The top baby names in America are Liam and Emma, but are they tops where you live? Depending on the part of the country you hail from, you may be more likely to meet a little Oliver or Ava. Here are the favorite names of every U.S. state.
|TOP GIRLS' NAMES BY STATE, 2017|
|TOP BOYS' NAMES BY STATE, 2017|
Some notable trends:
The names of the North: Oliver and Evelyn. Oliver is a top-3 name in 17 states, spanning the northern U.S. from coast to coast. Evelyn is less dominant but shows a similar pattern, ranking near the top in states from Washington to Minnesota to Vermont.
The name of the South: Ava. Ava declined slightly nationwide, but it has a firm hold on the Southeast. It's the #1 girl's name in 8 locales: Alabama, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The letter V is having a moment. Did you notice what the three names I just discussed had in common? Almost every state has at least one top name containing a v.
Liam is the real deal: a nationwide hit. Liam and/or William ranks top 3 in 48 states.
But local color still shines through. Distinctive local choices include Aurora in Alaska; Lucas in Florida and Rhode Island; Aria in Hawaii; Lincoln in Maine and South Dakota; and Santiago in New Mexico.
More from the most popular names stats:
Nothing symbolizes today's unbounded baby name style like names that are literally out of this world. Parents are looking for something new and striking, and more and more of them are willing to reach beyond our earthbound reality to find it.
This year, dozens of names from the heavens and imagined worlds entered the land of baby names. Each of the names below just appeared in the U.S. name stats for the first time ever. That means each was given to at least five American girls or boys born last year.
Eleven and Friends of Stranger Things. Image: netflix.com
Eleven — A girl with psychokinetic powers in the tv series Stranger Things
Quinzel — Dr. Harleen Quinzel, the alter ego of D.C. Comics evildoer Harley Quinn
Rwby — The series RWBY, pronounced "ruby," which takes its name from the initials of its four main characters (and their colors red, white, black and yellow)
Scylla — One of a pair of monsters who menaced a narrow strait in Greek mythology
Eclipse — A real-world celestial event, the Great American Eclipse swept the country in August
Xayah — A rebel in the game League of Legends
Luminara — A Jedi Master in the Star Wars universe
Skadi — A skiing mountain goddess in Norse mythology
Lunafreya — A protagonist of the video game Final Fantasy XV
Jyn — Alliance fighter Jyn Erso of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Xenovia — A student and holy sword wielder in the anime series High School DxD
Maze — Nickname of Mazikeen, a beautiful demon on the tv series Lucifer
Cersei —The scheming queen Cersei Lannister of Game of Thrones
Amun-Ra — Chief deity of the Egyptian Empire
Lupin — Harry Potter's Professor Remus Lupin (from the word lupine, "wolflike")
Aerys — The Mad King Aerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones
Vision — Marvel superhero, a synthetic human with multiple powers
Noctis — A protagonist of the video game Final Fantasy XV
Bender — A robot in the animated series Futurama
Meliodas — The father of Tristan in Arthurian legend...and more relevantly for current baby names, one of the "Seven Deadly Sins" of anime and manga
Enlil — Ancient Mesopotamian air and storm god; like many ancient deity names, it also pops up in games and comics
Corvo — A character in the video game Dishonored (from the Italian/Portuguese for "crow")
Khepri — The ancient Egyptian creation god
Kubo — Stop-motion fantasy film Kubo and the Two Strings
Leoric — Skeleton king of the Diablo video games
Cygnus — A constellation, "the swan"
Elysian — The Elysian Fields were the paradise of heroes in Greek mythology
Lorian — Fighter in the video game Dark Souls III
Khepri — The ancient Egyptian creation god
Aether — A Greek primordial deity and classical element that frequently occurs as a fantasy concept/substance
Benjen — Ranger Benjen Stark of Game of thrones
Ekko — A League of Legends character, "the boy who shattered time"
D'Leh — Mammoth hunter from the film 10,000 B.C.
Tolkien — Writer J. R. R. Tolkien was a mere earthling, but he's the spiritual father of generations of fantasy worlds
The top baby names make the headlines, but the lessons to be found in the national name statistics run deeper. Here are some quick observations from a first look through this year's stats.
The average American babies today are named Brinley and Miguel. Parents continue to shy away from names considered "popular," and the top of the name charts represents an ever-shrinking percentage of American babies. It now takes 504 names to account for half of babies born, up from 470 two years ago and just 80 names back in the 1950s. And the "average" baby—at the 50% point of popularity—receives a name that's fairly uncommon nationwide, and concentrated in specific communities. That means names are sending ever-stronger signals about where a child comes from.
Politicians are still a no-go zone for baby naming. Political families, though, are a different matter. Every new American president used to be honored by a slew of namesakes. Warren G. Harding's election led to hundreds of little Hardings, along with thousands of Warrens. Today Americans actively avoid names of living politicians, but treat political family members like ordinary celebrities: if their names are attractive, they'll rise.
The names Barack and Obama were barely blips on the radar during the Obama administration, but Malia and Sasha soared. Similarly, Melania is now a fast riser and Ivanka saw an uptick, but the decline of Donald accelerated and absolutely nobody was named Trump. An American baby is now more likely to be named Nixon than Donald and Trump put together.
Game of Thrones is a powerhouse—but only for girls. The Game of Thrones fantasy franchise has been criticized for its treatment of female characters. In the baby name arena, though, the women are the big winners. Arya, Khaleesi and Lyanna are fast risers that now rank among the top 1,000 American names. Daenerys, Brienne, and even Cersei are climbing too. No male character names rose (unless you count Jorah, which also benefited from the search for underused biblical names).
EDIT: Digging deeper into the vast realm of GoT names, this difference isn't as—ahem—"stark" as I initially thought. Girls' names definitely dominate, but there were upticks in the names Benjen, Renly and Aerys for boys.
The "exalted" name trend continues to grow. The names King, Queen, Prince and Princess all rose in popularity, and Kaiser, Kyng, Legacy and Reign made top-1,000 debuts. A slew of creative exalted names were new to the stats, meaning they were given to five or more babies. (A sampling: Almighty, Empryss, SirPrince, and the back-to-basics choice God.) We even saw a comeback for the name Milady (read more about the surprising history of this name).
Hollywood parents have nothing on the rest of America. The next time you read about how Hollywood types choose out-of-touch names, remember that these names all rank among the 1,000 most popular boys' names across the country:
Creed, Achilles, Kal-El, Kylo, Jericho, Blaze, Darwin, Huxley, Draven, Ridge, Cairo, Castiel, Cannon, Kannon, Jaxiel, Dash, Anakin, Zaire, Tripp, Elvis, Crew, Cain, Zechariah, Ares, Stetson, Sincere, Titan, Talon, Valentino, Jagger, Memphis, Boston, Apollo, Lennon, Zion, Uriah, Leonidas, Nixon, Eden, Lyric, Otto, Atlas, Hendrix, Bodhi, Adonis, Ace, Cash, Phoenix, Messiah, Knox, Maximus, Axl.
Welcome to the new normal.