We know what the top names in the country were last year, but what about the top names in each state? Here’s the list, released just yesterday by the SSA. I’ve also included each state’s most popular unique names (i.e., names that only appeared in the data for that particular state).
Madge Evans was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in New York in 1909. Her birth name was Margherita Evans. Madge Kennedy was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1970s. She was born in Illinois in 1891. Madge was also a character name in multiple films, including The Tragedy of Ambition (short, 1914) and The Peace of Roaring River (1919).
Magda Foy was a child actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in New York in 1905. Her birth name was Magdalena Patricia Foy. Madga was also a character played by actress Gertrude Michael in the film I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby (1940).
Malvina Longfellow was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1889. Malvina Polo was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in California in 1903. Malvina was also a character name in multiple films, including Ann Vickers (1933) and Let’s Make Music (1941).
Marcelle Corday was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in Belgium in 1890. Marcelle Hontabat was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1916. She was born in New York in 1897. Marcelle was also a character name in multiple films, including The Way Out (1918) and 50 Million Frenchmen (1931).
Maud Allan was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1915. She was born in Canada in 1873. Her birth name was Beulah Maude Durrant. Maud was also a character played by actress Miriam Cooper in the film Daughters of the Rich (1923).
Maudie Dunham was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in England in 1902. Maudie was also a character name in multiple films, including Tell Your Children (1922) and Night After Night (1932).
Mayflower was a character played by actress Gladys Hulette in the film Secrets of Paris (1922).
Mayme Kelso was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Ohio in 1867. Mayme was also a character name in multiple films, including One Hundred Percent American (short, 1918) and The Mighty (1929).
It’s easy to figure out which baby names appeared on all (or most) of the state-specific baby name lists for 2017. But what about the rare names that only made one or two state lists?
A total of 1,324 names appeared on just one state list, and a total of 1,198 names appeared on two state lists. (I analyzed boy names and girl names separately, though, so several of these names did show up on extra lists as the other gender.)
Here’s a selection of the baby names that appeared on just one state list last year:
Neyland, 41 boys in Tennessee (out of 53 nation-wide)
Roel, 23 boys in Texas (out of 50 nation-wide)
Ariza, 22 girls in Arizona (out of 31 nation-wide)
Marty, 21 boys in Ohio (out of 66 boys, and 13 girls, nation-wide)
Venice, 20 girls and 5 boys in California (out of 44 and 12 nation-wide)
Kinnick, 19 boys in Iowa (out of 29 nation-wide)
Benuel, 17 boys in Pennsylvania (out of 26 nation-wide)
Barbie, 16 girls in Pennsylvania (out of 29 nation-wide)
Kainalu, 16 boys in Hawaii (out of 23 nation-wide)
Mahina, 16 girls in Hawaii (out of 22 nation-wide)
Taysom, 14 boys in Utah (out of 24 nation-wide)
Hatcher, 10 boys in Alaska (out of 40 nation-wide)
Talmage, 10 boys in Utah (out of 20 nation-wide)
Atlee, 8 boys in Ohio (out of 25 boys and 32 girls nation-wide)
Cruzito, 8 boys in New Mexico (out of 25 nation-wide)
Nizhoni, 8 girls in Arizona (out of 21 nation-wide)
California, 7 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Griffey, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 21 nation-wide)
Kodiak, 7 boys in California (out of 30 nation-wide)
Rainier, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 24 nation-wide)
Alabama, 5 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Boomer, 5 boys in Texas (out of 33 nation-wide)
Cleveland, 5 boys in Florida (out of 28 nation-wide)
Crockett, 5 boys in Texas (out of 10 nation-wide)
Ole, 5 boys in Minnesota (out of 21 nation-wide)
A lot of these have easy explanations (e.g., Neyland Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, Mount Rainier, Taysom Hill) or are logical in some other way (like “Ariza” in Arizona).
Two that I couldn’t figure out, though, were Marty in Ohio and Barbie in Pennsylvania. My assumption regarding Barbie is that it’s popular among the Amish. (Benuel too.) But I have no clue about Marty. Is it college sports…?
And here’s a selection of the baby names that showed up on two state lists in 2017:
Hyrum, 36 boys in Utah and 15 in Idaho (out of 88 nation-wide)
Ammon, 24 boys in Utah and 6 in Pennsylvania (out of 64 nation-wide)
Fannie, 18 in Pennsylvania and 6 in New York (out of 45 nation-wide)
Avenir, 11 boys in Washington state and 6 in California (out of 31 nation-wide)
Reverie, 8 girls in California and 5 in Illinois (out of 26 nation-wide)
Sunshine, 7 girls in Arizona and 7 in California (out of 55 nation-wide)
I was confused about Avenir a few years ago, but I’ve since found the answer: it’s the Russian form of the Biblical name Abner. Avenir has been popping up on West Coast state lists (WA, OR, CA) lately, which makes sense given the fact that several West Coast cities have relatively large Russian-American populations.
Have you had a chance to go over the state lists yet? If so, did you spot anything interesting?
On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have — or conceive! — a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that isn’t as audacious as Eclipse itself). So what are your options?
Names with “celestial” associations
A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…
The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. You could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…
Hi’ilei, 5, means “child (lei) held in the arms (hi’i).”
Ilihia, 5, means “excited” or “awe-stricken.”
Kawena, 5, means “the (ka) glow (wena).”
Kealani, 5, means “heavenly (lani) whiteness (kea).”
Lea, 5, is the name of a Hawaiian goddess.
Mahealani, 5, means “sixteenth day of the lunar month; night of the full moon” (source).
Nai’a, 5, means “dolphin.”
Noelani, 5, means “heavenly (lani) mist (noe).”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said Malia (ranked 21st overall) was the most popular Hawaiian name for girls in 2013, but Malia is is just the Hawaiian form of the non-Hawaiian name Mary, so I didn’t include it. I didn’t include several other names (like Keoni, Hawaiian for “John”) for the same reason.
Popular Hawaiian Names for Boys
Kai, 38 baby boys, means “sea.” Kai was the 19th most popular boy name overall in Hawaii last year.
Kainoa, 21, means “the (ka) namesake (inoa).”
Kaimana, 20, means “power (mana) of the sea (kai).”
Koa, 16, means “warrior, brave” or is a reference to the koa tree.
Nainoa, 11, means “the (na) namesakes (inoa)” — na is the article used for plural nouns.
Makoa, 10, means “fearless.”
Nakoa, 10, means “”the (ne) brave ones/koa trees (koa).”
Kana’i, 9, means “the (ka) conqueror (na’i).”
Makana, 9, means “gift.”
Ka’eo, 8, means “full of knowledge.”
Kahiau, 8, means “generous.”
Kainalu, 8, means “billowy (nalu) sea (kai).”
Keanu, 8, means “the (ke) coolness (anu).”
Noa, 8, means “commoner/free man.”
Kaleo, 7, means “the (ka) sound/voice (leo).”
Kamaha’o, 6, means “wondrous.”
Kanoa, 6, means “the (ka) commoner/free man (noa).”
Kekoa, 6, means “the (ke) brave one/koa tree (koa).”
La’akea, 6, means “sacred (la’a) white/light (kea).”
Makai, 6, means “toward (ma) the sea (kai).”
Mana, 6, means “supernatural or divine power.”
Alaka’i, 5, means “leader.”
Kaiea, 5, means “rising (ea) sea/tide (kai).”
Ka’imipono, 5, means “the (ka) seeker of righteousness (‘imi pono).”
Kalani, 5, means “the (ka) heavenly one/royal one (lani).”
Kamakani, 5, means “the (ka) wind (makani).”
Koamalu, 5, means “brave (koa) peace (malu).”
While I was gathering all those definitions, I also found a bunch of other interesting Hawaiian names, such as…
‘Aukai, “seafarer” (‘au, “travel” + kai, “sea”). It’s like the Hawaiian version of Sailor.
Kapi’ioho, “curly hair.” It’s like the Hawaiian version of Crispin (Latin crispus, “curly”).
‘Opunui, “big-bellied” (‘opu, “belly” + nui, “big”). Big bellies were a status symbol in old Hawaii. According to one source, “the elite lived lavishly, were feasting constantly, and the highest chiefs were distinguished by their corpulence.”
Leiko is a hybrid Hawaiian-Japanese name: lei, “flowers/child” + ko, “child.”
Do you have a favorite Hawaiian name? Leave a comment and tell me about it!
Source: Bodley, John H. Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System. Lanham, MD: AltaMira-Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.