This Landon's Your Land
Most of the charts I post here show changes in name usage over time. But you can learn just as much by looking at name usage over space. Plotting name popularity on a geographic map can give you a cultural perspective on the name...and sometimes, give you a naming perspective on the culture. For instance, the Naming Map of the United States I created last year divides the country into stylistic regions different from the demographic-based divisions we're used to seeing.
Today I'd like to share a map of a single name, a name I've been pondering since the state-by-state name rankings were announced in May. The boy's name Landon shows remarkable regional differences across the U.S. A top-five name in some states, it doesn't crack the top 100 in others. The distribution is far from random:
What drives the popularity of Landon in a region? Or to put it another way, what does the popularity of Landon signal about a particular community?
At first glance the map may resemble the most familiar color-coded map of modern times, the red-blue electoral map. The differences are significant, though. Landon appears to be a point of common ground between Texas and Illinois, for instance, and it divides New England into two camps (Connecticut and Massachusetts vs. the rest). The Landon rate does seem to have an inverse relationship to average income, but I have a feeling there's more to the story. So far though, I don't have anything definitive.
What do you see in the map of Landon America? And if you have a son named Landon, what drew you to the name and what kind of reaction have you received?