilian footballer’s name first appeared in the INE records in 2013, the same year he signed for FC Barcelona. When the player left the club in 2017, there were already 159 boys with that name in Spain, and in 2021 the number rose to 224.

Modern version of the classic Spanish names

It has always been customary in Spain to call people by the abbreviation of their name, but more and more people are taking that abbreviation directly as their name. It was common to refer to Jose as Pepe. But now there are almost 2,000 people in Spain who are directly named Pepe.

The most used abbreviations are Lola from Dolores and Nacho from Ignacio. While there have been 25% fewer women named Dolores since 2010 (60,000 fewer), the number of ‘Lolas’ has grown by 237% in 12 years, from 6,214 to 20,912 between 2010 and 2021. In the case of ‘Ignacios’, the original name has declined almost as much as the number of ‘Nachos’ has grown. While there were 2,900 fewer people named Ignacio in 2021, the number of Nachos had grown by 2,300. For example, the former is down 3%, while the variant is up 2,010%.

Development of names in Spain

The diversity of names for both women and men in Spain has increased significantly. In 2021, there were 30,625 different names for men and 30,527 for women in Spain. Of these, 5,000 names of men and women were entered in the register for the first time after 2010.

This greater variation has also meant that the most common names in Spain, both among men and women, are becoming less common. In 2021, Antonio, Manuel and José were the most chosen boy names. However, they were also three of the four names that have fallen the most since 2010. Since that year, Hugo, Daniel and Alejandro have grown the most.

Among women, María del Carmen, María and Carmen were the most common in 2021. María and Carmen are the two names of women that have declined the most since 2010. On the other hand, Lucía, Martina and Paula have grown the most since that year.

What names can you choose in Spain?

Despite the examples mentioned, not all names are allowed. In Spain, the rules relating to the registration of names in the civil register are laid down in the Law on the Civil Register of 8 June 1957. In particular, Article 54 lays down certain standards that names in the register must comply with.

For example, no more than one compound name may be entered, nor more than two simple names. Names that objectively harm the person should also not be chosen. This article has been edited several times, creating more and more possibilities.

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