2013 Baby Names: The state of the States’ popularity
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Now that Social Security has released the top names for every state, we can move beyond the broad nationwide picture and delve into the more regional patterns. As you’ll see below, far from every state was on board with newly crowned Noah—in fact he topped the lists of only three states. Also it’s interesting to see how various favorites spill over shared borders, such as which names were common primarily in New England (Benjamin!), the South (Brooklyn!) and the West (Harper!), as well as such idiosyncrasies as Paisley being a Top 5 name in Wyoming, Lincoln in the Utah Top 10 and Aria a top name in Hawaii.
TOP 5 GIRLS
Though Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella and Ava were the Top 5 nationwide, Sophia was at the top of the list in only 11 states, while Emma ruled in 27, Olivia in seven, Ava in three and Isabella in two. The one outlier? Charlotte was in the lead in the District of Columbia.
Other more individualistic choices among the girls:
Avery ((#12) was #5 in Nebraska
Evelyn (#20) was #5 in Wisconsin
Genesis—(#55) was the fourth most popular name in DC.
Harper (#16)—is definitely on the way up, especially in middle and western America—she ranked # 2 In Iowa and South Dakota, #3 in Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota, #5 in Kansas: a pretty sure bet for the Top 10 next year
Moving on to include the Top 10, we find some other anomalies:
Alexis–#9 in SD
Eleanor—#10 in DC
Taylor—#8 in Mississippi
Zoe—#6 in DC
Zoey–#10 in Iowa
BOYS TOP 5
There was quite a bit more diversity on the blue side. The Top 5 on the national list were Noah, Liam, Jacob, Mason and William, but Noah was Number 1 in only three states: Arizona, Illinois and New Mexico. Liam, on the other hand, ranked highest in 18, Jacob in the populous states of California, New York and Texas; Mason in nine states and William in fourteen, while Michael still ruled at the top in Delaware and New Jersey, and Jayden was first in Florida, Benjamin in Massachusetts, and Ethan in Nevada.
Other top-5 names:
Henry—#3 in DC, 4 in Minnesota
Jaxon–#5 in Oklahoma
Ryan—#4 in Massachusetts
And again moving on to the Top 10 lists, some standouts:
Christopher—#8 in Mississippi
Dylan—#10 in Connecticut
Isaac—#9 in Kansas, 6 in Nebraska
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on May 20th, 2014 at 1:08 am
This was fun to read! I like the diversity of name popularity across the US and it’s encouraging that, even if you love a name in the top 10, you won’t run into as many kids with that name as you would think.
on May 20th, 2014 at 4:41 am
Fascinating! It seems as though my home state–Virginia–is either really boring or an excellent predictor of the overall results. It wasn’t mentioned once on this list.
Someone (smarter than me) should do an “If Popular Baby Names Were Picked by the Electoral Collage” response to this post.
on May 20th, 2014 at 6:33 am
It’s amazing that Noah won nationally while only taking three states. Wonder if we’ve ever seen that huge a disparity before.
on May 20th, 2014 at 7:20 am
Australian stats are a lot easier as we only have 7 states 🙂 Unfortunately that might mean a little less diversity…
on May 20th, 2014 at 8:01 am
Does this mean that Muffy and Chip are no longer the top names in my home state of Connecticut?
on May 20th, 2014 at 8:17 am
If you add different spellings then Chloe (48 babies) + Khloe (22 babies) = 70 is actually the most popular girls name in Hawaii over Olivia (64 babies).
And I have sympathy for the teacher who will have to call roll for a class filled with Hailey (25th), Kaylee (31st), Kayla (34th), Kylie (70th), Kailee (75th) and Kaila (97th).
And the popularity of boys’ names in Hawaii seemed to cluster:
Aiden (9th) and Jayden (10th)
Luke (21st) and Lucas (22nd)
Jaxon (49th) and Jackson (50th)
Cody (86th) and Cole (87th)
And illustrating how much more diverse girls names tend to be than boys’ is the name Peyton which given to almost the same number of boys and girls:
26 girls named Peyton, 18th most polular girls name
24 boys named Peyton, 51st most popular boys name.
on May 20th, 2014 at 9:23 am
I’m at a loss as to why some of these names hang on – anywhere: Brayden, Dylan, Landon, Alexis.
on May 20th, 2014 at 11:09 am
My theory as to why Brooklyn is so popular in Southern states is probably because the Brooke and Lyn combination coupled with New York City being so cool and urban compared to ruralness of the South.
on May 20th, 2014 at 7:06 pm
This is why I’m astounded at why some names are deemed popular – because people in my region aren’t using them! Regional trends are probably as important as national trends to consider – Easton may be number 49 or what have you, but he might have two or three in his class based on where you live.
on May 20th, 2014 at 7:12 pm
Brooklyn doesn’t make the Top 100 in New York. Frankly, I would be shocked if it made the statewide Top 1000. If I ever meet a Brooklyn, I’ll know immediately that they’re a tourist – and there are few people as resented in this city as tourists, never mind tourists whose names inexplicably appropriate an entire borough.
London doesn’t make the Top 100 here either. No surprise there. But names like Moshe, Chana, Maria, and Giovanni rank MUCH higher than they do nationally, no doubt due to the famous diversity of NYC. I think it’s fantastic that parents are choosing meaningful, culturally relevant names over flimsy, silly, trendy ones like Paisley and Jayden.
on May 21st, 2014 at 9:43 am
Anyone else surprised by the popularity of King? I was shocked to see it is in the top 100 for boys in my state (LA) but even more so that it’s in the top 200 in the nation! I am not sure what I would think if I met a little baby King??
on May 22nd, 2014 at 9:46 pm
We have a Lincoln, he was born in AZ and he was the only one we’d ever heard of. We moved to UT, and there were THREE besides ours, that lived within a 2 block radius. Crazy.
Is there a way to see the top 10 in each state?
on May 24th, 2014 at 11:57 am
Nevaeh, Serenity and Paisley are definitely not my cup of tea…
on May 25th, 2014 at 3:00 pm
I’m not at all surprised to see Elijah at #5 in Alabama. I’ve been expecting to see Elijah enter the top 10 for the past two years now… and maybe this is why? Elijah is one of the staple Biblical names in my area, almost on the same level as Michael and James.
@lplafleur: I’ve meet two Kings. I can’t speak for every parents’ reasons for using it, but the two Kings I met were King Solomon and King David. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s a Biblical reference or family surname for most boys.
@indiefendi: My theory as to why Brooklyn is so popular in the Southern states has more to do with it being a compound name. Twenty years ago Brook was wildly popular as a middle name and less so as a first name. It doesn’t surprise me at all to see Brooklyn take its place. I don’t think it has anything to do with New York. Just as New Yorkers tend to stereotype us as uneducated, gun-waving rednecks, we tend to stereotype New Yorkers as rude, arrogant yuppies. And the South isn’t just one big cow pasture, you know. We have Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Memphis, Louisville, Charlotte, New Orleans, Raleigh, Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Dallas, Houston… nothing quite like New York City, obviously, but we aren’t /that/ in awe of the Big Apple. 😉
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