New York Is Home to Many Michaels

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 17: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a press conference announcing the new date for the Concert 4 NYC to be held on September 30, 2011 at the Central Park Arsenal on August 17, 2011 in New York City The Concert 4 NYC was originally scheduled for June 9, 2011 but was cancelled due to inclement weather. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
A prominent New York Michael. Photo: Jemal Countess/2011 Getty Images

While what we hear when we walk by Brooklyn’s playgrounds suggests otherwise, it turns out that liberal parents are pretty conservative when it comes to naming their kids. According to the Social Security Administration’s 2012 survey, Michael was New York’s most popular boys’ baby name for the 48th year in a row. (Sophia was the most popular girls’ name in New York and nationwide.) Michael also came in first in New Jersey and Delaware, but its rank was considerably lower in states such as Nebraska, Iowa, Vermont, North Dakota, and Utah, where it took the 37th, 36th, 35th, 31st, and 28th spots, respectively. Laura Wattenberg, author of a blog and book both called The Baby Name Wizard, offered this interpretation of the data to the New York Times’ City Room: “Women in progressive states tend to be older when they have their children, and therefore less likely to name their children after a drink or a tattoo or a pop star.” Indeed, we have never heard of anyone naming their baby after a tattoo. 

As for why New Yorkers prefer Michael to the national winner, Jacob (which came in second place in New York), Wattenberg explained, “Michael is a name whose appeal cuts across racial and ethnic lines, and so would tend to do better in a diverse state like New York, compared with Jacob, which she said ‘is disproportionately white.’” However, Michael only beat Jacob by a mere 50 babies, which, as City Room ventured, could indicate that “the Michael era may be nearing an end.” We’d love to know how Mayor Bloomberg feels about all this.