When it comes to baby names, 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 maps of the most popular names in each state. 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 results for girls:
And here’s the map showing the results for boys:
What were the most popular names in your state? Does that line up with what you’ve noticed? Tell us in the comments!