The Boys' Names that Define Your State's Style

Jun 7th 2017

Baby name popularity charts give us an illusion of consensus. OK, yes, pretty much all of America likes the name Liam. But once you get past the top handful of names local tastes take over, and they're as diverse as the country itself.

To reveal these local tastes, I've compared state-by-state name popularity to nationwide trends, looking for the places where each community veers farthest from the common path. My targets were the names that define the unique style of every state in the union. Not only are these names individually popular in their listed states, but they help paint a general portrait of local style. An area that's partial to the names Adrian and Sebastian, for instance, will lean toward other elegant global names like Damian and Julian as well. Meanwhile a hotbed of Braxtons and Bentleys will also have plenty of boys named Jaxon and Brantley.

Images: Shutterstock/Karpova, Shutterstock/Tetiana Kovbasovska, Pixabay/rmt

Most of the names below will be familiar, but some may be new to you. If so, chances are there's a local story behind them. Paxson and Hatcher, for example, are place names in Alaska as well as perfect fits for Alaskan name trends. And for a trivia challenge, look for at least two names below that honor their states' college football stadiums.

Browse through to get a real taste of the diversity of American baby name style – and a sense of where you might feel most at home. 

Alabama William Karson Brantley John
Alaska Paxson Hatcher Logan Kyler
Arizona Jesus Santiago Julian José
Arkansas Rhett Bentley Grayson Case
California Mateo Julian Sebastian    Damian
Colorado Brecken Theodore Orion Wyatt
Connecticut Nicholas Ryan Cameron Connor
Delaware Michael Logan Caleb Ian
D.C. Henry Alexander    Max Samuel
Florida Jayden Jeremiah Lucas Thiago
Georgia Messiah Bryson Ashton King
Hawaii Ezekiel Kainoa Keanu Kai
Idaho Bridger Weston Lincoln Ridge
Illinois Theodore Jack Henry Leo
Indiana Lincoln Braxton Graham Nolan
Iowa Owen Kinnick Harrison Emmett
Kansas Hudson Rhett Hunter Lane
Kentucky Brantley Waylon Colton Jaxon
Louisiana Kingston Karter Luke Cohen
Maine Finn Wyatt Silas Owen
Maryland Dylan Camden Nathan Chase
Massachusetts Benjamin Jack Thomas Colin
Michigan Carter Blake Nolan Brady
Minnesota Henry Bennett Calvin Oliver
Mississippi Kingston John Princeton Karter
Missouri Henry Hudson August Easton
Montana Bridger Owen Ryker Lincoln
Nebraska Ryker Barrett Braxton Cooper
Nevada Sebastian    Adrian Damian Leonardo
New Hampshire      Owen Wesley Parker Jackson
New Jersey Matthew Moshe Joseph Nicholas
New Mexico Santiago Josiah Ezekiel Elijah
New York Moshe Nicholas Chaim Ryan
North Carolina Bryson Grayson William Landon
North Dakota Easton Oliver Beckett Asher
Ohio Carter Lincoln Grayson Grant
Oklahoma Jaxon Ryker Cooper Jett
Oregon Miles Ryder Henry Ezra
Pennsylvania Connor Chase Declan Cole
Rhode Island Julian Benjamin Michael Jameson
South Carolina Thomas Kingston Messiah James
South Dakota Sawyer Hudson Brooks Lincoln
Tennessee Elijah Waylon William Neyland
Texas Jose Juan Luis Angel
Utah Hyrum Porter Beckham Boston
Vermont Owen Wyatt Sawyer Oliver
Virginia James Jackson Charles Gabriel
Washington Theodore Henry Emmett Wesley
West Virginia Braxton Bentley Easton Colton
Wisconsin Henry Oliver Sawyer Jordy
Wyoming Wyatt Weston Corbin Bridger


Read More: The Girls' Names that Define Your State's Style


June 7, 2017 2:16 PM

"look for at least two names below that honor their states' college football stadiums"

Hah, as soon as I saw that, I knew what one of the names for my current state would be. No idea what the other one is, though.

June 7, 2017 4:33 PM

I did a post at my (otherwise very slow these days) blog about one of the reasons I think Oliver doesn't rank as high in the U.S. as it does in many other English-speaking countries:

As it turns out using Laura's analysis the four states that have Oliver mentioned in this blog all have lower than average Hispanic populations (MN, ND, VT, and WI).

June 8, 2017 4:09 PM

I live on the border of 2 states.  Of the 8 names presented, there are only 2 that I actually like (and one I am meh about).  The rest I actively dislike.   I'm not at all surprised, as I find I am not a fan of most of the boy names I encounter.  I expect it will be the same for the girl list.

June 9, 2017 2:22 PM

Messiah and King? Georgians seem to like their exalting names, eh? 

June 10, 2017 10:22 AM

I live in Eastern PA in a pocket of Ryans.  (My sons both have good friends Ryan D.)  While it didn't make the PA list, it did make the nearby NY list.


June 10, 2017 10:58 AM

It's not college football but the Baltimore Orioles stadium is Camden Yards

June 20, 2017 12:13 PM

New York is interesting.   2 names are from the Orthodox Jewish Community  and two white, middle-class, back to the 80s style. 

June 20, 2017 12:13 PM

New York is interesting.   2 names are from the Orthodox Jewish Community  and two white, middle-class, back to the 80s style. 

June 20, 2017 12:15 PM

I think this is a major trend in the African American commuity.  Other boy name examples would be Royal, Adonis, and Saint.

June 20, 2017 12:17 PM

Regarding "exalted" names in Georgia; I think this is a major trend in the African American commuity.  Other boy name examples would be Royal, Adonis, Prince, and Saint.

June 20, 2017 12:18 PM

This supports my feeling that I'd NEVER want to live in West Virginia.  I don't get naming your kids after firearms.  yuck!!

June 21, 2017 4:48 PM

Neyland in Tennessee is the other!  Neyland Stadium at University of Tennessee in Knoxville!

July 16, 2017 6:12 AM

Love to see the list from Alaska, where I used to live. Paxson and Hatcher are both geographic names there. Paxson is a very small town (although Alaska is so sparsely populated that the tiny towns tend to be better known statewide than they would be other areas of the U.S.), and Hatcher Pass, an incredibly beautiful place about an hour's drive from Anchorage. 

Soundwise, Paxson is right on trend, and I noticed when I lived in Alaska -- a state with an enormous amount of state identity and pride -- that people were more inclined to use state-specific names for their children (and pets!) than in other states where I'd lived (New York and Pennsylvania). An acquaintance there named her son Paxson, and Sarah Palin used it as a middle name for one of her kids. So I'm not too surprised to see it's caught on with other parents as well.

August 4, 2017 3:56 PM

I'd like to see what the list would be like with no duplicates.

August 7, 2017 3:56 PM

What are the firearms on this list?

August 8, 2017 4:09 AM

That is the great attitude, in any case is simply not make each sence at all proclaiming about that mather. For all intents and purposes any strategy an abundance of thanks notwithstanding i had try to advance your own particular article into delicius in any case it is evidently a situation utilizing your data destinations would you be able to please recheck the thought. much obliged yet again. The Author Incubator