The Reddest and Bluest Baby Names

May 30, 2016 Pamela Redmond
popular baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

If you name your baby something traditional like Maya or Maximilian, you’re probably a Democrat, while a new-fangled choice such as Brylee or Braylen might peg you as a Republican.

Blue State parents may be more apt to vote liberal than their Red State counterparts, but their taste in baby names is far more conservative.

We analyzed which of the Top 500 names were used most often last year in Red States vs. Blue. Our findings: Red State baby names tend to defy convention in spelling, gender identity, and the very definition of a first name, while the Bluest Names toe the traditional line.

Every single one of the Top 25 Reddest Names for both genders lies outside the traditional lexicon of proper names. Red State favorites include first names adapted from surnames such as Number 1 Reddest Names Blakely for girls and Kason for boys, word names such as Haven for girls and Kash for boys, and diminutives such as Millie and Hattie used as full names. .

Parents in Blue States, on the other hand, choose relatively conventional first names for their babies. All of the Top 25 Bluest Names for girls are traditional female choices, ranging from Number 1 Francesca to Alexandra to Miriam. In the boys’ Top 25, the only name that diverges from the usual lexicon of first names is surname-name Finnegan.

The first traditional girls’ name in the Red State tally, by contrast, is Mary, all the way down at Number 51, with the first traditional boys’ name ranking even lower: Abram at Number 76.

Other markers of traditional naming in the list of Blue State favorites include girls’ names that are feminizations of male names, such as Gianna and Daniella, and Biblical and/or royal boys’ names, such as Leo, Nicholas, and Peter.

Red State parents are also much more likely to invent new spellings for baby names, with popular girls’ names including Kyleigh and Journee and four different spellings of Kason dominating the boys’ list. And the Reddest Names tend to push gender boundaries, with McKinley ranking in the Top 10 for girls and Lane in the Top 20 for boys.

Blue baby names may conform more to spelling and gender norms, but they’re also more likely to be ethnically diverse. Blue State favorites for girls range from the Irish Maeve to the Italian Giuliana to the Hebrew Esther, and on the boys’ side, from the Arabic Mohamed to the Indian Arjun to the Spanish Thiago.

Ethnic differences may go further than politics to explain the Red State-Blue State baby name divide. Latino, Italian, Irish, and Jewish parents, who claim a larger share of the population in Blue States, also tend to more closely follow family and religious traditions when naming their babies.

Blue State parents favor names that end in the letter a for girls in 22 of the Top 25 cases, and also choose vowel-ending names for boys ten of the Top 25 times. Red State parents prefer to end names with the letter n for boys and either the lee or the lyn sound for girls.

A few unexpected findings: The Red State Top 25 includes the name of Blue State favorite son Kennedi at the girls’ Number 3, along with sacred Jewish surname Cohen at Number 15 for boys and Eastern establishment university name Princeton at the boys’ Number 20.

More predictable may be the Red States’ relative preference for gun-themed and military names, with Gunner, Major, Colt, and Remington in the boys’ Top 50. And it may not be surprising that Red State parents are more likely to name their babies Rhett (Butler) or Bristol (Palin) while Blue State parents honor (Pope) Francis and Angelina (Jolie).

Here, the 25 Bluest and Reddest Baby Names for each gender, with the percent they veer toward one side or the other.

The Bluest Baby Names

Girls’ Name Percent Blue
Francesca 82.4
Maeve 81.2
Giuliana 80
Fiona 78.8
Gianna 77.3
Angelina 76.7
Nina 76.1
Sienna 75.9
Valentina 75.5
Maya 74.8
Aisha 73.6
Leila 73.3
Luciana 72.9
Julianna 72.8
Emilia 72.4
Esther 72.3
Ariella 72.3
Daniella 72.3
Alexandra 72.2
Lucia 72
Dahlia 71.9
Bianca 71.7
Gia 71.6
Miriam 71.3
Talia 71.3
Boys’ Name Percent Blue
Rocco 80.9
Nico 80.7
Mohamed 78.6
Luca 78.5
Angelo 77.5
Muhammad 76.2
Francis 75.8
Enzo 75.6
Finnegan 74.7
Maximilian 74.1
Vincent 72.8
Colin 72.6
Theodore 72.6
Andy 72.2
Ali 72.1
Lorenzo 71.9
Arjun 71.7
Conor 71.6
Leo 71.6
Nicholas 71.6
Thiago 71.5
Louis 71.1
Peter 70.9
Ryan 70.8
Brendan 70.7

The Reddest Baby Names

Girls’ Name Percent Red
Blakely 71.4
Brylee 65.2
Kennedi 63.2
Kyleigh 62.8
Journee 61.1
Millie 60.2
Bristol 60
Hattie 59.9
Mckinley 59.9
Gracelynn 59.2
Addyson 59.1
Tatum 58.7
Brynlee 58.5
Allie 58.5
Paislee 58.3
Emersyn 58.1
Addilyn 57.7
Madilynn 57.6
Londyn 57.5
Haven 56.8
Kaydence 56.4
Marlee 56.2
Paisley 55.9
Aspen 55.2
Presley 54.9
Boys’ Name Percent Red
Kason 69.7
Cason 68.9
Braylen 68.8
Chandler 68
Lawson 65.7
Kasen 65.5
Rhett 65.2
Braylon 64
Davis 64
Karson 63.8
Jaxton 63.7
Kayson 63.6
Raylan 63.6
Gunner 63
Cohen 61.7
Beckham 61
Lane 60.5
Braxton 60.1
Waylon 60
Princeton 59.7
Knox 59.4
Daxton 59.3
Kyler 59.2
Kash 59
Walker 58.2

Statistical analysis by Joe Satran

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles


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