The “Most Regional” Baby Names in the U.S.

FlowingData recently used SSA data to determine the most regional baby names in the U.S. and create some very cool maps.

The analysis reveals the 10 “most regional” girl names and boy names for each decade-year since 1950, and also for 2012. Here are the lists for 2010 and 2012:

Girl Names, 2010 Boy Names, 2010 Girl Names, 2012 Boy Names, 2012
1. Daisy
2. Alexandra
3. Annabelle
4. Julia
5. Presley
6. Paige
7. Mya
8. Cadence
9. Charlotte
10. Lexi
1. Santiago
2. Theodore
3. Josiah
4. Ryker
5. Connor
6. Colby
7. Justin
8. Ryan
9. Jaxon
10. Jake
1. Ayla
2. Delilah
3. Sydney
4. Aubree
5. Stephanie
6. Juliana
7. Aria
8. Tessa
9. Natalie
10. Abigail
1. Santiago (again)
2. Nicolas
3. Josiah (again)
4. Aidan
5. Lane
6. Elias
7. Braylon
8. Gabriel
9. Dalton
10. Jose

Ryker, 4th on the 2010 boys’ list, is one I’ve been wondering about ever since I noticed it was the 12th most popular boy name in Utah last year.

Baby Name Ryker, Regional Popularity, 2010
© FlowingData
Here’s more detail on Ryker’s popularity in Utah:

  • 2012: 168 baby boys named Ryker in Utah (ranked 12th)
  • 2011: 154 baby boys named Ryker in Utah (ranked 19th)
  • 2010: 136 baby boys named Ryker in Utah (ranked 26th)
  • 2009: 151 baby boys named Ryker in Utah (ranked 24th)
  • 2008: 129 baby boys named Ryker in Utah (ranked 37th)

And here are the numbers for Idaho:

  • 2012: 51 baby boys named Ryker in Idaho (ranked 32nd)
  • 2011: 49 baby boys named Ryker in Idaho (ranked 41st)
  • 2010: 53 baby boys named Ryker in Idaho (ranked 33rd)
  • 2009: 53 baby boys named Ryker in Idaho (ranked 36th)
  • 2008: 34 baby boys named Ryker in Idaho (ranked 84th)

So far I don’t have a good theory about what made Ryker so popular in Utah/Idaho. Blogger Jessie Jensen tells me Ryker fits well with the region’s mix-n-match name trend, but I still wonder if some initiating event (sports? religion?) didn’t jump-start things for Ryker say in the 2003-2008 range. Anyone have a guess?

P.S. While we’re talking Utah mysteries, Claire is another name I’ve been wondering about. It ranked 10th there last year. (Also 12th in D.C. and 20th in MN.) Any ideas on Claire?


4 thoughts on “The “Most Regional” Baby Names in the U.S.

  1. My best friend has a Ryker that she named after a place called Rykers Ridge where she grew up in Madison, Indiana. Maybe Ryker is a place name or common surname in Utah and Idaho?

  2. Could be! Certainly can’t rule anything out at this point.

    Typically, trendy names are popularized by some sort of event, or something new (a new TV show, a newly famous person). So, whatever it was, my guess is that it suddenly caught a lot of people’s attention a few years back.

  3. They are far enough away from New York that the first thing they think of when they hear the name isn’t Rikers Island, I guess. Maybe there is an exceptionally high concentration of Star Trek: The Next Generation fans there who like names with ‘Y’ instead of ‘I’ in them.

  4. Interesting development regarding Ryker: It didn’t increase by much in Idaho last year, and went down in Utah, but jumped quite a bit in various other states from 2012 to 2013.

    Most dramatic increase might Oklahoma’s 42 baby boys (2012) to 103 baby boys (2013).

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