51 Unique Baby Girl Names That Define Each State

Ashley Austrew | Feb 14, 2018 Pregnancy
51 Unique Baby Girl Names That Define Each State
Image: iStock.com/Splendens


iStock.com/Splendens

Most of the time when we look at baby name trends, we focus on numbers that cover the entire United States. But while popular baby girl names may take center stage across the country, each state has its own defining style and unique flavor that dictates unique name choices for the parents who live there. In some states, certain baby names are chosen much more frequently than they are in others. And certain states even have unusual baby girl name trends that are all their own.

The names on this list represent the quirky and creative picks that uniquely define each state. Laura Wattenberg, the naming expert behind Baby Name Wizard, used national naming data and her expertise to pinpoint the exact baby names that each state chooses at a rate far above the national average. These names give the state its distinct "local style," as Wattenberg puts it, and highlight specific regional trends people won't find anywhere else in the country.

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"Look for natural grandeur in Alaskan names like Aurora and Denali; throwback sweetness in Minnesotan names like Elsie and Greta; and even a firearms slant in Oklahoman names like Kimber and Remington," Wattenberg says. Some may be surprising, but others are old favorites. Check out the full list to see which trending and not-so-recognizable picks represent the defining name choices for baby girls in each state.


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  • Alabama: Ryleigh

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    Ryleigh is a feminine twist on Riley and is popular in the state of Alabama. Outside of Alabama, the name has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. It peaked at number 198 on the most popular US baby names list in 2015. Other top trending girls' names in Alabama include Mary, Blakely, and the classic Caroline.

  • Alaska: Aurora

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    Many will recognize Aurora as Sleeping Beauty's real name, but the title actually has roots in Roman mythology as the goddess of dawn. While Alaskans tend to favor this name for baby girls, it's actually popular all over the country. For parents who want to stick to Alaskan trends but aren't quite loving Aurora, the names Denali, Lena, and Chloe are also popular in the state.

  • Arizona: Mia

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    The whole country loves Mia (it was the sixth most popular baby name in 2014!), but Arizonans love it even more. The name comes out on top over other Arizona favorites Ximena, Sofia, and Leilani. Mia is a Danish pet form of the name Maria, which means "sea of bitterness."

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  • Arkansas: Blakely

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    Blakely is a feminine form of Blake that's a favorite in both Arkansas and Oklahoma. The name debuted on the most popular US baby names in 2011 and has been steadily climbing the charts ever since. Other Arkansas faves include Paisley, Kimber, and Kaydence.

  • California: Camila

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    Camila is a less popular form of Camilla, meaning virgin, and it's actually pronounced Cam-EE-la. The name beat out Mia, Victoria, and Alexa for the title of California's defining baby name. Parents might recognize the name Camila from singer Camila Cabello.

  • Colorado: Aspen

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    Aspen from Colorado? Say it isn't so! Despite its western roots, this name actually comes from the Old English aespe, or Aspen tree. Aspen came on the baby name scene in the '90s and has maintained a steady uptick in popularity ever since. In Colorado, it comes out just above Cora, Hazel, and Josephine as the state's defining title.

  • Connecticut: Gianna

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    Gianna is the shortened form of Giovanna, meaning God is gracious. In Connecticut, it's favored more than other trending names like Julia, Brooke, and Charlotte. Though the name has only ranked on the most popular US baby names since the 1990s, it's already cracked the top 100 at number 96 in 2015.

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  • Delaware: Riley

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    Riley is a gender-neutral fave for parents in Delaware. Interestingly, Riley has been used more often as a girls' name than a boys' name in the past two decades. In 2015, it was the 35th most popular girls' name in the US, and in Delaware it just edges out Aubrey, Elizabeth, and Ava as the state's defining name.

  • Washington, DC: Alice

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    Alice, meaning noble one, is a classic name that never really goes out of style. Though the name's popularity has declined in the past few decades, it's still chosen with impressive frequency in DC, as are Zoe, Royal, and Maya.

  • Florida: Valentina

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    Valentina is the feminine form of Valentine, which means strong, vigorous, and powerful. It's a bold name, which seems to be a trend in Florida, where names like Gabrielle, Victoria, and Aaliyah also rank high. Valentina has surged in popularity since the 1990s and shows no signs of slowing down.

  • Georgia: Ansley

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    Ansley is derived from the Scottish name Ainsley, which means meadow. The name first hit the top 1,000 US baby names in 2007, coming in at number 697, and it's continued to climb the charts. But the name is especially popular with Georgia parents, who also favor trendy names like Skylar, Londyn, Taylor.

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  • Hawaii: Kalea

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    Kalea is a favorite in Hawaii, which comes as no surprise since it's actually Hawaiian for joy or happiness. The name has never ranked in the top 1,000 US baby names, nor have other Hawaiian favorites like Mahina and Kailani. But with a unique spelling and a sweet meaning, Kalea seems poised to take over on the mainland in no time.

  • Idaho: Oakley

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    Move over, Annie Oakley -- it's time for Oakley to take the stage as a first name. This title, favored by Idahoans, actually means from the oak tree meadow. It's never ranked in the top 1,000 US baby names, but rare names seem to do well in Idaho. Other defining names of the state are Brynlee, Remington, and Aspen.

  • Illinois: Natalia

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    Illinois has a thing for sophisticated baby names, where Natalia, Emilia, Maeve, and Sophia dominate. Natalia is actually derived from the Latin diēs nātālis, or Christmas. Famous Natalias include the Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg and actress Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy Wheeler on Stranger Things.

  • Indiana: Eleanor

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    For parents who think Eleanor is out of style, think again. The name, which means bright, is still a favorite in Indiana and across the US. It even beat out Hadley, Willow, and Piper as Indiana's defining name.

  • Iowa: Nora

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    It seems Iowans are taking a nod from parents in Indiana. Nora is a shortened form of Eleanor or any of the names that contain an element of -nora. The name was popular in the US in the early 1900s and has spiked again in the 2010s. It has a classic, feminine feel that's right at home with other Iowa favorites Quinn, Evelyn, and Emery. 

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  • Kansas: Ember

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    Ember is relatively new on the baby name scene. It didn't enter the top 1,000 US baby names until 2009. But it took hold as a favorite in Kansas, where moms and dads love other unique names like Lydia, Oakley, and Hayden.

  • Kentucky: Hadley

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    Hadley is a great choice for parents seeking a more gender-neutral title, which sets it apart from other Kentucky favorites like Aubree, Adalynn, and Paisley. Hadley is best known as a surname, as in the inventor John Hadley, but these days it's a favorite for first names too.

  • Louisiana: Demi

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    Demi is a shortened form of Demetria that's grown hugely popular, thanks to stars like Demi Moore and Demi Lovato. The name peaked in the '90s at the highpoint of Demi Moore's career and then faded into the background until the early 2000s when Demi Lovato got her start in Disney's Camp Rock. In Louisiana, it joins Camille, Lyric, and Journee as the unique girl names that define the state's impeccable taste.

  • Maine: Natalie

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    In Maine, they favor classic favorites: Natalie, Nora, Piper, Lydia. Natalie, like Natalia, comes from the Latin phrase for Christmas, and it seems to be a favorite for creative types. Actresses Natalie Portman and Natalie Wood, and singers Natalie Cole, Natalie Imbruglia, Natalie Maines, and Natalie Merchant all share it.

  • Maryland: Genesis

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    Genesis, which means beginning, is a rare name across the US, but it's chosen more often in Maryland, where parents also prefer Dakota, Naomi, and Skylar. Most people recognize Genesis as the first book of the Bible, but the name can also be shortened to more secular-sounding titles like Genny, Gene, Nessis, and Sissie.

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  • Massachusetts: Maeve

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    Maeve might sound rare to most of the country, but it's a defining name in Massachusetts. It has roots in Ireland, where it was the name of a warrior queen. Maeve has never ranked in the top 1,000 US baby names, which makes it stand out against other Massachusetts favorites, like the popular Lucy, Grace, and Fiona

  • Michigan: Brooklyn

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    Brooklyn may be a borough in Manhattan, but the name is actually a defining choice for parents in Michigan. It comes out ahead of other state favorites Mackenzie, Lillian, and Morgan. Brooklyn didn't actually become a popular baby name until the 1990s but parents love it for its versatility. Nicknames include Brooke, Brynn, Rynn, and Lynne.