Top baby names inspired by American geography

Looking for inspiration for your baby's name? You might want to look close to home.

Baby with Globe
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There's no 'right' way to choose a name for your little one. Some parents like honoring beloved family members by passing down shared names; others prize individuality and seek out something unique for their child.

Finding a name that sounds great with your baby's last name, will grow with your child, and doesn't remind you of a middle school bully or an ex-boyfriend can often feel impossible.

Recently, thousands of American parents found inspiration for naming their kids right at home. Whether these babies were named after their parents' hometowns or the states they met or married, the latest Social Security data shows plenty of babies were named after American states and capital cities.


The top state-inspired name for children that year was Dakota. There are now 1,264 girls and 959 boys running around with that name. The unisex name has Native American roots and could also be a nod to both North and South Dakota.

Georgia (1,467 girls), Carolina (749 girls), Virginia (567 girls), and Montana (120 girls, 110 boys) were also popular names in 2019. Indiana (104 girls, 83 boys), Arizona (125 girls, five boys), Tennessee (32 girls, 17 boys), Alaska (46 girls), and Kansas (25 girls, five boys) round out the top ten state-inspired names for kids in 2019.

When it comes to names inspired by state capitals, the top three names are also shared by former U.S. presidents. Jackson (10,102 boys, 26 girls), Lincoln (7,432 boys, 182 girls), and Madison (6,269 girls, 31 boys) were the most popular names in 2019. Parents also drew inspiration from Austin (4,369 boys, 160 girls), Phoenix (1,399 boys, 1,017 girls), Denver (419 boys, 300 girls), Helena (651 girls), and Cheyenne (624 girls, 11 boys). Salem (372 girls, 235 boys), Trenton (512 boys), and Boston (448 boys, 52 girls) round out the list.

We especially love how many gender-neutral options there are on these lists. If you're looking for more inspiration for naming your little one, head over to the Social Security Administration's website. That's where we found these names. We've also rounded up a list of popular baby names from 2020 here.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.

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