Who Names Their Baby Boston?

The name ‘Boston’ has been on the rise in recent years.

Who names their baby Boston?

If you are a millennial or a baby boomer, you probably think “No one.” But if you’re an infant these days, there are a few more Baby Bostons running around. In 1950, there were seven Bostons born in the United States, according to the Social Security Administration. In 1988, there were 18 of them. In 2013, there were 505. (Most of them, but not all, are boys.)

Indeed, the name Boston has slowly gained in popularity through the past decade. It cracked its way into the top 1,000 most popular names in 2004, when it was ranked 912th. Here’s how it has ranked ever since, according to the SSA:

Year
Rank
2004912th
2005687th
2006630th
2007627th
2008563th
2009537th
2010545th
2011556th
2012540th
2013567th

As you can see, there was a pretty big leap between 2004 and 2005 when “Boston” jumped 225 places, and a smaller bump from 2007 to 2008 when it leapt 64 spots. My very unsubstantiated hunch: Red Sox World Series wins result in a small “Boston” baby boom. Could their victory, especially the 2004 title that reversed a curse, have given parents-to-be an idea? Did expecting couples shout at their TVs, “If they manage to pull this off, we’ll name our firstborn son after them!” and then get forced to follow through? The Boston Globe guessed as much after the 2004 boom hit. The data from 2007 to 2008 has since offered up even more evidence for the hypothesis.

babychart

Source: Social Security Administration

There’s a surprise in the state-by-state data, though. Most of the babies named Boston aren’t born in Massachusetts, or even New England. In 2005, the year that saw the biggest jump of late, here are the states that birthed the most male* Bostons.

1. Texas – 24
2. Ohio – 18
3. Illinois – 14
4. California – 13
5. Tennessee – 11

Adjusting for population, Idaho actually comes out on top. There were nine baby boys named Boston in 2005 in that state of just 1.6 million people. Meanwhile, Massachusetts named just five of their sons Boston. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont each had fewer.

Maybe that squashes the World Series thesis. Or maybe the Red Sox being in the national news near the end of 2004 planted the word into the heads of those who don’t think about it in their day to day lives. If that’s the case, the saturation of news about Boston following the redemptive post-Marathon World Series win could result in a veritable army of Bostons when the 2014 numbers are released. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, as far as naming your babies after stuff you see on the news goes. It’s a nicer name than Hashtag, after all.

 

*SSA doesn’t list a name if there are fewer than five babies born with it in a year, and since Boston is an unpopular girls name, there isn’t reliable state-by-state data for female baby Bostons.

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