Most Popular Baby Names By State, 2011

May 19th 2012

In this roundup of hot names around America, the boys' chart gives the best sense of the country's regional diversity. Some notable examples:

Massachusetts: 1. William 1. Benjamin 3. Jacob
Montana: 1. Mason 2. Liam 3. Wyatt
New Jersey: 1. Michael 2. Ryan 3. Anthony
Hawaii: 1. Noah 2. Mason 3. Elijah 

Most Popular Girls' Names by State, 2011
State 1st 2nd 3rd
Alabama Emma Ava Madison
Alaska Olivia Emma Isabella
Arizona Sophia Isabella Emma
Arkansas Emma Isabella Addison
California Sophia Isabella Emily
Colorado Olivia Sophia Emma
Connecticut Sophia Isabella Olivia
Delaware Sophia Olivia Ava
Dist. of Columbia Sophia Ava Elizabeth
Florida Isabella Sophia Emma
Georgia Emma Isabella Madison
Hawaii Sophia Olivia Chloe
Idaho Emma Sophia Olivia
Illinois Sophia Olivia Isabella
Indiana Emma Olivia Ava
Iowa Emma Olivia Sophia
Kansas Sophia Emma Olivia
Kentucky Emma Isabella Sophia
Louisiana Ava Emma Isabella
Maine Emma Sophia Isabella
Maryland Sophia Olivia Isabella
Massachusetts Sophia Olivia Isabella
Michigan Olivia Sophia Emma
Minnesota Olivia Sophia Emma
Mississippi Madison Emma Ava
Missouri Emma Sophia Olivia
Montana Emma Madison Olivia
Nebraska Emma Sophia Olivia
Nevada Sophia Isabella Olivia
New Hampshire Sophia Olivia Emma
New Jersey Sophia Isabella Olivia
New Mexico Sophia Isabella Mia
New York Sophia Isabella Olivia
North Carolina Emma Ava Olivia
North Dakota Emma Ava Sophia
Ohio Emma Sophia Ava
Oklahoma Emma Sophia Isabella
Oregon Sophia Emma Olivia
Pennsylvania Sophia Emma Ava
Rhode Island Sophia Olivia Isabella
South Carolina Madison Emma Isabella
South Dakota Ava Emma Olivia
Tennessee Emma Isabella Ava
Texas Sophia Isabella Emma
Utah Olivia Sophia Emma
Vermont Emma Olivia Sophia
Virginia Sophia Emma Olivia
Washington Sophia Olivia Emma
West Virginia Isabella Emma Madison
Wisconsin Sophia Emma Ava
Wyoming Emma Olivia Addison

 

Most Popular Boys' Names by State, 2011
State 1st 2nd 3rd
Alabama William Mason James
Alaska Mason James William
Arizona Jacob Anthony Daniel
Arkansas William Jacob Mason
California Jacob Daniel Jayden
Colorado Liam Mason Noah
Connecticut Alexander Michael Mason
Delaware Michael Mason Ryan
Dist. of Columbia William Alexander Daniel
Florida Jayden Jacob Daniel
Georgia William Christopher Mason
Hawaii Noah Mason Elijah
Idaho Mason Jacob Liam
Illinois Alexander Michael Jacob
Indiana Mason Liam Elijah
Iowa Carter Mason Owen
Kansas Mason William Jacob
Kentucky William Mason Elijah
Louisiana Mason Jayden Aiden
Maine Mason Liam Jacob
Maryland Mason Jacob Michael
Massachusetts William Benjamin Jacob
Michigan Mason Jacob Noah
Minnesota Mason William Jacob
Mississippi William James Jayden
Missouri Mason William Noah
Montana Mason Liam Wyatt
Nebraska Mason Jackson William
Nevada Anthony Jacob Daniel
New Hampshire Mason Logan Liam
New Jersey Michael Ryan Anthony
New Mexico Jacob Elijah Michael
New York Michael Jacob Jayden
North Carolina William Mason Jacob
North Dakota Mason Carter Jacob
Ohio Mason Jacob Noah
Oklahoma William Mason Jacob
Oregon Mason Liam Logan
Pennsylvania Mason Michael Jacob
Rhode Island Mason Michael Benjamin
South Carolina William Mason Jayden
South Dakota Mason Carter William
Tennessee William Mason Elijah
Texas Jacob Jayden Daniel
Utah Mason William James
Vermont Liam William Mason
Virginia William Jacob Mason
Washington Mason Liam Alexander
West Virginia Mason Jacob Landon
Wisconsin Mason Liam William
Wyoming William Jacob Jackson

Comments

1
May 20, 2012 3:57 AM

I find it odd that the boys' lists are more diverse than the girls'.  I noticed this last year, too.  Just the effect of regional traditions being more strong for boys, or something else?

2
By Edith Bouvier Beale (not verified)
May 20, 2012 11:34 AM

What's the story with Carter in Iowa? It's #41 nation-wide, but #1 there. There's an important stadium there--Carver Hawkeye Arena--where the Univ. of Iowa hosts football games, and I know of at least one little Carver named in it's honor. Could Carter echo that? That seems kind of far-fetched. Other possibilities?

3
May 20, 2012 1:36 PM

Utah naming stats never let me down. That state truly is a naming cornacopia. The 36th most popular name for girls is Paisley and then the one that really left me scratching my head was number 69 for girls, Oakley. Would you consider this a luxery brand name in the same category as Bentley, Chanel or Armani? Does anyone know a real baby girl Oakley?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4
By J&H's mom (not verified)
May 20, 2012 2:29 PM

I don't know any Oakleys, but I've seen it on other naming sites in polls.

I don't think the moms using it associate it with the sunglasses.

I'm not sure where it started, but I think it's stylistically similar to Berkley, Presley, et. al...I can't associate it with anything other than poison oak, but that's probably a regional concern!

I have to say I'm gobsmacked by Mason. It's number one in my state, and I don't feel like I know any baby Masons. Btw, has anyone accounted for the Elsie jump? Similar to Ellie but appeals to traditionalists, perhaps?

5
By Delia (not verified)
May 20, 2012 2:44 PM

I'd guess Oakley refers to Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter who toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Perhaps a choice for fans of the 2nd Amendment?

6
By Sarah_SR (not verified)
May 20, 2012 6:02 PM

I was asking the same question about Iowa, but for the number 3 name: Owen. It's my 4-year old son's name, and I follow it's popularity closely - it's only 44 nationwide this year (peak so far) and we've never met another Owen his age or younger. What's up with Iowa??

7
By J&H's mom (not verified)
May 20, 2012 11:42 PM

Now, see-I feel like I hear Owen more than the top ones. :)

 

Out of curiousity, I looked up Oakley at another site. Guess what? Polls were almost equally divided among boy and girl babies. Many pollsters insisted it was a boys' name.

People using it on girls said it was unique and pretty. People using it on boys said it was trendy and modern and western.

So, maybe it's part of the preppy cowboy trend, but it has appeal to both genders? Trendy cowgirl? That's my analysis!

8
By Andrea 2 (not verified)
May 21, 2012 9:08 AM

There's quite a bit of regional diversity in the girls' names when you look at the top 10 in each state:

 

Amelia is No. 10 in Alaska and Vermont but isn't that high anywhere else. Charlotte is No. 9 in New Hampshire and No. 10 in Massachusetts, but nowhere near that high elsewhere. Mary is No. 10 in Mississippi, but is ranked below 100 nationally. Nevaeh is No. 4 in New Mexico and is the only state where it ranks in the top 10, much less the top 5. You can see the Mexican influence in Texas, where Sofia is in the top 10 along with Sophia. In Texas Camila, a very popular name in Mexico and with Hispanic Americans, is among the top 10. Aubrey appears to be more popular in the Southern states than elsewhere, since it is in the top 10 in Louisiana and Mississippi. Harper seems to be a major hit in the Midwest, where it is in the top 10 in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, higher than in other regions. Wikipedia has a list of the top 10 names for each state going back to 2008.

As for the boys' names, Carter has been quite popular for several years in the Midwestern states. I'm not sure why, though I'd guess it had something to do with John Carter from the TV show "E.R." Wyatt and Mason have also been quite popular in North Dakota for many years. I type honor rolls for my paper for North Dakota high school and there are a lot of teenage boys named Wyatt here.

9
By jaa (not verified)
May 21, 2012 10:14 AM

I have a 4-month old son named William, and when we decided on that name for him I was concerned about its top 5 status. When I looked at the state breakdowns for the name, though, it was surprising to me how it seems to be more prevalent in the southeastern states. It's only #17 in my state (TX), but in all the southeastern states except FL, it's #1 and has been for at least a decade. I know it's a classic name, but I just wonder why it's so overwhelmingly popular in the southeast. Any ideas?

10
By jaa (not verified)
May 21, 2012 10:21 AM

I have a 4-month-old William, and when I was considering names for him last year, it was striking to me how William was particularly prevalent in the southeastern states. I mean, it's in the top 20 pretty much everywhere (#17 in my state), but it's #1 in every southeastern state except Florida, and has been for over a decade. Anyone have an idea why that is?

11
By Andrea 2 (not verified)
May 21, 2012 10:40 AM

It's always interested me that William seems to be so popular in the South, too. Maybe people in those states just like more classic names for boys. Henry seems to be more popular in Washington D.C. and in some of the eastern states too, though that may have more to do with a lot of Yuppies living there. Henry strikes me as a very Yuppie name.

12
By CharlieInAZ (not verified)
May 21, 2012 3:54 PM

I suspect the Oakleys in Utah are being named after Elder Dallin Oaks. He's the current president of BYU and an apostle in the LDS church.  I know several teenaged LDS boys named Dallin.  Oakley sounds more modern, up-to-date and can used for either boys or girls.

13
By Valerie #2 (not verified)
May 22, 2012 1:13 PM

Very intriguing, especially on the boys' list!

Actually, I have met a little girl named Oakley (somewhere in the toddler region). She has a sister named Cecilia, an Italian mother, and a half-Asian American father, living in an educated area of Virginia.

I thought it was a very weird combination, so I actually asked them where the name Oakley came from. I think they said they just liked it. ::shrug::

14
May 22, 2012 3:08 PM

I'm from Louisiana (where the number 1 name this year is Mason). I think the prevalence of William in the southeast is influenced by the fact that it is still a strong tradition in this region to give baby boys at least one name that has family significance.  William has been a very popular name for more than 100 years so that increases the probability of it being a family name somewhere along the way (it's on several branches of my own family tree).  And while the same could be said for other classics, William is the one with the popular modern sounding nickname Liam and I suspect that gives William a large advantage (over say Thomas with it's not currently in style nickname Tommy) when parents are considering otpions from their family trees. 

15
By Manda (not verified)
May 22, 2012 4:11 PM

I wonder if these William's are being called William, or go by middle names instead.  I'm from Alabama, and generations of men in my family are named William X, and are called by their middle name.  I know just one person called William, and he is in his 30s.  

16
May 23, 2012 6:44 PM

i knew an Oakley in 1986 in Florida, they called her Oakey or Okefenokee (like the place) but her real name was Oakley, a very southern family. i remember they manufactured or sold air-boats!

17
By RB
May 25, 2012 12:29 PM

Speaking of Oakley and Utah, I was just talking to my husband this morning and wondering if Romney would take off as a first name (whether or not he gets elected). The style fits a bit with the western vibe and could be unisex. I wouldn't necessarily think it would be a tribute thing, just that the sound might appeal.

I know presidential names are "out" these days (except for long-dead presidents, who are probably not the main reference point for the name in most cases, cf. McKinley, Madison, Jackson, Harrison, Wilson, Lincoln, and now even Nixon, apparently!), so perhaps NOT getting elected would do more for the name?!

(BTW, it's fascinating to look at the graphs on for the first and last names of presidents. Their election could reliably cause a spike in either or both of the names until the late 20th century. There were even kids named Hoover. I'm sure I remember Laura doing a post on this a few years ago.)

18
By Mitch Barit (not verified)
May 26, 2012 3:54 AM

Name gives only identification to the human. every name is same.   vpn

 

19
By Beth the original (not verified)
May 26, 2012 1:30 PM

20 years from now, all the Sophias are going to have self-invented nicknames, like the Jennifers of the 70s.  So instead of Jenn, Jen, Jenni, Jennie, Genyphyr (I kid you not, I know one), there will be Soph, Sofe, Zo, Fia, Fee, Fifi, and so on.  I see this happening already.

20
May 29, 2012 1:43 PM

@Andrea2:

"Yuppie"? I think all those who used to be termed "yuppies" are long past their child-bearing years. Their kids are now in their teens and twenties.

21
August 20, 2012 10:56 PM

After this list is published, parents would think twice about naming their babes sophia or michael. This piece gives parents something to think about when naming their kids. Some names are just overdone. 

22
February 4, 2013 5:04 AM

Really can affect a parent's decision of giving names to babies. Unless, there will be a sudden changes to the list, for sure, parents will likely to think in going over the preferred names of the majority.

24
January 10, 2014 6:18 PM

It's number one in my state, and I don't feel like I know any baby Masons. Btw, has anyone accounted for the Elsie jump.   accumulator

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January 18, 2014 6:02 AM

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January 23, 2014 12:41 PM

The 36th most popular name for girls is Paisley and then the one that really left me scratching my head was number 69 for girls, Oakley.   mens pea coat

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January 27, 2014 5:34 AM

The style fits a bit with the western vibe and could be unisex. I wouldn't necessarily think it would be a tribute thing, just that the sound might appeal.   descargar ares

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29
February 3, 2014 5:39 AM

She has a sister named Cecilia, an Italian mother, and a half-Asian American father, living in an educated area of Virginia.  Clarisonic Mia 2

30
February 3, 2014 8:19 AM

I can't believe that Emma is such a popular name...Personally, i don't like it!

31
February 12, 2014 10:29 AM

Massachusetts: 1. William 1. Benjamin 3. Jacob
Montana: 1. Mason 2. Liam 3. Wyatt
New Jersey: 1. Michael 2. Ryan 3. Anthony
Hawaii: 1. Noah 2. Mason 3. Elijah  bubblegum casting

 

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In this roundup of hot names around America, the boys' chart gives the best sense of the country's regional diversity.    hae

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 The 36th most popular name for girls is Paisley and then the one that really left me scratching my head was number 69 for girls, Oakley.  golf driver review

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