Category: Baby Names Popularity
We analyzed which of the Top 500 names were used most often last year in Red States vs. Blue. Our findings: Red State baby names tend to defy convention in spelling, gender identity, and the very definition of a first name, while the Bluest Names toe the traditional line.
Every single one of the Top 25 Reddest Names for both genders lies outside the traditional lexicon of proper names. Red State favorites include first names adapted from surnames such as Number 1 Reddest Names Blakely for girls and Kason for boys, word names such as Haven for girls and Kash for boys, and diminutives such as Millie and Hattie used as full names. .
Parents in Blue States, on the other hand, choose relatively conventional first names for their babies. All of the Top 25 Bluest Names for girls are traditional female choices, ranging from Number 1 Francesca to Alexandra to Miriam. In the boys’ Top 25, the only name that diverges from the usual lexicon of first names is surname-name Finnegan.
Other markers of traditional naming in the list of Blue State favorites include girls’ names that are feminizations of male names, such as Gianna and Daniella, and Biblical and/or royal boys’ names, such as Leo, Nicholas, and Peter.
Red State parents are also much more likely to invent new spellings for baby names, with popular girls’ names including Kyleigh and Journee and four different spellings of Kason dominating the boys’ list. And the Reddest Names tend to push gender boundaries, with McKinley ranking in the Top 10 for girls and Lane in the Top 20 for boys.
The Australian Top 100 just came out, not long after the US data. One small difference is that we count variant spellings as the same name, although only a few names with more than one dominant spelling actually make the Top 100. It’s interesting to see what makes a name rise in popularity, and the international trends at work.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There’s a new biblical boy on this year’s Top 10 list and his name is Benjamin—actually the only new boy to enter that hot spot. An Old Testament name that has had a continuous presence on the list through time, but had never before reached this level of popularity, now joins Noah and Jacob.
In 2015, more than 13,000 parents chose Benjamin for their sons. And why? First, for its combination of heritage and history—the bible story of Jacob’s youngest son, who became a symbol of a son adored by his father. Then there’s its appealing sound, with the jaunty j in the midde, plus its accessible nicknames from gentle Ben to cute Benji to retro Benny
So let’s salute some of the many notable Benjamins across time.