Monday, December 14, 2015

State Names

Good morning, readers!

Today, I'll be looking at which United States' names have made it into the 2014 Top 1000 baby names. With city names like Brooklyn, Madison, and Charlotte getting popular, let's expand to larger locations!

It looks like most state names go to the girls - only Dakota made the boys' list. Why is it that girls seem to be named after locations more often? Tell me your theories in the comments below!

At #201, this nickname-name and spelling variation of Callie or Kali has been rising steadily up the list since it debuted in 1997. Though it doesn't necessarily connect to the state of California (after which nine babies were named last year), it does coincide with the rise of "Cali" lifestyle gear in Southern California. It's a nice way to honor a favorite place, while still maintaining a distance.

This classic feminine name has been on the list since 1880, and after plummeting in popularity throughout the mid-20th century, it seems to be rising back up the list. Georgia is currently at #243 and rising - there are dozens of namesakes, real and fictional, who've kept the name visible in pop culture. It's also trending internationally - could it be the next Sophia?

This pretty southern favorite calls to mind plenty of songs and bands with the name Carolina - my personal favorite is James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind". (Check out last month's Saturday Jams post on Caroline/a, too!) It offers plenty of nicknames - Carrie, Lina, Caro - and can honor a slew of popular names like Charles, Carol, or Carl.

Originally a popular boy's name - Dakota got all the way up to #56 in 1995 - it began slipping when it became more popular for girls (leave it to the patriarchy to be that insecure). It's now at #360 for boys and #285 for girls. The name is American, through and through - it comes from a Sioux word for "friend" - with a pleasant melodic sound.

This was my grandmother's name - she went by Ginger or GG - and one of the most popular names of the 1920's. After a century of decreasing, it seems to be stabilizing at #581. But with the retro name trends resurfacing, Virginia might move up the list significantly. If you don't love the first two syllables, check out Dorothy, Margaret, or Alice for the 1920's flair.

While these names are the only ones who made the top 1000, there are quite a few others represented in birth announcements - Arizona, 100 girls; Indiana, 60 girls; Montana, 124 girls and 49 boys; Jersey, 137 girls and 10 boys; and Rhodes, 48 boys and 7 girls.


  1. My bet is the reason why you see many of those states' names used as girl's names is that their use as girl's names came first, and as states only came later. So, you can use one of them without the root/cause of the name being from the state, they could instead have a common cause.

  2. True! I suppose then my question would be why are girls' names used for places more often than boys'?

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