The Most Popular Baby Names in Every U.S. State

May 11th 2016

 
Noah and Emma are America's top baby names, but do they take the crown in your state? Here are the new top names from coast to coast.

TOP GIRLS' NAMES BY STATE, 2015
State 1st 2nd 3rd
Alabama Ava Emma Olivia
Alaska Olivia Emma Aurora
Arizona Sophia Mia Emma
Arkansas Emma Olivia Ava
California Sophia Mia Emma
Colorado Emma Olivia Mia
Connecticut Sophia Emma Olivia
Delaware Ava Olivia Sophia
D.C. Genesis Ava Charlotte
Florida Isabella          Emma Sophia
Georgia Ava Olivia Emma
Hawaii Mia Emma Olivia
Idaho Olivia Emma Evelyn
Illinois Olivia Emma Sophia
Indiana Emma Olivia Ava
Iowa Emma Olivia Harper
Kansas Emma Olivia Harper
Kentucky Emma Olivia Ava
Louisiana Ava Emma Olivia
Maine Emma Olivia Amelia
Maryland Olivia Ava Sophia
Massachusetts Olivia Emma Sophia
Michigan Olivia Ava Emma
Minnesota Olivia Emma Evelyn
Mississippi Ava Emma Olivia
Missouri Emma Olivia Ava
Montana Emma Olivia Harper
Nebraska Emma Olivia Harper
Nevada Sophia Olivia Mia
New Hampshire          Olivia Charlotte          Emma
New Jersey Emma Isabella Sophia
New Mexico Mia Sophia Isabella
New York Olivia Emma Sophia
North Carolina Ava Emma Olivia
North Dakota Ava Emma Olivia
Ohio Emma Ava Olivia
Oklahoma Emma Olivia Ava
Oregon Emma Olivia Sophia
Pennsylvania Olivia Emma Ava
Rhode Island Olivia Emma Sophia
South Carolina Ava Olivia Emma
South Dakota Harper Emma Olivia
Tennessee Emma Ava Olivia
Texas Emma Sophia Mia
Utah Emma Olivia Charlotte
Vermont Emma Ava Harper
Virginia Emma Ava Olivia
Washington Olivia Emma Sophia
West Virginia Emma Ava Olivia
Wisconsin Emma Olivia Evelyn
Wyoming Emma Harper Olivia

 

TOP BOYS' NAMES BY STATE, 2015
State 1st 2nd 3rd
Alabama William James John
Alaska Liam Noah James
Arizona Noah Liam Alexander
Arkansas William Elijah Mason
California Noah Jacob Ethan
Colorado Liam William Jackson
Connecticut Noah Mason Alexander
Delaware Mason Noah Liam
D.C. William Henry James
Florida Liam Noah Jacob
Georgia William Noah Mason
Hawaii Noah Liam Mason
Idaho Liam William Oliver
Illinois Noah Liam Alexander
Indiana Liam Noah Oliver
Iowa Liam William Oliver
Kansas Liam William Mason
Kentucky William Mason Elijah
Louisiana Noah Mason Liam
Maine Liam Owen Mason
Maryland Noah Logan James
Massachusetts Benjamin          William Noah
Michigan Noah Liam Carter
Minnesota Henry Oliver William
Mississippi William John James
Missouri Liam William Mason
Montana William Liam Wyatt
Nebraska Henry William Liam
Nevada Noah Liam Alexander
New Hampshire         Jackson Benjamin          Owen
New Jersey Liam Michael Jacob
New Mexico Noah Elijah Liam
New York Liam Jacob Ethan
North Carolina William Noah Mason
North Dakota Liam Oliver Carter
Ohio Liam Mason Noah
Oklahoma Elijah Jaxon William
Oregon Liam Henry Oliver
Pennsylvania Mason Liam Noah
Rhode Island Noah Liam Mason
South Carolina William James Mason
South Dakota Oliver Owen Liam
Tennessee William James Elijah
Texas Noah Liam Jacob
Utah William Oliver James
Vermont Liam Oliver Jackson
Virginia William Noah Liam
Washington Oliver Noah Liam
West Virginia Noah Liam Mason
Wisconsin Oliver Owen Liam
Wyoming Liam Mason Benjamin

 

For boys, Liam ranks #1 in the most states (16) followed by Noah (13) and William (12). It's likely that a good number of those Williams will go by Liam, suggesting that Liam's popularity might be even be greater than its official ranking. Emma is a more universal favorite, ranking #1 in 22 states and making the top 3 in every state except Delaware, Maryland, Nevada and New Mexico.

Some distinctive local flavor: Aurora is uniquely popular in Alaska, suggesting the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), and cowboy classic Wyatt cracks in the top 3 in Montana. Regional favorites include William in the Southeast, Oliver in the upper Midwest and Mia in the Southwest.

More from the most popular names stats:

The Top 1000 Names in America
The Fastest Rising Girls' Names of the Year
The Fastest Rising Boys' Names of the Year

 

The Baby Name Pool: Hail the Victors

May 11th 2016


Hundreds of name-loving people tried to guess the fastest rising and falling names of the year in our annual Baby Name Pool. Only one can be crowned champion. A round of applause for Kat from Seattle, Washington who made these winning predictions:

Rising Names: Oliver, Adalynn, Thea
Falling Names: Sophia, Jayden, Justin

Kat took a data-focused approach to name trends. In her words, "I used your formula, a little bit of Python magic with the SSA dataset to find out top scorers from last year, and some guesswork to pick my top names." She describes the allure of baby name data: "It's a mix of experience with names, availability of name lists, compromise between parents - what wonderful insight into choices modern parents make."

 

This year's Name Pool was unusual in that scores were just as high for falling predictions as rising. That's due in large part to the historic drop in the name Isis, which more than a dozen Pool participants predicted. A special tip of the cap to Elizabeth of Toronto, Ontario who pulled off the rare feat of predicting the fastest-falling names for both boys and girls (Jase and Isis).

Elizabeth too understands the joys of a fresh batch of name data. "Every spring for the last ten years or so, I've downloaded the new list of all names given to five or more babies, and spend a few evenings through the year playing around with the data" she says. "That's how I taught myself Excel."

Thank you to all of this year's Pool participants. And it's never too soon to start taking notes for next year's edition!

 

Read More:
The Fastest Rising Girls' Names of the Year

The Fastest Rising Boys' Names of the Year

Is Isis the Fastest-Falling Baby Name of All Time?

May 7th 2016


As I tallied up the biggest baby name trends of the year, one declining name stood out. The name Isis has become one of the fastest-falling, or "most poisoned," baby names of all time. The Egyptian goddess name, which became linked to a brutal jihadist group, lost 70.5% of its U.S. popularity in a single year. That edges out the 70.2% drop the name Hilary experienced in 2003.

Here's the recent history of babies named Isis in graphical terms:

 For perspective, compare to the effect of World War II on the popularity of the names Adolph/Adolf and Benito:

 

The decline in Isis is arguably the steepest one-year decline ever recorded. In 2013, statistician Hilary Parker analyzed historical data and concluded that her own name Hilary held the record for the biggest percentage drop among baby names with a prior multiyear record of popularity. Parker dubbed it the "most poisoned" name ever. Isis fell by an even higher percentage, which could set a new mark. On the other hand, Hilary started out from a higher popularity point, meaning more babies were affected. My own "name hotness formula" would take this into account and give Hilary the edge.

Regardless of whether the decline of Isis is a record holder, it's fair to say it represents a historically dramatic impact of world events on names. This negative effect comes even as positive effects of politics and world events on names disappear. Parents used to routinely name babies after political and military heroes; now they steer far clear of political homages. Notably, the decline of the name Hilary (and a similar fall for Hillary) coincided with the first Clinton administration.

Names from movies, sports, tv and music can still soar as well as sink. But when it comes to reminders of the more serious world around us – in tragedy, and even in triumph – today's baby names go in only one direction: down.