Which are the Most Popular State Names?
By Emily Cardoza
With city names like Brooklyn, Madison, and Charlotte getting popular, let’s expand to larger locations and consider the most popular names by state. So today, I’ll be looking at which United States’ names have made it into the 2014 Top 1000 baby names. Most of them go to the girls – only Dakota made it onto the boys’ list. Why is it that girls seem to be named after locations more often? You can let us know your theories in the comments below.
At #201, this nickname-name and spelling variation of Callie or Kali has been rising steadily up the list since it debuted in 1997. Though it doesn’t necessarily connect to the state of California (after which nine babies were named last year), it’s a nice way to honor a favorite place, while still maintaining a distance.
GeorgiaThis classic female name has been on the list since 1880, and, after plummeting in popularity throughout the mid-20th century, it seems to be rising back up the list. Georgia is currently at #243 and rising – there are dozens of namesakes, real and fictional, who’ve kept the name visible in pop culture. It’s also trending internationally – could it be the next Sophia?
CarolinaThis pretty southern favorite calls to mind a whole raft of songs and bands with the name Carolina – my personal favorite is James Taylor‘s “Carolina in My Mind”. (Check out my last month’s Saturday Jams post on Caroline/a, too It offers plenty of nicknames – Carrie, Lina, Caro – and can honor a slew of popular names like Charles, Carol, or Carl.
DakotaOriginally a popular boy’s name – Dakota got all the way up to #56 in 1995 – it began slipping when it became more popular for girls (leave it to the patriarchy to be that insecure). It’s now at #360 for boys and #285 for girls. The name is American, through and through – it comes from a Sioux word for “friend” – with a pleasant melodic sound.
VirginiaThis was my grandmother’s name – she went by Ginger or GG – and one of the most popular names of the 1920s. After a century of decreasing, it seems to be stabilizing at #581. But with the retro name trends resurfacing, Virginia might move up the list significantly. If you don’t love the first two syllables, check out Dorothy, Margaret, or Alice for a similar 1920’s flair.
While these names are the only ones who made it into the Top 1000, there are quite a few others represented in birth announcements – Arizona was used for 100 girls; Indiana, 60 girls; Montana**, 124 girls and 49 boys; Jersey, 137 girls and 10 boys; and Rhodes**, 48 boys and 7 girls.