The Reddest and Bluest Baby Names
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.
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|
|Boys’ Name||Percent Blue|
The Reddest Baby Names
|Girls’ Name||Percent Red|
|Boys’ Name||Percent Red|
Statistical analysis by Joe Satran
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on May 30th, 2016 at 10:53 pm
Democrats for the win…by a mile!
on May 30th, 2016 at 11:42 pm
Wow, seems the red states really love those Cason spelling variations!
on May 30th, 2016 at 11:47 pm
on May 31st, 2016 at 1:41 am
Hmmm… I’m from a red state, but I specifically hate that naming style (perhaps because I’m from there?). I must say that the blue states have MUCH better taste. Seems my daughter’s name fits with blue state naming patterns…
on May 31st, 2016 at 5:03 am
That was fascinating! Especially to a Brit! I wonder if there’s much change between our ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’, but since we’re all much closer together the answer is probably not. It would be a really interesting thing to find out.
on May 31st, 2016 at 7:44 am
This fits perfectly with the naming style I see with acquaintances on Facebook and the person’s accompanying political posts. I had no idea that Red States had such terrible taste in names!
on May 31st, 2016 at 8:38 am
My cousin’s month old daughter is Antonina (Scalia). Guess their political affiliation?
on May 31st, 2016 at 11:39 am
I’m glad my style of names and really the names I chose for my girls could fit in perfectly in the Dem names. I guess even my taste in names fits in with my politics!
on May 31st, 2016 at 12:42 pm
on May 31st, 2016 at 2:11 pm
Fascinating. I love these kinds of analyses.
on May 31st, 2016 at 3:22 pm
Katie Hopkins would see this and physically cringe–and she’s a conservative! ahahahahaha
on May 31st, 2016 at 4:20 pm
Oofta! The conservative names are just awful.
on May 31st, 2016 at 4:25 pm
I would be very interested to see the data analyzed by county, but I don’t know if name statistics are kept by county. It would be fascinating to see the blue counties in red states & vice versa.
Top baby names in red and blue states according to Nameberry – Today.com Said
on May 31st, 2016 at 5:57 pm
[…] a new study, the baby-name experts at Nameberry analyzed which of the top 500 names were used most often last year in red states vs. blue states […]
Amber W Said
on May 31st, 2016 at 6:09 pm
How were these names picked exactly? What do the percentages stand for?
on May 31st, 2016 at 6:58 pm
I loved this article – what fun! The thing that jumped out at me was how many Red names used the letter “y”. It was really prevalent for the girls, but was also used surprisingly often for boys. It made me laugh, because when I named my kids, we wouldn’t consider any names with the letter y in the middle. Guess where I live?
on May 31st, 2016 at 7:17 pm
There were a lot of Italian names in the blue states. I wonder if that is represented by the North East. I’m from the South, and sadly, those red names are par for the course.
on May 31st, 2016 at 11:00 pm
@Amber W, the overall group of names were the Top 500 according to the 2015 Social Security list, here: http://nameberry.com/popular_names/US We analyzed how often each of those names was used in Blue States relative to Red States. We determined the Blue/Red divide according to voting in the 2012 presidential election, and so there were more people in the Blue States which makes the percentages there higher.
on June 1st, 2016 at 1:37 am
Way to ruin the fun of baby names with politics :/ I agree, according to the “findings” red state names are tacky. But don’t label this conservative Californian (born and raised in the shadow of Los Angeles) as a namer with poor taste. Heck, don’t label anybody. Everyone is different. Amongst other things, this is just one more way we pigeonhole each other. I’m a conservative in a blue state, I’m a minority who leans conservative, and I dislike trendy “made-up” names.
on June 1st, 2016 at 7:18 am
Speaks volumes. That’s all I’m saying.
on June 1st, 2016 at 9:16 am
I live in a Red state, but my politics have always been Bluuuuueeeeeee. So it’s not surprising I HATE creative spellings. I hate trendy names. My perfect name is a traditional one you don’t hear of much. Like Naomi or Xavier
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on June 1st, 2016 at 12:47 pm
[…] and it turns out there are tons of info ripe for the picking when it comes to the political arena as […]
on June 1st, 2016 at 8:36 pm
It’s an interesting article, but the comments are not very gracious. Everyone has different naming styles. In other discussions on Nameberry, we are usually pretty respectful. Let that apply here, too.
Amber W Said
on June 2nd, 2016 at 9:53 am
Interesting to see a list with a substantial sociological component to it. (Though it’s worth stating that a lot of the things that make red states red and blue states blue are the same things that influence baby-naming, rather than politics necessarily being what makes people name children the way they do: socioeconomic classes, education levels, that sort of thing.)
on August 3rd, 2016 at 12:22 am
Some of these comments demonstrate the worst stereotypes of Democrats–elitist, self-congratulatory, and hypocritical, preaching “tolerance” for everybody except the people who don’t agree with them. There are names I like and names I don’t like on both lists and I wouldn’t dream of labeling either one “terrible,” “awful” or “tacky.” Seriously, grow up.
on December 30th, 2016 at 10:18 pm
I would love to see lists of these same names broken down by educational level of parents giving them. My guess is that education is even more predictive than political party in whether a traditional name is chosen (though I would expect to see significant overlap with these lists). The repetitive “lyn” and “n” endings are interesting, I wonder why that’s so popular at the moment, or where that originated?
on December 30th, 2016 at 10:19 pm
I would love to see lists of these same names broken down by educational level of parents giving them. My guess is that education is even more predictive than political party in whether a traditional name is chosen (though I would expect to see significant overlap with these lists). The prevalence of “lyn” and “n” endings are interesting, I wonder why that’s so popular at the moment, or where that originated?
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on March 3rd, 2017 at 12:18 am
[…] while nouveau names Oakleigh and Bridger are well-liked in Red State Montana, consistent with our analysis that found Red Staters prefer gender-neutral invented names while Blue State baby names are more […]
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on March 3rd, 2017 at 7:31 pm
[…] while nouveau names Oakleigh and Bridger are well-liked in red state Montana, consistent with our analysis that found red staters prefer gender-neutral invented names while blue state baby names are more […]
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on August 1st, 2018 at 12:02 am
[…] also don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to naming their children. Experts at the baby name site, Nameberry, analyzed the top 500 names in the U.S. that were used most often last year in red states versus […]
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on April 1st, 2020 at 4:17 pm
[…] And if you follow politics, well, Nameberry’s even got you covered there, with a fascinating look at the split between the U.S.’s traditionally “red” and “blue” names. […]
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