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What Are Your State’s Quirky Favorite Baby Names?

What Are Your State’s Quirky Favorite Baby Names?
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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:

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

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 namesage@nameberry.com.

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