Friday Factoid: The land of Madison (and William)

Hello, and welcome to a new feature at Facing South: the Friday Factoid. And to show we're about more than just deep political and social commentary here at FS, we'll kick off today's episode by looking at the fascinating issue of baby names in the South.

The federal government may not be able to account for over a trillion dollars of Pentagon spending, but thanks to the Social Security Administration it keeps meticulous records of baby names, including rankings of the most popular names doled out each year for the little 'uns.

Nationally, 2006 was a big year for boys named Jacob and girls named Emily. But not in the South. Southerners may fret that the region's uniqueness is melting away, but the South's parents appear to be taking a stand against homogenized McCulture in choosing what to name their tykes.

In fact, if there's one issue that unites Southerners, it seems to be what to name their girls: in 11 out of 13 Southern states in 2006, "Madison" was the top choice for female babies. The only outliers were Florida ("Isabella") and Texas ("Emily"), which really isn't a surprise.

Even more interesting: the only two states outside the South where "Madison" reins supreme are Delaware and Maryland -- two states with strong historical ties to the South.

There's a Southern theme for boy cherubs as well, although not as strong: in 8 out of 10 Southern states, "William" was the most-used name amidst a national sea of "Jacobs," "Michaels," and "Joshuas." (Outside the South, only D.C. -- another place close to the South -- is "William" a name leader.)

So when people tell you there's no longer any such a thing as "the South," that the region's cultural identity has been lost, tell them nonsense -- it's the land of Madison and William.

P.S. -- What do you name the other girl if Madison has a twin sister? Morgan.

P.P.S. -- Welcome all readers from the Baby Names Garden Blog!