Gone, for once, is that moment when scoping the list of "most popular baby names" begins to feel like reading the rosters for the boys' and girls' all-region high school lacrosse teams.
In 2017, the Minneota Department of Health's Office of Vital Records kept track of the most frequently given names, as you'd expect. But they also broke down the rankings along racial lines, giving a rare insight into the most popular names around here for non-white folks.
And, because 70 percent of the 70,192 births in Minnesota in 2017 were to white mothers, the majority tends to tilt the statewide statistics. The most popular baby names overall and the most used white baby names were the same. They are...
Evelyn and Oliver!
Congratulations! If you named your 2017 baby one of those, your child may already be a winner! (Plus, the whole being-white thing.)
Among all Latino Minnesotans, Mateo was the most popular boy's name, and Camila took first among girls. Mexican-American Minnesotans made up 75 percent of that racial cohort; when they were excluded, Mateo stil won out, but Sofia shot to the top of the girls' list.
The most popular name for black/African babies born in Minnesota last year was Aisha for girls, and Mohamed for boys. When Somali-Minnesotans were excluded, Ava was the top-ranked black/African girl's name, and Elijah was the most popular boy's.
The Asian category was the only one where splitting off a nationality didn't change the stats: Olivia and Aiden were the top name choices, whether Minnesota's Hmong population was included or not.
Mila was the most popular name for Native American girls in 2017, while Elijah was the most likely Native boy's name.
Cross-racially, Oliver had a big year in Minnesota, finishing second among non-Mexican Latinos and non-Hmong Asians. Evelyn was big with both whites (see above) and Asians, who made it their second-favorite girl's name. Sophia or Sofia cracked the top five for both Hispanics and Asians, and Isabella or Isabelle made the list for Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
Man, with all these similarities, you'd almost think people living together brings them closer together, regardless of race or nationality.
Of course, we'd need to conduct more research before making such a pronouncement. Ideally, we'd run something like, say, a 241-year-long experiment, to see if disparate cultures start growing together to become one. But who has the time? Instead, let's just throw all these kids together, teach them each other's names, and let them figure it out.
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