Name popularity varies greatly across states. What’s fashionable in some states is scarcely heard in others. Of course, lifestyle preferences, including political opinions, influence our decision making, even when it comes to naming our children.
Using data from the Social Security Administration, MooseRoots researched naming patterns throughout the U.S. and found 25 names that trended more heavily among left- or right- leaning states. These 25 names are ranked from those that lean slightly to the left or right, to names that are decidedly more popular in Conservative or Republican states.
States are classified as Democratic or Republican depending on how they voted in presidential elections in the last four cycles. States that did not consistently choose one party in the last four elections are neutral (grey).
Once a pet form of Mckinley, Kinley has now become popular on its own. Northern Republican states seem to have a certain fondness for the name, particularly South Dakota where Kinley ranked 29th in 2014.
Charlotte is a French name that has skyrocketed to popularity, particularly in left-leaning, Northeastern states.
From the sweet spider in “Charlotte’s Web,” Charlotte York from “Sex and the City” to newborn English royalty Princess Charlotte, the name has also been very popular in pop culture.
Bentley is a classy name associated with British car manufacturer Bentley Motors, and more recently, one of the babies from MTV’s hit show “Teen Mom.”
Bentley ranked in the top 20 in states including West Virginia and Kentucky in 2014, while it did not even reach the top 200 in California or New Jersey. Curiously, Bentley ranked 20th in popularity in Maine, a consistently Democratic state.
While New York’s Brooklyn borough is likely where many left-leaning New Yorkers spend their time, the name is more common for baby girls in conservative states. In fact, Brooklyn ranked in the top 10 in Utah, Mississippi and Alabama in 2014.
Vincent is a Latin name that means “conquering” and it has certainly conquered many liberal states with a high percentage of Italian Americans.
Hollywood seems to give the name to shadier characters, including Vincent Vega from “Pulp Fiction” and Vincent Gambini from “My Cousin Vinny.”
Although Mia is a pet form of the name Maria, it is now very common on its own and ranked sixth in popularity in the U.S. in 2014. For the most part, Mia ranked in the top 10 in left-leaning states.
Actress Mia Farrow and tenacious fighter Mia Wallace from “Pulp Fiction” may have contributed to Mia’s nationwide popularity.
In the baby naming world, Kason is a brand new name almost exclusively used in the U.S. For such a new name, Kason is rapidly spreading in popularity.
Kason broke the top 200 in the red states of Oklahoma and Alabama, but parents in blue states generally passed on giving their baby boys that name.
The Social Security Administration did not have any record of girls named Brynlee until 1995, making it one of the newest names trending in the U.S. today. Brynlee was particularly popular in Republican strongholds Wyoming and Utah.
Benjamin is a biblical name that means “son of the right hand” and the name has been very popular throughout history. American parents have an affinity for the name, particularly those in left-leaning states. In Massachusetts, the birthplace of Benjamin Franklin, it ranked first.
Maya is a Hebrew name that means “water,” and ranked 74th in popularity in 2014. However, the statewide ranking tells another story. Maya ranked in the top 50 in Democratic New York and California, but in states like Arkansas and Mississippi, Maya did not even reach the top 300.
Everyone remembers Rhett Butler from “Gone with the Wind,” and this Southern gentleman’s name remains more popular in conservative states.
Rhett ranked 114th in Arkansas in 2014, but did not even break the top 1,000 in New York.
Since beautiful actress Grace Kelly rose to stardom in the 1950s, Grace has been a household name in the U.S.
In 2014, Grace was the 21st most popular name nationwide, but it ranked in the top 20 in liberal states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Conversely, Grace did not break the top 50 in conservative states including Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Before 2000, there were fewer than 100 Braylons born in the U.S. every year. This new name is trending way up, particularly in conservative states including Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.
Gianna is the feminine, Italian version of the name John or Gianni. In left-leaning states with a high percentage of Italian-Americans, Gianna ranked in the top 50 in 2014. However, Gianna is not a popular name in conservative, Southern states and ranked at 416 in Mississippi and 642 in Alabama in 2014.
The statewide rankings are very wide-ranging for the unusual female name Kinsley. It was the 33rd most popular name in Alabama and Kansas, but in liberal states, Kinsley barely reached a rank of 500.
Lucas is a long-established name that comes from the biblical name Luke. In most blue states, Lucas ranked in the top 10, versus the top 50 in red states.
However, there are two notable exceptions. In California, Lucas ranked 31st, while in conservative Alaska, Lucas was the sixth most popular name in 2014.
Presley has only recently become a popular name for girls; the Social Security Administration did not have any record of this name until 1977.
Presley is undoubtedly a “red state” name and ranked in the top 100 in Oklahoma and Idaho in 2014.
Bridger was not an incredibly popular name in 2014, but the English name which means “lives near the bridge” did better in conservative states.
In fact, Bridger ranked 62nd in Wyoming and 87th in Montana, but there were no baby boy Bridgers born in California or the entire Northeast in 2014.
The name Fiona is trending way up in blue states, while the red states do not seem to have caught on. In 2014, Fiona ranked 28th in Maine, and broke the top 100 for other blue states including Massachusetts, Connecticut and Oregon.
Alexander continuously ranks high for males in the U.S. However, it is the most popular in blue states on the West Coast and ranked in the top ten in Washington, Oregon and California in 2014.
Perhaps the success of the recent musical “Hamilton” will further advance the popularity of Alexander nationwide.
Easton ranked 83rd popularity among males in 2014, but its statewide popularity was wide-ranging. In North Dakota, a Republican stronghold, Easton ranked sixth. In left-leaning, Northeastern states, Easton averaged a rank of 200.
Giuliana, the Italian version of Julianne, appears much more frequently for baby girls born in blue states. Appropriately, the name is common in states with large Italian-American populations such as New York and New Jersey.
Ryan is a popular name for left-leaning, highly populated states including California and New York. On the other hand, Ryan had a tough time breaking the top 50 in many conservative states.
Paisley is the most popular “red state” name for females. In 2014, it ranked seventh in popularity in Mississippi. Conversely, Paisley only ranked at 267 in New York and 152 in California in 2014.
The name Braxton is much more common in red states than blue. In Conservative southern states such as West Virginia and Arkansas, the name usually ranks in the top 30. However, Braxton did not even break the top 500 in New York or Connecticut in 2014.