|TOP GIRLS' NAMES BY STATE, 2015|
|TOP BOYS' NAMES BY STATE, 2015|
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:
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:
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!
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.