Pennsylvania baby namesLet’s look at Pennsylvania baby names.

It’s the fifth most populous state, behind only California, Florida, Texas, and New York.

If you grew up in the United States, chances are you know all about Pennsylvania – at least the eastern part of the state, that played such a pivotal role in the American Revolution. School children and families alike troop past the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Betsy Ross’ house and Benjamin Franklin’s print shop are popular tourist stops, too.

But there’s more to the state than just the colonial landmarks. It stretches to the east, crossed by rivers and mountains, with Harrisburg and Lancaster near the middle and Pittsburgh in the west.

Are the names of this Mid-Atlantic state particularly distinctive? At first glance, the answer is no. But maybe it’s hard to see because there are just so many regions and cities.

If you’re after Pennsylvania baby names with ties to the Keystone State, plenty of options emerge.

First, let’s look at the most popular baby names in Pennsylvania.


1. LIAM (#1 in the US)

This year, the top name in Pennsylvania matches the US national favorite – upbeat, Irish-ish Liam.

2. NOAH (#2 in the US)

Noah falls from the top spot in Pennsylvania to second place, reflecting national trends.

3. OLIVER (#3 in the US)

A traditional favorite, well-established in the US Top Ten.

4. THEODORE  (#10 in the US)

A new entry to Pennsylvania’s Top Ten, Theodore is rising rapidly across the US.

5. BENJAMIN (#9 in the US)

One of Pennsylvania’s most famous sons, Benjamin Franklin was a statesman, inventor, and major figure in early America. Across the state, “Big Ben” Roethlisberger played 18 seasons as quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Is it any surprise that this classic name ranks higher here than elsewhere?

6. JAMES (#4 in the US)

An enduring classic, never out of style.

7. OWEN (#18 in the US)

Owen fares far better in Pennsylvania than many places in the US.

8. LUCAS (#8 in the US)

Popular across much of the English-speaking world, and Europe, too.

9. HENRY (#7 in the US)

A name both traditional and surprisingly stylish.

10. MICHAEL (#16 in the US)

A long-time #1 name in the US, Michael has fallen in recent generations. But in Pennsylvania, it recently returned to the Top Ten.


1. OLIVIA (#1 in the US)

Tops in Pennsylvania, and tops across the US, too.

2. CHARLOTTE (#3 in the US)

Speaking of top names, Charlotte is popular everywhere – and even a bit more common in the state.

3. EMMA (#2 in the US)

A long-time #1 favorite across the country, and still hovering near the top.

4. SOPHIA (#5 in the US)

The same is true for traditional Sophia.

5. AMELIA (#4 in the US)

Amelia lags just slightly behind its national ranking.

6. AVA (#7 in the US)

No surprises here. Powerhouse mini name Ava is a favorite everywhere.

7. ISABELLA (#6 in the US)

Romantic and strong, Isabella ranks in the Top Ten nearly everywhere – and has for years.

8. HARPER (#11 in the US)

In most of the country, Harper is a literary choice – and very popular. It’s a popular name in Pennsylvania, too – possibly boosted by Philadelphia Phillies MVP Bryce Harper.

9. EVELYN (#9 in the US)

Tailored, vintage Evelyn is a favorite in Pennsylvania, too.

10. MIA (#8 in the US)

Mia fares slightly worse in Pennsylvania, mostly to make space for Harper farther up on the list.


Names marked with a * do not appear in the US Top 100.

  1. Liam
  2. Noah
  3. Oliver
  4. Theodore
  5. Benjamin
  6. James
  7. Owen
  8. Lucas
  9. Henry
  10. Michael
  11. Mason
  12. Jack
  13. John
  14. Levi
  15. William
  16. Elijah
  17. Joseph
  18. Leo
  19. Luca
  20. Grayson
  21. Carter
  22. Hudson
  23. Jackson
  24. Logan
  25. Samuel
  26. Asher
  27. Daniel
  28. Wyatt
  29. Luke
  30. Jacob
  31. Ethan
  32. Alexander
  33. David
  34. Cameron
  35. Maverick
  36. Matthew
  37. Lincoln
  38. Anthony
  39. Thomas
  40. Nolan
  41. Isaac
  42. Aiden
  43. Caleb
  44. Ryan
  45. Ezra
  46. Miles
  47. Gabriel
  48. Cooper
  49. Parker
  50. Wesley
  51. Dylan
  52. Elias
  53. Andrew
  54. Roman
  55. Charles
  56. Declan*
  57. Beau
  58. Jaxon
  59. Jayden
  60. Julian
  61. Colton
  62. Kai
  63. Sebastian
  64. Landon
  65. Cole*
  66. Connor
  67. Nicholas
  68. Christopher
  69. Robert
  70. Bennett
  71. Nathan
  72. Waylon
  73. Brooks
  74. Dominic*
  75. Greyson
  76. Jameson
  77. Joshua
  78. Theo
  79. Isaiah
  80. Rowan
  81. Eli
  82. Josiah
  83. Chase*
  84. Austin*
  85. Micah
  86. Weston
  87. Hunter*
  88. Everett
  89. Mateo
  90. Christian
  91. Carson*
  92. Silas
  93. Jace*
  94. Adam
  95. Emmett*
  96. Vincent*
  97. Myles*
  98. Kayden*
  99. Bryson*
  100. Jordan


Names marked with a * do not appear in the US Top 100.

  1.  Olivia
  2. Charlotte
  3. Emma
  4. Sophia
  5. Amelia
  6. Ava
  7. Isabella
  8. Harper
  9. Evelyn
  10. Mia
  11. Nora
  12. Scarlett
  13. Violet
  14. Luna
  15. Ella
  16. Willow
  17. Penelope
  18. Gianna
  19. Grace
  20. Lily
  21. Avery
  22. Madison
  23. Nova
  24. Chloe
  25. Elizabeth
  26. Abigail
  27. Eleanor
  28. Hazel
  29. Riley
  30. Emily
  31. Isla
  32. Layla
  33. Aurora
  34. Aria
  35. Ellie
  36. Lucy
  37. Hannah
  38. Stella
  39. Mila
  40. Sofia
  41. Emilia
  42. Kinsley
  43. Lillian
  44. Ivy
  45. Eliana
  46. Quinn
  47. Paisley
  48. Naomi
  49. Natalie
  50. Sadie
  51. Addison
  52. Maeve*
  53. Lydia
  54. Zoey
  55. Josephine
  56. Savannah
  57. Anna
  58. Sophie
  59. Cora
  60. Madelyn
  61. Kennedy
  62. Aubrey
  63. Claire
  64. Everly
  65. Leah
  66. Peyton
  67. Zoe
  68. Gabriella
  69. Ruby
  70. Cecilia*
  71. Delilah
  72. Maya
  73. Hailey
  74. Autumn
  75. Rylee*
  76. Vivian
  77. Elliana*
  78. Caroline
  79. Victoria
  80. Clara*
  81. Elena
  82. Everleigh
  83. Delaney*
  84. Eloise
  85. Hadley*
  86. Sarah
  87. Sienna*
  88. Freya*
  89. Alice
  90. Brooklyn
  91. Mary*
  92. Skylar
  93. Margaret*
  94. Sloane*
  95. Adeline
  96. Audrey
  97. Remi*
  98. Josie*
  99. Madeline*
  100. Piper*



For Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, August Wilson. His most famous works include a series of ten plays known as the Pittsburgh Cycle.


Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin often worked behind the scenes. Because he was openly gay, he faced discrimination even within the Civil Rights movement. By the 1980s, he’d also become a gay rights advocate. Today, a high school in his hometown of West Chester is named in his honor.


Betsy Ross sewed the original American flag – or so goes the story. There’s at least one other seamstress with an equally credible claim. But it’s easy to see how this name would be just right for a daughter born in Pennsylvania.


Born in Philadelphia, legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday puts her adopted name on the list. She was born Eleanora Fagan – another lovely given name, but not nearly as famous.


Sculptor Alexander Calder, best known for his mobiles, was born in Philadelphia.


Pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson was born in the western part of the state.


An artist surname name inspired by Pennsylvania native Mary Cassatt.


For jazz pioneer and long-time Philadelphia resident John Coltrane.


Benjamin ranks far higher on the list of Pennsylvania’s most popular boy names than elsewhere in the US. So why not his surname, Franklin, too?


Born Fred – not Frederick – this Pennsylvania native is known to the world as Mr. Rogers.


Famous ballerina Gelsey Kirkland was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


For dance pioneer Martha Graham.


As in Harrisburg, capital of the state. The capital city was named for James Harris, Sr. An immigrant from England, Harris located to the area and operated a ferry across the Susquehanna River, becoming a respected local leader.


As in Honus Wagner, legendary baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Hall of Famer. Born outside of the city, his legal name was Johannes, shortened to Hans, before evolving to the name he made famous.


While military commander turned president Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower was born in Texas and raised in Kansas, his family had deep Pennsylvania roots. He and Mamie maintained a working farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, used as a getaway from Washington DC, as well as a place to entertain world leaders. Today it’s open to visitors as part of the National Park Service.


A virtue name perfect for children born in the same state as history-making Independence Hall.


As in Independence Hall, the building where the Continental Congress ultimately approved the Declaration of Independence.


Pennsylvania’s Joan Jett hasn’t lived in Pennsylvania since childhood, but she was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia, so she makes the list. Or her adopted stage name does. Jett got her first guitar at the age of thirteen, started calling herself Joan Jett, and co-founded The Runaways a few years later before embarking on a solo career.


Working at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Jonas Salk developed the world’s first polio vaccine. Hailed as a miracle worker, Salk also became a humanitarian, refusing to profit from his discovery. Polio was all-but eradicated in the following years as a result of his work.


What’s so Pennsylvania-centric about classic Kate? Ice hockey fans will know the answer. Kate Smith, the First Lady of Radio and a major star during World War II, recorded a famous version of “God Bless America.” It was played before Philadelphia Flyers’ home games. And, in the 1970s, during a series of significant games, Kate Smith herself came in person to perform – winning most of them.


The Liberty Bell is an inescapable symbol of the city of Philadelphia, and a symbol of freedom everywhere.


As in Lucretia Mott, suffragette and abolitionist.


Born in 1864, Nellie Bly became a world-changing journalist. Inspired by the fictional Around the World in 80 Days, she completed the journey in just 72. She went undercover in a mental institution, exposing the need for reform. Throughout, she was a tireless advocate for greater opportunity for women.


The state takes its name from William Penn. “Pennsylvania” means “Penn’s Woods.” Born into a prominent family, Penn would use his inheritance to establish the American colony around the ideals of religious tolerance. An adult convert to the Quaker faith, he brokered a deal to bring Quaker immigrants to his newly-established land.


It sounds unlikely, and yet, Philadelphia started out as an Old Testament place name, meaning “brotherly love.” It was used in small numbers for years, doubtless borrowed from the Bible. One notable bearer? Philadelphia Austen Hancock, an eighteenth century English socialite and aunt to the famous novelist Jane Austen.


If you know your Rocky movie history, the story begins with a down-on-his-luck prizefighter called Rocky Balboa. One of cinematic history’s most famous training sequences ends with the Italian Stallion finally running to the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s considerable steps.


In the west, Pittsburgh is the Steel City, famous for heavy industry.

Do you have any favorite Pennsylvania baby names?

First published on April 6, 2023, this post was revised and re-published on July 20, 2023. Happy Pennsylvania Day!

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About Alex Sandel

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What do you think?


  1. I’m a long time Phillies fan: I could see names like James/Jimmy (Rollins), Ryan (Howard), Shane (Victorino), Chase (Utley), and Cole (Hamels) from the 2008 World Series Champion team continuing to be options for parents who were kids or younger adults, and I’m not surprised to see current Phillies names like Harper and Bryson among the “more popular in PA than generally.” I’d predict 2022s National League champion team led to a boost of Bryce or Rhys in the region. This year, maybe Turner gets a boost? Lots of appealing player names from the past and present that are also familiar enough not to seem laughable or overly obvious if chosen in part due to fondness for a player/team.

  2. I’d love to see more parents opt for Independence and Philadelphia. The 250th anniversary of the Revolution is coming up in just a few years, so maybe it will happen!

    Brandywine has always been a guilty pleasure name of mine.