Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Difference Between Montana and Maine

The popularity of a baby name is most commonly measured on the national level - what is the most popular girl/boy baby name in the United States?  It's a good statistic to know and I've certainly written about it...multiple times.  But, am I the only one who's finding that the national popularity of a name can have little (or no) bearing on the popularity in the area that you live or the people (and babies) you hang around?

Of the six baby girls that I know, two are named Charlotte and two are named Avery.  It seems that Charlotte and Avery are popular name choices in the Boston metro north area.  Meanwhile, last week I had dinner (delightful Cuban food) with a Brooklyn friend who had never heard of a baby girl being named Avery.  She did however know many, many, MANY baby boys named Luca.  Luca?  For a boy?  Apparently it's a smokin' hot trend in some Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Turns out I'm the only one who considers Luca a girl's name

Luca Toni

Luca Argentero

Lenny Montana as Luca Brasi (The Godfather)

The conversation inspired me to find region specific data for baby names.  Below are two lists of the most popular baby names (in 2010) by state (according to the Social Security Administration).  You'll notice that there is a variety of boy names and only a handful of girl names.  Interesting.  Certain regions like the same names, which makes sense.  The Tri-State area (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) loves Michael.  The Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington) is a united front when it comes to both boy and girl names.  Iowa is a path less travelled kinda state when it comes to name popularity, choosing Ava and Noah.


  • Ava - Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota
  • Emma - Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Montana, North Carolina
  • Isabella - Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming
  • Madison - District of Columbia, Mississippi, South Carolina
  • Olivia - Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, Virginia
  • Sophia - Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin


  • Alexander - Illinois
  • Elijah - Indiana, New Mexico
  • Jacob - Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia
  • James - Wyoming
  • Jayden - Florida, Louisiana
  • Logan - New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
  • Mason - Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin
  • Michael - Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania
  • Noah - Hawaii, Iowa
  • Owen - Maine
  • Ryan - Massachusetts
  • William - Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia
  • Wyatt - Montana

Now, I'm about to blow your mind.  Have you found the website Baby Namescape?!  Clear your calendar for the next 36 hours and get ready to greatly depreciate your vision (from staring endlessly at your computer screen).  This website allows you to see the most popular baby names by State, City and Hospital - IN REAL TIME.  It's updated daily, as far as I can tell.  Here is a quick look at the range of name popularity across our great nation earlier this week (girl and boy).

  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Jordyn and Mason
  • San Diego, California - Natalie and Daniel
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Mia and Jayden
  • Cincinnati, Ohio - Emma and William
  • Las Vegas, Nevada - Emily and Anthony
  • Buffalo, New York - Gianna and Jackson
  • El Paso, Texas - Sophia and Santiago

The moral of the post: there are never enough resources to assist in the baby name selection process.


Kendall (On An Inhale) said...

I LOVE the name Luca...for a girl!!! I would name my daughter that in a heart beat!

Leah (it's me) said...

Kendall - YAY! I love Luca for a girl too. Kelly Taylor from 90210 (aka Jennie Garth) named her eldest daughter Luca Bella.