What Are Your State’s Quirky Favorite Baby Names?

March 2, 2017 Abby Sandel
state baby names

By Joe Satran and Abby Sandel

States have official songs and sandwiches. So how about quirky favorite baby names?

It turns out that certain boy and girl names, rare in the US, are over-represented in certain states. Our intrepid researcher looked at every name given to at least 100 babies in 2015. Then he calculated the percentage of babies with that name born in every state. When ranked, the results revealed the rare names most concentrated in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Some of these are easily explained. A hundred baby boys were named Brigham in 2015, 23 of them in Utah. Less than 1 percent of all Americans live in Utah, so that’s 23 times higher than you might expect. But, of course, Brigham Young was an early leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, headquartered in Utah, so it’s not a surprise.

Yiddish names Shimon and Faigy are the quirky favorites in New York, where there’s the largest concentration of Hasidic Jews, while Spanish names Santana and Estevan are favored in New Mexico and Hawaiian names Kalea and Keanu are popular in, boom!, Hawaii.

And it does make sense that nature names Wren and Wilder are the Quirky Favorites of rural Vermont, 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 likely to pick names that are ethnic and traditional.

Other stands-outs are harder to explain. Why is Ophelia so prominent in Alaska? Or Brecken in Iowa? If you have the secret to why these names are the favorites in your state, please share with the class!

Here’s a map displaying the results for the girls — click for full size:

Girls Quirky Favorite Names

And here’s a map displaying the results for the boys — click for full size:

Here are all the quirky favorites by state:

State Boy Name Girl Name
AK Torin Ophelia
AL Dewayne Lynlee
AR Payton Kynslee
AZ Hiram Arleth
CA Arman Jaylene
CO Amias Aspen
CT Andreas Alessia
DC Zyaire Egypt
DE Makai Devyn
FL Jahmir Martina
GA Jarvis Ansley
HI Keanu Kalea
IA Brecken Kinzlee
ID Krew Oakley
IL Umar Jaylani
IN Ross Lucinda
KS Brogan Camdyn
KY Leeland Kenleigh
LA Tylan Jolie
MA Javian Maeve
MD Chaz Rhyan
ME Eliot Quincy
MI Hussein Yasmeen
MN Abdirahman Sumaya
MO Kelly Braylynn
MS Jakobe Deasia
MT Bridger Oakleigh
NC Juelz Ivey
ND Teagan Aspyn
NE Coy Juana
NH Davin Penny
NJ Yaakov Nechama
NM Estevan Santana
NV Kenji Laylani
NY Shimon Faigy
OH Jaron Bexley
OK Hagen Gentry
OR Cedar Zinnia
PA Yasir Maura
RI Domenic Amalia
SC Banks Hollis
SD Sutton Haddie
TN Courtney Briley
TX Mauro Renata
UT Brigham Oaklee
VA Aubrey Iman
VT Wilder Wren
WA Ransom Roslyn
WI Jordy Etta
WV Bryer Cambrie
WY Trace Taya

About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at

View all of Abby's articles


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