Most Popular Baby Names By State

I’ve seen this graphic making its way around the Interwebs this weekend and thought I’d throw it up. I can’t say how accurate it is, but, if it’s true, then it would appear to indicate three  things. First, for boys, there’s a lot more regional variation in name choice than there is for girls. Second, for girls, there seems to be a fight to the death going on between Emma and Sophia.  Third, for both boys and girls Florida seems to be an outlier. (Click to enlarge)

Baby Names

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Isn’t Mason a girl’s name? o.O

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Okay, that was kind of weird. I was just this second writing a scene with two characters: Emma and Liam.

    Hmmm. I’ve captured the zeitgeist.

  3. @Stormy Dragon:

    Hmmm, apparently not. Now I’m wondering why it sounds like a girl’s name to me.

  4. Some names are interchangeable. I’ve met both boys and girls named Riley, for example.

  5. rudderpedals says:

    The boys names are almost alliterative. Mason, Jayden, Jacob.

    Emma Watson I get. Who is the Sophia?

  6. @rudderpedals: Sofia Vergara? But they’re spelling it wrong unless the makers of the image decided to normalize the spellings (i.e.,g put Sofia/Sophia/etc. as Sophia).

  7. @rudderpedals:

    I think Sophia has become popular again mostly because it has an exotic sound to it. Of course, in 60 years when there are a ton of Sophia’s and Emma’s hitting the Early Bird Special at Denny’s, some other names will most likely be popular for baby girls

  8. CSK says:

    If you teach, you can track the popularity of names. At one point, I had five Lisas in the room. More recently, I had three Sundays, and two Uniques, which meant they weren’t. Megan and Caitlin were big for a while. A friend of mine who taught at Ohio State for a year or so had six Lavernes in a freshman comp class.

    Years ago, I read a magazine article about people who claimed to have been kidnapped by extra-terrestrials. The women–all middle-aged–were named “Skye,” or “Amber,” or “Caresse.” I wondered why no one named Jane or Anne or Mary or Elaine gets kidnapped by space aliens.

  9. Jeremy R says:

    For some reason Mason made me think of the current Pinterest-fueled wedding craze of mason jars everywhere, often filled with layers of colored pebbles or striped straws or perhaps pink lemonade. I’ve attended three weddings in the past year or so, and all were chock full of mason jars.

  10. Mr. Replica says:


    (Carlin – Goofy Boy Names)

  11. rudderpedals says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Won’t be long before the early birds are seating
    tables of Tiffanys, Jennifers, Cyndis, Marcs (with a ‘c’) and Treys. I think you’re right about the exotic but not too exotic in a Sophia with a silent ‘Loren’.

    @Timothy Watson:

    She will do nicely. And doesn’t the regional distribution bear it out too, given demographics?

    @Jeremy R:

    Maybe it’s next in line Rock->Stone->Mason? Where does Mason come from, was there a kid in a boy band named Mason?

  12. superdestroyer says:

    Eight grade English class in the 190’s had three each of Bill, Tim, Scott, and David.

    Also, having had several jobs where records were kept for 1000’s of people, I have three simple rules: First, do not give you child an oddly spelled name. They just get to go through life with their name misspelled. Second, ff you have a last name that can be confused for a first name (like Martin), do not give your child a first name that can be confused with a last name. I was always amazed how many records had the first and last names reversed. And third, think about what the initials spell out. I was always amazed people who had initials that were embarrassing.

  13. rodney dill says:

    One would think there would be a veritable landslide of Baracks by now.

  14. M. Bouffant says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    It is a jar’s name. Or the last name of someone whose ancestors cemented stones & bricks together for a living.

    It should no more be anyone’s first or given name than Hunter, Taylor or any other occupational name. I hope we won’t be seeing people first-named Farmer, Cook or Sawyer very soon.

    Not even going to mention Freemasonry.

  15. M. Bouffant says:

    I am in complete agreement w/ sd here (which is a little disconcerting).

    I do wish they’d included the second, maybe even third most popular names as well, & indicated percentages. I doubt that many of the names shown were given to a plurality (let alone a majority) of each state’s newborns.

  16. Franklin says:

    @CSK: I have a hard time believing the story about 6 Lavernes; I’ve yet to hear of a single non-sitcom use of that name.

    On the other hand, I believe there was a girls’ high school basketball team a number of years back. The 5 starters were all named Caitlin, except with 4 different spelling variations IIRC.

  17. Franklin says:

    As a personal preference, every human and pet I’ve named has a “real” name with its traditional spelling, but not overly common and NEVER EVER the flavor-of-the-month.

  18. @rudderpedals: Maybe. I’m confused about Ava (New Hampshire), the only Ava I can think of is the character Ava Crowder on FX’s “Justified”.

    The same for Idaho with Olivia.

  19. superdestroyer says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    I would aos suggest that expecting parents look at the top 100 names from the previous year and avoid those names. Unless they want their child to go through life using their middle name, a nickname, or their last name, parents should avoid the most popular names.

  20. CSK says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Ava Gardner?

  21. Franklin says:

    @superdestroyer: Well, I’d probably qualify your advice as: look at the top 100 names and don’t pick any that suddenly appeared over the past few years. Those will surely date your kid later in life. On the other hand, names that are common and always have been, like Michael, are pretty inoffensive, even if I personally wouldn’t choose them.

  22. @CSK: Gardner died in 1990, I figured we were limiting ourselves to contemporary reasons for the choices of names.