Local Baby Names: What’s in in Indiana?
There was a time when we thought—rightly or wrongly– of regional names in terms of stereotypes—prim and proper appellations in New England, sweetly feminissima Southern belles, Tex-Mex cowboys out west. Now, though, it sometimes seems that baby names have become more and more homogeneous across the United States, but if we really peruse the popularity figures for states’ local baby names we do find some regional differences and state eccentricities.
First, a look at which names were in first place and where they ruled:
Ava—Louisiana, South Dakota
Emma—Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Wyoming
Isabella—Florida, West Virginia
Madison—Mississippi, South Carolina
Olivia—Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah
Sophia—Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Sophia, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
Jacob—Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas
Mason—Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Michael—Delaware, New Jersey, New York (among the most conservative states)
William—Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wyoming
The girls, as we can see, are perfectly consistent across the land, with no state having a Number 1 name outside the country’s Top 10. But with the boys, it gets a little more interesting. William virtually swept the South for most popular boys’ name; there were 22 states with national Number 2 Mason in first place and only four with top name Jacob—explained by the fact that they happen to be four extremely populous states. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that national Number 41 Carter is Number 1 in Iowa as well as second in North and South Dakota. Any local Berries have any explanation? And why is Anthony so hot in Nevada?
Some other regional anomalies in various states’ Top 5, with their national ranks in parenthesis:
Addison (13) ranked in the Top 5 in five states
Lily (15)—Number 4 in Utah
Benjamin (19)—Top 5 in seven states
Brayden (37)—Number 5 in Kentucky
Christopher (21)—Number 5 in Mississippi
David (18)—Number 5 in Texas
Elijah (13)—Number 4 in Colorado and North Carolina
Jackson (23)—Top 5 in four states
James (17)—Number 5 in Tennessee
Landon (34)—Top 5 in Louisiana and West Virginia
Logan (2)—Top 5 in six states
Owen (44)—3 in Iowa, 5 in Wisconsin
Parker (79)—Number 4 in Wyoming
Ryan (25)—Top 5 in three eastern states
Wyatt (48)—Number 5 in Maine
And then there are those names that pop up in the Top 20 in one place and nowhere else, such as:
Were you surprised by the stats for your area? What names seem to be most popular where you live?
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on May 22nd, 2012 at 12:20 am
Well, Chase in PA is thanks to Chase Utley, Phillies 2nd baseman. At least, I would assume so. I’m curious about Santiago, Micah, and Ryker, though.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 1:14 am
I’m not surprised about Chase being so high in PA. The Phillies 2nd baseman is Chase Utley. He’s gorgeous and a very popular player on the team.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 1:57 am
I really enjoyed this. And it’s most certainly accurate where I live.
Oh and it makes sense that Sophia is popular in the state of Sophia 😉
on May 22nd, 2012 at 5:36 am
This was really interesting! I’d like to see the same thing for here – Australia, but I don’t think it would work as accurately since our states and territories are pretty huge – for example, NSW encompasses multi-cultural Sydney (with a huge Asian population, plus other cultures in there) and my region Wollongong which is full of Caucasians, Italians, Greek, Croatians, Macedonians, Lebanese, Turkish, etc, then again in this same state, you’ve got the remote farming communities like Barellan and Bourke, rural Goulburn which is just full of Anglo-Saxans! So you’d have to go by area and that would be one hell of a task! Lol.
None the less, this was really interesting. Looking forward to readin more theories as to some of the differences.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 5:51 am
I haven’t personally met any Kentucky Emma’s this year, so I am a bit surprised and pleased. Emma is a lovely name as is William.
Brayden does not surprise me at all. The Aidan variations ARE really popular here.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 6:33 am
If Chase is the name of a Phillies player, it explains why I have only ever met one Chase here in Pittsburgh and he is 27 years old! Not a very popular name here on the west side of PA!
on May 22nd, 2012 at 6:44 am
My pregnant neighbor in Michigan, where we live, is going to name her son, Mason, which is #1. He’s going to be Mason S. in preschool! Not fair to a child, if you ask me!!
on May 22nd, 2012 at 7:00 am
Why would you say that isn’t fair? I don’t see it as a major problem to have the number one name.
Here’s some perspective:
In 1985 I was one of 1,951 Jessicas born in Michigan.
Your neighbor’s baby would only be one in 685 Masons (if the stats remain the same for 2012).
I didn’t die from being called Jessica T… in fact I still go by it, lol.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 7:19 am
Chase Utley of the phillies is def the reason its such a popular name in the area surrounding Philadelphia. I even know some little girls who are named Chase. I even know dogs that are named Chase Mutley. (Along with some named Chooch- the catcher Carlos Ruiz’s nickname and Cat Burrell- after now retired Pat Burrell)
on May 22nd, 2012 at 7:25 am
I was glad to see that Mason was only at 13 in Texas. He was born early January and at the time we chose the name it was at 36 and with little research behind the popularity we were shocked when it turned up so high on the list. He’s still the only Mason we’ve heard of but it’s part of the reason why I joined this site to put a little more thought into our daughter’s name for this September.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 8:06 am
I am surprised that William isn’t number one in Illinois. I know so many under one Williams.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 8:42 am
I was surprised that Nora is #36 in Wisconsin when it’s #137 nationally!
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:09 am
Sophia—Arizona, California, Connecticut, … Sophia,
You missed Wisconsin in the top girls’ names, unless I’m totally missing it somewhere..
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:23 am
Thanks for the heads up, Magpie. How could we forget Wisconsin, my alma mater and husband’s home state? We added another win for Sophia in the Badger State.
Elisabeth Rae Said
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:26 am
JessicaT11, another 1985 Jessica here 😉 My parents also gave me an extremely common middle name. They were both family names and they claim they didn’t know either were popular.
You are right though; today, even the most popular names are only given to a little over 1% of babies born that year.
Elisabeth Rae Said
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:27 am
I think it’s worth mentioning that the Sofia spelling is also in the top 5 in New Mexico. Can you imagine how many little Sophia/Sofias there are?
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:29 am
William is one of my favorite names! I’m glad to see it was tops in my home state. 🙂 (I know, weird comment for a berry to make – but since, if I use it, his middle will be Grayton, maybe a popular first would be best.) 🙂
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:32 am
(Although I don’t intend to be using it anytime soon….)
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:40 am
You missed Christopher taking the number 2 spot in Georgia. It’s really interesting that it went from 21 nationally to five in Mississippi an2 in Georgia.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 10:27 am
One that I found rather interesting was Camila. She seems to be red hot in the Latino community right now – she’s #48 nationally, but ranks #9 in Texas and in the Top 20 in Arizona, California and Nevada, all states with large Hispanic populations. On the other side of the coin, she’s not even in the Top 100 in over half the states!
on May 22nd, 2012 at 10:34 am
Wait, you said Carter was number 1 in Illinois and Iowa, but on the list you have Alexander as number 1 in IL. Which one is it?
on May 22nd, 2012 at 10:36 am
Also, I wish that you lumped spellings together. I believe that if Aidan, Jayden, and Kayden were all counted with every spelling variant, they would dominate nearly every state.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 10:39 am
Poods, Alexander is indeed Number 1 in Illinois; corrected on Carter. And the SS data only gives the Top 100 names by state, without actual numbers of babies, so lumping spellings together by state is not possible.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 10:49 am
I’m so tired of William, talk about overused.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 11:09 am
Hilarious about Chase. I haven’t met any around here, but I certainly see my share of Utley jerseys, so I would imagine that there are a fair few Chases around the city.
Stella also seems to be overly popular in Philly. Or maybe that’s just in my neighborhood. But every daycare has more Stellas than any other girl’s name.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 11:26 am
The SS data does give the number of births by state from what I saw. For example, in Texas, just from the two spellings in the top 100 for Aiden there are enough to put it into 1st place above Jacob.
From the SSA site:
8 Aiden 1,475
54 Ayden 681
on May 22nd, 2012 at 11:56 am
I can see Lily & Owen being top 5 nationally in a few years – So much appeal! I think Santiago is a nice name too, but maybe I like it for the no-no name Iago hidden in there. For the most part, very lovely names all around.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 1:10 pm
I’m glad I didn’t listen to my husband and name DS Mason, his number one choice. Also happened to be the number one choice of 480 other parents as well.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 4:53 pm
“Sophia” in Sophia probably stands for Texas … idk … didn’t find Texas for the girls …
on May 22nd, 2012 at 6:39 pm
GRRRR. I wish Ryker weren’t so high in UT. ANY other state!
on May 22nd, 2012 at 8:44 pm
My uneducated guess is that Anthony is popular among Hispanic families. If you look at a map of the states in which Anthony ranks high as a baby name, and compare it to a map of Hispanic population density in the US, they are pretty similar.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:40 pm
I am a – northern – Virginia Sophia (circa 1994), so it’s cool/sad that it’s number one here 😉
I know quite a few more baby boy Micahs and Masons than I do Williams, but I am also much closer to DC than VA, and I’m Jewish (which, oddly, seems to make the names more diverse!)
on May 22nd, 2012 at 10:33 pm
I wish Ryker wasn’t popular at all. I can’t imagine naming my son after a prison that holds some of the deadliest criminals in the United States of America.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 11:35 pm
Seeing what’s popular in each state is more interesting to me than what’s popular nationally, I love this blog! I’m from Idaho and Ellie is definitely a name I’ve been hearing more of, as are other nickname names like Maggie, Allie, Abby. Ryker is very popular here as well and has more to do with the trendy sound of it (I have yet to hear anyone mention Riker’s Island). Utah has the most interesting names that are popular there and not anywhere else such as Bridger, Boston and Daxton. Names like Ryker, Lincoln, Braxton and Brynlee have been in their top 100 for years and are just starting to catch on in other states.
on May 23rd, 2012 at 12:32 am
I am taking a guess here about Ryker, but in star trek :the next generation. There is a character named William Ryker. Also Utah has a lot of Mormons and they tend to like using different and unusual names for their little ones. My neighbor is Mormon and her 3 kids are Haydan (a girl), Bronte (a girl) and son Gavin. All of those names (sure Haydan is popular but not that spelling ) were unique when the kids were born. Maybe that’s why really just guessing.
on August 8th, 2012 at 3:30 pm
In Iowa… Carter is popular, but I see more Jacksons and Wyatts than just about anything. I was one of 9 Erins, Aarons, Erics and Erikas in one of my high school classes. It was annoying. And with a super common married name of “Jones” we went untraditional with our son Weston, only to hear it all over the place now.
We are trying to stay out of the top 50-100 for our next baby. But since Kourtney Kardashian just named her daughter Penelope, I think we’re back to the drawing board. (Mason jumped to #2 after she gave the name to her son.)
on March 10th, 2013 at 5:23 pm
To people worrying about children being one of many of the same name in their class, it is to some degree pure chance, I was given a name that wasn’t even in the top 1000 and my parents were shocked to learn of another girl with the same name in my high school class.
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