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Namerology US Name Map: Background and FAQ

Back to the Ultimate US Name Map

What Data Is the Map Displaying?
This map is based on U.S. Social Security Administration statistics on baby names given in the most recent available data year. For privacy reasons, these statistics only report on names given to 5 or more boys or girls in a given state in a given year (see “Population Size Effects” below for more on this). The “per million” figures put a state’s raw numbers in context as a proportion of the total births in that state.

What Do the Colors Mean?
The map is shaded based on the ratio of the number of babies in a state matching the search (e.g. girls named Harper, or all names ending in X) vs. the total number of babies in that state’s name data set. This approach helps make comparisons across different-sized states meaningful. For each search result, the map is shaded from the states with the highest usage rates (red) to lowest (blue).

Population Size Effects, or Why is Wyoming So Weird?
To register in federal state-by-state naming statistics, a name has to be given to 5 or more boys or girls in a given state. But for every baby born in Vermont, 70 babies are born in California. That means that the 5-baby minimum threshold in Vermont is equivalent to a 350-baby threshold in California. Thus the total list of names reported in a very small state will be vastly shorter than in a very large state—and will cover a smaller percentage of the actual babies born.

Keep this in mind if a state like Wyoming, Vermont or Alaska seems like an outlier in your search. If, for instance, a letter string is found in many modestly common names rather than a couple of big hits, it’s likely to be undercounted in these small states because those modestly common names just won’t register. On the flip side, if a name shows up as existing in California and nowhere else, that may say more about the size of California than about the tastes of its populace. 

Can You Do This for My Country?
We’d love to, IF there’s comprehensive local name data available. Unfortunately, that’s a big “if”!  Feel free to get in touch via the contact form in the top menu if you have access to detailed name statistics for your country, state or territory.

What Mapping Software Is This? Where Can I Get It?
The Namerology Map was custom-developed in-house.

Back to the Ultimate US Name Map