Interested in names, and America? Roll up your sleeves. Namerology’s new interactive map of the United States lets you explore name style from coast to coast, and from Aaden to Zyra.
Just start typing letters in the search box on the upper left, and the map will instantly show you naming patterns. You can look for individual names, letter strings, initials, or name endings like the -TT names shown above. Or try a unisex name like Parker and switch back and forth between girls and boys to see how the geographic patterns differ.
Happy name hunting! And as you make discoveries, please come back here to share them in comments.
I love this! Truly amazing work. I’ve spent some time playing with this and know I’ll be back for hours more.
One piece of feedback: for states along the bottom edge of the map, the list of names is cut off — you might see none (for Hawaii) or only a couple (for Florida). I’m at 100% screen zoom and using Chrome.
Thanks Alex, we’ve adjusted the mouseovers to fix that!
I started off by seeing where various letter endings are popular, starting with just the alphabet and branching out with different blends of endings as the ideas struck me.
-b names (dominated by Jacob and Caleb and its variants) are very popular in Utah and also somewhat in New Hampshire.
South Dakota really doesn’t like -rd names compared to everywhere else.
-l looks different than -ll
-o is very Southwestern.
-ee and -ei are similar
Wyoming doesn’t like -w names.
-x is almost symmetrical.
The Southwest doesn’t like -y, -ey, -ie, or -ee names, but does like -i names, particularly for girls.
Louisiana has the most popular endings out of any of the states for -z, -j, and -q.
I love mousing over the -x map — I think it’s a great shorthand portrait of cultural differences. E.g. in California the top 3 -x names are Alex, Max and Felix. In Tennessee they’re Knox, Maddox and Phoenix.
Anyone else having trouble posting in the forum? It seems to log me out whenever I try to go to a forum and start a new topic.
The forum login issue is an ongoing known problem. It affects a couple of our moderators, among others.
Yes, I’m continuing to work with the software provider on it! It’s tricky because it’s inconsistent, so they keep thinking they’ve solved it but it turns out they just didn’t hit the problem that time. (And yes, I’m also researching software alternatives!)
Yes, I was just coming to comment that I still haven’t been able to post on the forums. I’ve been trying off and on for the last couple of months.
This is great! I’m a little confused about the numbers I get when I mouse over a state. For example, if I do an exact match on Leo, North Dakota is redder than Utah. However, if I divide the Count by the Per Million number, I get a higher result for Utah. I’m pretty sure I’m just not understanding exactly what the Per Million number means.
The coloring is a bit counterintuitive for me. Before looking at the key, I thought red represented the lower numbers – I guess because I see red as implying something negative, or an absence. I definitely see the reasoning for red representing a higher concentration, though, like a heat map.
@Holey, you’re right that the shading and the per-million counts are a bit different. The shading represents the ratio of number of babies matching the search vs. the total babies in that state’s *name data set*, while the per-million is a ratio vs. the total number of *births* in the state. The reason for the difference is that the shading is optimized to allow cross-state comparisons in multi-name searches, where the number of different names found varies tremendously with the state population. (The map FAQ goes into that more.) Meanwhile the per-million counts are designed to put an individual name’s local popularity in context.
And I sometimes get confused by the coloring too! The trick is that red has two different canonical meanings in visualizations. This, as you say, is essentially a heat map, where red=MORE. But in some contexts, especially financial, red=NEGATIVE, as in red ink. (E.g. this map of the stock market my husband designed back in the day.) For names, the heat map seemed like the more natural metaphor, especially since there’s no inherent positive/negative, just more/less.
Audr- vs. Aubr- for girls is an interesting comparison.
Here’s a fun contrast: boys’ names ending in -an are somewhat concentrated in California and on the East Coast. Switch to boys’ names ending in -yn and the South and Midwest light up! Same sound, different spelling, totally different pattern.