Top Baby Names: What’s Popular Where?
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Emma and Noah are the new Number 1 baby names in the US, but are they the most popular names where you live? Emma was Number 1 in just 22 states, Noah at the top in only 13. Other states put rivals Olivia, Ava, and Sophia at the head of the class for girls, as well as Mia (in Hawaii and New Mexico), Harper (in South Dakota), Isabella (Florida) and Genesis (D.C.). For boys, there were seven other names vying for the top spot, with Liam, William, Mason, Benjamin, Henry, Jackson, or Elijah beating Noah in 37 states.
Moving down the list, it’s easy to see certain names really gathering steam and heading higher. The following are girls’ names not in the national Top 10 which reached that level and beyond in at least two states, as well as names that ranked Number 1 in some states:
Avery –16 nationally, made the Top 10 in no less than 13 states
Brooklyn–31 on the SS list, was in fifth place in states nowhere near NYC—Mississippi and Minnesota
Lillian (26) reached tenth place in two states
Nora (41) was a Top 10 name in three states, Number 5 in Minnesota
Olivia – Olivia is a favorite in Northern states from East to West, reaching the top spot in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Illiinois, Minnesota, Idaho, Washington, and Alaska.
Paisley (45) reached as high as Number 6 in Mississippi
Skylar (42), a Southern fave, Top 10 in three states
And there were some single-appearance outliers:
Now to the boys–a substantially longer list here, with more names appearing in the Top 10 — or even at Number 1 — in a single state:
Benjamin – The newest entrant to the Top 10 nationally reached Number 1 in Massachusetts
Gabriel (22) was in the Top 10 in several states
Henry (29) is finally moving up in many areas of the country, reaching first place in Nebraska and Minnesota and second in Oregon
John (26), long-time leading boys’ name in the English-speaking world, is back at Number 2 in Mississippi
Julian (45) was Number 10 in two Western states
Levi (42) was in fifth place in three states
Liam – The national Number 2 name was Number 1 in 16 states, which puts it in close reach of claiming Noah’s crown. Unlike some names which dominate regionally, Liam is a favorite from Maine to Florida, New Jersey to Oregon, Alaska to Arkansas.
Logan (14) was Number 2 in Maryland
Lucas (16) is making great strides, as high as Number 5 in Michigan
Luke (28) is in the Top 10 of three states
Mason – This name popularized by the Kardashians reached Number 1 in Pennsylvania
Sebastian (35) was Number 8 in three states
William – Classic William is a Southern favorite, reigning in a solid block of Southern states that includes Virginia and Kentucky but not Florida and Louisiana. William is also Number 1 in Montana and Utah.
And now the boy outliers, who popped in one particular place:
Charles (50)—10 in DC
Isaac (31) was 10 in Nebraska
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on May 19th, 2016 at 11:31 am
Very interesting! I didn’t realize how important it is to look at your state’s popularity until naming my daughter. While her name ranked in the top 500 for her birth year, in our state it was in the top 300. Not a big deal but we have come across two other girls with her name which would be less likely in a state where it was in the top 500 (or higher).
on May 19th, 2016 at 5:24 pm
As a New Yorker, I’m *definitely* not surprised that Brooklyn is most popular nowhere near New York. Pity the Brooklyn who ever *visits* Brooklyn…
on May 20th, 2016 at 1:35 pm
This post is so fascinating. What is it that makes a name so much more popular is some places and not in others? Or so much more popular in one place when overall it isn’t nearly as popular?
on May 27th, 2016 at 11:29 am
#2 in Maine for boys is Owen.
Ryker, which you also list as #2 for boys in Maine, is actually #74 in Maine. Is it some other state that Ryker is #2 in?
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