I love that the Social Security Administration releases so much baby name data to the public. But I’ve always had mixed feelings about that 5-baby threshold for inclusion. (Due to privacy concerns, the government doesn’t release names given to fewer than 5 babies per gender, per year.)
Part of me appreciates the threshold. For instance, I like that it adds significance to the pop culture-inspired debut names I’m always posting about, as these names had to hit a certain minimum level of usage in order to register in the data.
But the other part of me? The other part just really, really wants to see those rare/crazy names at the bottom of the list.
So I get excited when I find U.S. data from an official source that does go down to single-instance usage. Up until recently, I only knew about Sonoma County and Los Angeles County, but recently I discovered that Iowa (an entire state!) also releases down-to-1 baby name data. Yay!
But before we get to the rare names, let’s look at the state of Iowa’s top baby names of 2016:
1. Olivia, 203 baby girls
2. Emma, 181
3. Charlotte, 158
4. Harper, 156
5. Ava & Evelyn, 148 each (2-way tie)
6. Amelia, 125
7. Nora, 123
8. Sophia, 112
9. Addison, 101
10. Grace, 96
1. Oliver, 197 baby boys
2. Owen, 178
3. William, 174
4. Wyatt, 170
5. Henry, 165
6. Liam, 159
7. Noah, 149
8. Benjamin, 148
9. Jackson, 144
10. Lincoln, 123
- In the girls’ top 10, Addison and Grace replaced Avery.
- In the boys’ top 10, Benjamin and Lincoln replaced Mason and Elijah.
- In 2015, the top two names were Emma and Liam.
(The SSA rankings for Iowa are similar, but not exactly the same. One notable difference on is that the SSA ranks Grayson 10th on the boys list, and puts Lincoln down in 13th.)
And now for the rarities!
Iowa’s website offers interactive baby name usage graphs that include all names bestowed at least once from 2000 to 2016. Here’s a sampling of rare baby names in Iowa (2000-2016 usage):
|Girl Names||Boy Names|
If you decide to dig through the data, leave a comment and let me know what you spot!
And if you’re friends with any expectant parents in Iowa, tell those lucky ducks that they have access to full sets of baby name rankings for their state. Either send them a link to this post or to one of the pages below…
Update, 2020: The above links no longer work; here’s an updated link to the Iowa baby names.