Baby Names As You've Never Seen Them Before

Baby Names As You've Never Seen Them Before

Today's blog is brought to you by Babylist, the best baby registry for growing families, with 4.9 stars in the Apple App Store and over 95,000 reviews. Sign up here to add any baby gift from any store onto one easy-to-use universal registry. Join today for a 15% registry discount!

Recently, while editing our guide to 50 sites every name nerd needs, I revisited many name sites I’d bookmarked over the years. Among them were several graphics and animations that make name data beautiful.

Interested? Here are nine we think you'll enjoy.

Some are a few years out of date now — I'd love to hear if you know of more recent ones — but they’re still fascinating ways to visualize, for example, the top names in each US state, or the most popular letters in names, over 100+ years.

1. Top Baby Names in Every US State

Watch each state’s favorites change over time, from 1910-2014. Then — my favorite part — a more nuanced graphic where names bounce about all over the country as their popularity changes.

Here's another visualizer of the top names by state over time, by Bo McCready. Simplifying the states to equal-sized dots really helps to show the spread of favorite names over the years.

2. How Popular Was Your Name in Each State?

Alternatively to a map, this tool by Curtis Harris shows how a single name's popularity has changed in every state over time (up to 2013). This is a brilliant way to see not just where names were popular, but if they peaked earlier or later in certain states.

For example, the chart below confirms that Amber trended in the 1980s, but also shows that it was popular soonest in the Mountain and Midwestern States, peaked later in the South, and was lukewarm at best in New England.

2. Most Popular Gender Neutral Baby Name in Each State

Sure, you know about gender neutral names like Riley and Charlie. But who’d have thought Johnnie, Gail, Shawn and Baby were once the most popular unisex names in a state or two? This map by Barbara Davidson is a bit (a lot) addictive.

3. Gender-Neutral Names Over Time

On the more sciencey side, here’s a chart by Georgios Karamanis plotting all the names given to both genders from 1880 to 2017. The thick dark patch on the right shows that, in recent years, more unisex names have been truly gender-balanced in use.

4. The Evolution of US Baby Names: Bubbled

A mesmerizingly gentle way to watch names grow and fade from 1880-2014. Just sit back and enjoy the bubbles!

The Evolution of US Boy Names: Bubbled

The Evolution of US Girl Names: Bubbled

5. Last Letters of Baby Names Over Time

Ever wondered how the final letters of boy and girl names compare? And how they’ve changed over time? Sociology professor Kieran Healy has the answer. One of the biggest trends is the rise of boy names ending in N in recent years (like a giant middle finger).

6. Popular Letters in Baby Names

In similar vein, this gently-moving chart by Garrick Aden-Buie shows the changing popularity of letters anywhere in baby names over time — and highlights how unusual it really is to have a name containing, say, F or P.

7. Trendiest Names of All Time

Is it a mountain range? Nope, it’s a chart of the names with the biggest rises and falls each year since 1930, analyzed by Nathan Yau.

8. The Most Gender-Switched Names in US History

Which names have flipped most dramatically from boy to girl, or vice versa? Read the full article, also by Nathan Yau, for some fascinating graphs and explanations.

This post is adapted from a Nameberry newsletter. To get more cool things like this delivered to your inbox, subscribe for free.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at