Friday, January 16, 2015

Hipster Baby Name or Hipster City?

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There's been some chatter amongst namers lately. It seems like the rest of the world doesn't know what a "hipster baby name" is. This was recently brought to our attention by a few key websites (ahem, Buzzfeed, SF Gate, Daily Mail), making lists of Hipster Baby Names, and 2015 Popular Name Predictions. So I'm here to set the record straight. A hipster baby name is on the cusp of cool. It seems unstylish or out-there to most parents, but then gains favor. On the other hand, a hipster city is a metropolitan area with a high concentration of liberal young adults. Sometimes the two intertwine, but a seasoned baby namer can usually tell the difference.

Take my quiz first to test your knowledge, then come back and read my responses.

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She's Georgia's biggest city, and was #4868 on the popularity charts last year. You may think she would be a popular name in Georgia, but she gets used the most in Tennessee and Texas.
I don't hear about Atlanta hipsters all too often, but apparently it's a nice place to visit.
The Verdict: Hipster Baby Name

As a baby name, he peaked in 1997. Ranked at #9. He's still going strong today, with a ranking of 65. He could have been a hipster name is the 1960s, but he's been well-used ever since. A hipster would know better than to name their son Austin.
The city of Austin, Texas is bursting with hipsters. It's basically a hipster Mecca.
The Verdict: Hipster City

The next Austin? It's Boston. His popularity is steady at #567, the perfect spot for hipster name gems. While he did indeed peak during the year of the marathon bombings (at #540) he was already on his way up. He made a huge leap from 2004-2005, where he climbed from #912 to #687. I expect him to maintain his position in the coming year.
Boston, Massachusetts is known for Ben Affleck and Red Sox fans. Not for being on the cutting edge of style.
The Verdict: Hipster Baby Name


I know, Brooklyn's not exactly a city. But she was the name that inspired this list. Most people you meet will tell you Brooklyn is a hipster baby name. That's just not true. Brooklyn peaked at #21 in 2011. She was virtually unused before 1990, but since then has gotten tons of use. Hipsters wouldn't dare to use her, she's too trendy. Just because a city has a lot of hipsters doesn't mean it's a hipster name for your baby.
Brooklyn, New York is chock full of hipsters. It's the go-to neighborhood when you want to drink artisanal coffee and push your baby (probably named Boston) around in a Bugaboo.
The Verdict: Hipster City

You guys know how much I love my city. I may have even tried to convince you to consider Chicago as a name. Needless to say, I was not victorious. There are plenty of neighborhoods in Chicago that would make a perfect hipster baby name, but just Chicago? Not quite cutting it.
The Windy City abounds in hipsters. Just visit Wicker Park or Lincoln Square, or try one of our thousands of micro-breweries and small plates restaurants.
The Verdict: Hipster City

Los Angeles
I've never heard of anyone naming their child Los Angeles. Angel, Angela, and Angelina--sure, but not Los Angeles. This one's pretty obvious.
I've never been to L.A., but as one of the three biggest cities in America, it obviously has some hipsters. L.A.'s most famous hipster neighborhood is Silver Lake (that would probably make a better name, too).
The Verdict: Hipster City

Sorry, SF Gate, but saying Madison will be popular in 2015 is not a prediction when she's already in the top 10. Especially when she was #2 in 2001 and 2002. And she's definitely not being used by hipsters.
It's only two hours away from Chicago, so I've been to Madison, Wisconsin quite a few times. There are some cute shops and cafes, but nothing overwhelmingly hip.
The Verdict: Neither

No, Minneapolis is not a baby name. Not even one for hipster babies. Minnie is a hipster baby name though, if you were wondering.
The Twin Cities are the hipster capital of the Upper-Midwest. All those liberal arts colleges help.
The Verdict: Hipster City

The -ville suffix is a little hard to wear as a person, and especially for a baby. Even hipsters think so. If you take the ending away you get Nash--a name on the rise that feels more country-western, less hipster.
I've always wanted to visit Nashville, Tennessee. They have good food, lots of music, and--of course--tons of hipsters.
The Verdict: Hipster City

New York
New York is a great name. For a city, not a baby. New York would be a silly baby name. York is technically a name, but he's used more by preppy yuppies than bohemian hipsters.
Of course New York has hipsters. We already talked about that with Brooklyn.
The Verdict: Hipster City

Olympia is a beautiful name, but not one that you hear often. She is ranked at #3546, but is slowly on the rise.
I don't know a lot about the capital of Washington, but something tells me it's not the top city for hipsters there.
The Verdict: Hipster Baby Name

Portland is a great name. He frequents my guilty pleasure list often, and I love to suggest him to you guys. I've only heard him as a name a couple of times, but of course, the parents are always hipsters.
Portland wins the spot in my heart for my second favorite city. I only spent twelve hours there, but I love Portland so much. The people are amazing (and they're all hipsters).
The Verdict: Both

San Francisco
Like Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville, there is part of this name that makes it unusable. Specifically, the San part. Francisco is actually not uncommon--he ranks at #217. Which of course means he's not a hipster baby name.
If Portland takes second place, San Francisco is third. San Fran is one of the best cities for food, and I love the city's style. Being as progressive and liberal as it is, San Francisco has plenty of hipsters.
The Verdict: Hipster City

Savannah's been quite popular since the nineties. She made it all the way up to #30 in 2006 and 2007, but nowadays hangs in the upper-thirties, low-forties range. A.K.A. not where hipsters are looking.
I have little knowledge of the South, but the Internet tells me that Savannah has a substantial community of hipsters. I'll take your word for it, World Wide Web.
The Verdict: Hipster City


As a name, Seattle reminds me of Chicago. In theory, it could be a good name. But people haven't jumped on board yet. Get on that, hipsters.
Seattle has a lot of hipsters. I hear it's similar to Portland, but less eccentric. And they're huge on coffee there, which is a hipster staple.
The Verdict: Hipster City

P.S. Even cooler than this list? This is my 300th post! Hooray!


  1. Congratulations on 300 posts - may there be many more! - and on the great quiz. I got 6/15: must try harder. Actually, being try-hard wouldn't be very hipster, would it?

  2. I got 10 out of 15 - not bad considering I'm an Australian and don't necessarily know the cities all that well!

    What a great post for number 300 - and congratulations! Loved the quiz, especially the photos :)

  3. Congratulations on your 300th post!!
    Your blog is one of my favorite to read. Solid posts, good intuition, and great insightful perspective make it totally enjoyable. Keep it up; you've got a knack for names!