See The Most Popular Baby Names by State!
When you look at the most popular baby names by state, it’s clear we live in a nation divided. There’s the United States of Ava and William (the South), the United States of Olivia and Oliver (the Great Plains) and the United States of Emma, Liam and Noah (most of the rest: coastal population centers, the Great Lakes, the Southwest, Texas).
That’s what the Social Security Administration revealed when they released the 2017 list of the most popular names in each state on May 17. Though Emma and Liam were the most popular baby names in the country, they were the number one names in only 11 states. In the other 39 (plus D.C.), another name took the cake for boys, girls or both. We made maps illustrating the winners in each state.
The maps look fairly close to last year’s most popular names by state maps. The South remains completely devoted to Ava and William. Pennsylvania was a bellweather yet again, while Vermont again marched to the beat of its own drum.
Yet there were also some fascinating differences. Though many believe we’ve already passed Peak Emma, it actually spread its dominance this year, becoming the most popular girls’ name in several big new states, such as New Jersey and California. And Charlotte, confined last year to New Hampshire, spread to two more states in New England; we wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to spread.
On the boys’ side, several of the states that supported Noah switched over to Liam — which makes sense, given that Liam took over from Noah as the most popular boys name of the year. Noah was the most popular name in just five states, down from nine the year before. Oliver, meanwhile, continues to grow. It was the most popular boys’ name in a whopping 12 states, despite being only the ninth most popular boys’ name overall.
Here’s the map showing the top girl names by state:
And here’s the map showing the top boy names by state:
What were the most popular names in your state? Does that line up with what you’ve noticed? Tell us in the comments!
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on May 17th, 2018 at 7:43 pm
Very interesting to see how the South is so separate in just Ava and William!
on May 18th, 2018 at 12:29 am
@fromtheocean12 It really is pretty amazing! I would also not have guessed that Oliver was such a midwestern and western favorite.
on May 18th, 2018 at 3:13 am
Not surprised to see Liam and Isabella as the most popular in Florida, especially Isabella, which I hear EVERYWHERE. A lot of the really popular names I don’t hear at all, for example, my son’s name is James (#4 on the SSA list I believe), but I haven’t run into anyone else with that name as a first yet except for a few old men, although I hear it a lot as a middle name. I guess it’s just maybe not as particularly popular in my area.
on May 18th, 2018 at 9:01 am
How wonderful that traditional male and female names prevail! With the exception of Harper in Iowa, it’s nice to see that unisex, word names and surnames aren’t so popular.
on May 18th, 2018 at 9:27 am
My home state, Minnesota, is one of two states that has Oliver and Olivia at the top (the other state being Utah). We’re not very creative, apparently.
on May 18th, 2018 at 9:52 am
I’m from the south and can confirm William remains massively popular here. Not sure what percentage of these boys are actually called William, but I hear Will all the time. Sometimes Liam. Oliver is one I never hear.
on May 19th, 2018 at 12:30 am
This was very interesting to see. Not shocked that New Mexico (my state) strayed from norm with the female name that is most popular and is more closely in line with other states for the boys.
on May 19th, 2018 at 6:11 am
Interesting to see that Maine has the same top names as the number 1 names in Australia.
on May 19th, 2018 at 7:11 am
Did not see Ava coming in Maryland. Maybe we are more aligned with the South than I thought when it comes to naming girls…
on May 19th, 2018 at 8:29 am
Does anyone have an explanation for Henry in Wisconsin? I live here and am a nomenclature addict, and while I can definitely attest to it being popular (along with other H—y names such as Harry and Harvey), I haven’t come up with a reason why.
on May 19th, 2018 at 7:03 pm
Look at Liam! It’s always been an Irish name, but its everywhere on this map! Clearly non-irish people love it too. Before you know it, Seamus, Padraig, Malachy and Eamon will be as big!
on May 19th, 2018 at 11:05 pm
Liam and Emma, huh? I don’t know anyone with those names, but they’re lovely!
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