You’ve got to love the U.S. Social Security Administration. Sure, it does a hell of a lot of boring stuff, like providing for the general welfare of our nation’s citizens and dissecting public health trends, but occasionally even the SSA likes to mix it up and have some baby-related fun. Case in point: The agency’s annual top baby names list, which is almost as eagerly anticipated as the Academy Award nominee list or the guest list for Kylie Jenner’s latest contouring-kit release party.
The 2016 list has now dropped with about as much fanfare as Lemonade and the Social Security Administration was nice enough to organize the data into geographical areas for our perusal. So we perused. And… wow. Look, y’all, it’s clearly time we start coming up with some new baby names lest we become a nation where 90 percent of the population in 2037 is either named Emma or Liam. This is a real and present danger, people.
Can’t we all just get our freak on and pretend we’re rock stars for a while? Get a few more Fifi Trixibelles or Pilot Inspektors circulating on the planet? Without further ado, I present to you the geographical breakdown of the U.S.’s less-than-riveting name trends. I mean, get a load of these maps, created by BuzzFeed‘s Julie Gerstein. We would say, “We can’t even,” but we’re just too bored.
The crop of baby boys in 2016 is brimming with old-fashioned Irish and English flair: Owens and Liams and Olivers will be dominating playgrounds for quite some time to come. Owen took Vermont by storm; Oliver steamrolled Oregon, Idaho, both Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Utah. We’re picturing eight states filled with Dickensian orphans with empty porridge bowls. Meanwhile, Liam swept a gazillion other states — probably including yours. Be prepared for playgrounds full of menacing toddlers lisping, “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you” — especially in the West.
And speaking of the West, here’s another trend: Boys named after Wild West spurs-wearing saloon rats. Notably, Junior Cowboys named Wyatt are slowly taking over Wyoming.
New Mexico, interestingly, decided to throw in a little Biblical flair (or maybe they all really like Andrew Rannells’ character from Girls?). Elijah is the hands-down winner in that fine state. Another Biblical favorite is Noah, the top name in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, California, Illinois, Texas and Hawaii. Dear Lord, that’s a lot of Noahs. And they probably all have backyard forts where they keep their stuffed animals in pairs of two. Making the name count, right?
William swept the Southeast in — get this — nine states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. What the hell, parents of the Southeast? Are you all Shakespeare addicts? Because this is getting out of hand. You have wrought a plague of Williams, and things are going to get very confusing down there pretty soon — almost as confusing as in Iceland, where people are listed by first name in the phone book. Fun fact. Moving on.
We had one state swing to Henry (Minnesota, you rebels) and two went Benjamin (Kansas and Massachusetts). Meanwhile, Mason swept West Virginia, a state that is either still working out its Civil War issues or just longing for more stone workers.
But that’s it. Fifty states: 11 boys’ names. And the girls — oh, the girls. Same story. We won’t even bother to list all the states where Emma is queen, because frankly, it would take us all day. Even Jane Austen is rolling over in her grave in embarrassment.
West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota and Vermont, although unlikely political allies, seem to have bonded in their mutual love of To Kill a Mockingbird; these states teamed up to push Harper to the tippy-top of their lists.
And Ava. My, what a bounty of Avas. Fueled by the Hollywood glamour of Ava Gardner? Who knows? We can’t even count how many states; our eyes are crossing. One glance at the Southeast section of the map and we can see there will be a whole lot of future marriages in which Avas wed Williams, Avas wed Avas, Williams wed Williams, and everyone is confused.
Mias and Olivias were the other usual suspects, sprinkled all over the states. That’s all we have to say on the subject; we’re sure they are very nice children and parents are doing a great job with them and hooray, because now all teachers can buy name stickers for cubbies in bulk.
We could kiss Minnesota for its uniquely popular Evelyn — same with New Hampshire’s Charlotte and Florida’s Isabella. Nice going, you three.
But there you have it: Eight girls’ names heading up 50 states. Hey, if you’ve got a Liam or an Emma, we’re not mad at you, OK? We’re just ready to move on. It’s not you, it’s us. We appreciate the sweet vintage vibes of all of these names — but we’re just ready for some names with a little more bite for 2017 and 2018. So sue us.