The Most Popular Baby Names for Every State in the USA

May 18th 2017

 
Noah and Emma are America's top baby names, but the local view can look very different. Here are the new top names from coast to coast.

TOP GIRLS' NAMES BY STATE, 2016
State 1st 2nd 3rd
Alabama Ava Emma Olivia
Alaska Emma Olivia Amelia
Arizona Emma Sophia Mia
Arkansas Ava Emma Olivia
California Mia Sophia Emma
Colorado Olivia Emma Charlotte 
Connecticut Olivia Charlotte Mia
Delaware Ava Olivia Emma
D.C. Ava Sofia Charlotte
Florida Isabella          Olivia Emma
Georgia Ava Olivia Emma
Hawaii Olivia Mia Emma
Idaho Emma Olivia Harper
Illinois Olivia Emma Sophia
Indiana Emma Olivia Ava
Iowa Olivia Emma Harper
Kansas Emma Olivia Charlotte
Kentucky Emma Ava Olivia
Louisiana Ava Olivia Emma
Maine Emma Charlotte Olivia
Maryland Ava Olivia Emma
Massachusetts Olivia Emma Charlotte
Michigan Ava Olivia Emma
Minnesota Evelyn Olivia Emma
Mississippi Ava Olivia Emma
Missouri Olivia Emma Charlotte
Montana Harper Olivia Emma
Nebraska Emma Harper Ava
Nevada Mia Sophia Ava
New Hampshire          Charlotte Emma          Olivia
New Jersey Mia Olivia Emma
New Mexico Mia Sophia Emma
New York Olivia Emma Sophia
North Carolina Ava Emma Olivia
North Dakota Harper Olivia Emma
Ohio Emma Ava Olivia
Oklahoma Emma Olivia Ava
Oregon Olivia Emma Sophia
Pennsylvania Emma Olivia Ava
Rhode Island Olivia Isabella Charlotte
South Carolina Ava Emma Olivia
South Dakota Emma Harper Olivia
Tennessee Emma Ava Olivia
Texas Emma Mia Sophia
Utah Olivia Emma Charlotte
Vermont Harper Charlotte Emma
Virginia Olivia Emma Ava
Washington Emma Olivia Sophia
West Virginia Harper Olivia Ava
Wisconsin Olivia Emma Ava
Wyoming Emma Olivia Ava

 

TOP BOYS' NAMES BY STATE, 2016
State 1st 2nd 3rd
Alabama William James John
Alaska Liam Oliver James
Arizona Liam Noah Sebastian
Arkansas Elijah William Mason
California Noah Matthew Ethan
Colorado Liam Noah Oliver
Connecticut Noah James Michael
Delaware Liam Michael Mason
D.C. William Alexander Henry
Florida Liam Noah Jacob
Georgia William Noah Mason
Hawaii Noah Liam Ethan
Idaho Oliver Liam Mason
Illinois Noah Liam Alexander
Indiana Oliver Liam Elijah
Iowa Oliver Owen William
Kansas Benjamin Henry William
Kentucky William Elijah James
Louisiana Liam Noah Mason
Maine Liam Owen Benjamin
Maryland Noah Mason Liam
Massachusetts Benjamin          William James
Michigan Noah Mason Benjamin
Minnesota Henry Oliver William
Mississippi William James Mason
Missouri William Liam Mason
Montana James Liam Owen
Nebraska Liam Henry Oliver
Nevada Liam Alexander Noah
New Hampshire         Noah William          Owen
New Jersey Liam Noah Matthew
New Mexico Elijah Noah Liam
New York Liam Jacob Noah
North Carolina William Noah Mason
North Dakota Oliver William Easton
Ohio Liam Noah Carter
Oklahoma Liam Elijah Oliver
Oregon Oliver Henry William
Pennsylvania Noah Liam Mason
Rhode Island Liam Noah Benjamin
South Carolina William Noah James
South Dakota Oliver Liam Owen
Tennessee William James Elijah
Texas Noah Liam Sebastian
Utah Oliver William Liam
Vermont Owen Oliver Wyatt
Virginia William Noah James
Washington Liam Benjamin Oliver
West Virginia Mason Noah Liam
Wisconsin Oliver Henry Liam
Wyoming Wyatt Liam William

 

The boy's name that ranks #1 in the most states is not Noah but Liam, with William (which can yield the nickname Liam) second most common. For girls Emma takes the most states at 16, and the a-ending trio of Emma, Olivia and Ava account for the top spots in 40 states from coast to coast.

The top regional trend is Oliver's reign over the upper Midwest and West. Oliver is the #1 choice of Idaho, Indiana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin, but doesn't crack the top 3 anywhere in the Southeast. In an interesting demographic pattern, surnames are most favored in rural areas across the country. Harper, for instance, is the top girl's name in Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia, and Wyatt cracks the top 3 for boys in Wyoming and Vermont.

Finally, a symbolic moment of change: John no longer ranks among the top 3 boys' names anywhere in America.

More from the most popular names stats:

The Top 1000 Names in America
The Big Trend: The Age Of Bold Baby Names
The Fastest-Falling Baby Names of the Year
The Fastest Rising Girls' Names of the Year
The Fastest Rising Boys' Names of the Year

 

The Age of Bold Baby Names

May 17th 2017


Bold. Powerful. Audacious. If this year's fast-rising baby names had a theme, it was "no limits." Parents are no longer afraid to go big, choosing names that past generations didn't dare consider. From kings and gods to superheroes and even supervillains, we've entered an age of unprecedented baby name boldness.


Images: flickr/milst1, pottermore.com

What does that boldness look like? To start with, the names below all ranked among the top 1,000 names for boys or girls last year, all rising in popularity from the year before:

Ace (M)
Adonis (M)
Anakin (M)
Ares (M)
Athena (F)
Atlas (M)
Cannon (M)
Heaven (F)
Heavenly (F)
Kal-El (M)
Khaleesi (F)
King (M)
Kingsley (M)
Kingston (M)
Kylo (M)
Legend (M)
Maverick (M)
Maximus (M)
Messiah (M)
Miracle (F)
Odin (M)
Orion (M)
Prince (M)
Princess (F)
Princeton (M)
Reign (F)
Royal (F, M))
Royal (M)
Royalty (F)

And here's a sampling of some fast risers outside the top 1,000:

Ajax (M)
Azazel (M)
Bellatrix (F)
Danger (M)
Dionysus (M)
Divine (F, M)
Empress (F)
Flash (M)
Great (M)
Jezebel (F)
Judas (M)
Kaiser (F, M)
Lex (F, M)
Lucifer (M)
Majestic (M)
Majesty (F, M)
Pharaoh (M)
Queen (F)
Riot (M)
Saint (M)
Sovereign (F, M)
Supreme (M)
Valkyrie (F)
Winner (M)
Zeus (M)

I've written before about the rise of "exalted names" that suggest royalty and divinity. I described them as names crafted to inspire and celebrate, "demanding that this child will be valued and respected." I stand by that description, but this year's rapid rise of power names on the dark side (like Lucifer, Bellatrix and the #1 fastest-rising boy's name Kylo) points to a broader phenomenon.

The name lists above cast a wide net. Ace, Messiah, Dionysus, Majestic, Kal-El and Jezebel are all over the cultural and stylistic map. Individually, each represents a single family's heartfelt decision with a personal story behind it. Collectively, they may well signal a fundamental shift in the enterprise of naming babies.

Over the past generation, parents turned away from the idea of a "normal name": the assumption that we choose our babies' names from an established pool of options. This freer attitude led to a flowering of new hit names. We saw more foreign imports like Giovanni; surnames like Cassidy; place names like Brooklyn; and sound-based inventions like Jayla. Each pushed the envelope gently, forging new territory while staying tethered to the traditional.

The new names break the tether. You can almost hear parents thinking, "I could actually do that. I could choose…anything." It's a veritable explosion of ambition, thrills, and raw id. We're naming with the safety off. Full throttle, full bore, no limits.

 

Read More: Baby Names Are Getting Ready to Rule

 

The Fastest-Rising Girls' Names of The Year

May 12th 2017


The fastest-rising girls' names of 2016 all sat at the intersection of celebrity and style. They were sparked by famous connections, but they're also perfect fits with the kinds of name sounds parents were already looking for.

#1. Kehlani
The singer Kehlani placed three singles high on the R&B charts in 2016. With her cross-genre musical style, multiethnic background, and eye-catching look heavy on tattoos and piercings, she makes a statement as a baby-name style setter.


Image:kehlanimusic.com

But as always, celebrity-driven baby names are as much about name as fame. Three-syllable names ending in -ani are soaring. The #1 fastest riser outside the top 1000 was Yurani (a telenovela character). Meilani was one of last year's fastest risers. And consider, too, how much Kehlani resembles this year's fastest-rising boy's name. Follow the sound.

#2. Adaline
Last year's #1 fastest riser is proving it's a legitimate phenomenon. Boosted by the film "The Age of Adaline," this sweet old-timer is officially back. The spelling Adeline (see #4 below) overtook Madeline in popularity for the first time this year.

#3. Royalty
The name of a daughter of singer Chris Brown, Royalty is just one of a bumper crop of exalted word names climbing the charts. From Amazing to Zeus, any name that puts the baby on a pedestal is a likely hit.

#4. Adeline
(see Adaline above)

#5. Aviana
#6. Avianna

Actress Amy Adams named her daughter Aviana, inspired by the Aviano Air Base in Italy where she lived as a child. It doesn't take a personal connection to see the name's appeal, though. In December when we highlighted Aviana & Avianna as new names to watch for, we said: "With the names Ava, Arianna and Viviana all fresh hits, this name was just begging to happen."

…and the rest of the top 10:

#7. Remi

#8. Ariah

#9. Ophelia

 

READ MORE: 

America's Fastest-Rising Boys' Names: Feel the Force

Caitlyn at the Crossroads: The Fastest-Falling Baby Names of the Year