Most Distinctive Last Names by State

According to the most recent publicly available U.S. Census data from the year 2000, the five most common last names in the United States are Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, and Jones. But what are the regional variations? While the Census Bureau breaks out each last name by race and ethnicity, it doesn’t provide a count by state. There are other data sources, however. In 2014 Ancestry.com ran the numbers from their own database, and compiled the top three most common last names by state. With the exception of the Southwest states and Hawaii, the top few names nationwide tended to also dominate the state-specific rankings.

However, another way to uncover regional differences at the state level is to calculate the most distinctive last name by state. Using a methodology similar to the “Most Distinctive Obituary Euphemism for 'Died' in Each State” map, I calculated the difference between the state and national prevalence of each of the top 250 last names nationwide, based on Social Security Administration data. The highest value gives the last name that is most distinctive to that state.

By and large, the results are reflective of each state’s demographics and immigration history. In New England and Appalachia, Irish and English names dominate (Walsh, Sullivan, Payne). In the Midwest and Mountain States, German and Scandinavian names are common (Jensen, Snyder, Carlson). In California, Florida, and the Southwest, it's Latino names (Lopez, Hernandez, Gonzalez). New York and New Jersey’s Jewish communities also show up (Cohen, Schwartz, Hoffman).

To see the top five names for each state and for more about the methods and sources used to create this map, visit this post at SimonKnowz.com.

The Most Binge-Watched TV Show in Each State

iStock.com/franckreporter
iStock.com/franckreporter

Does geographical location influence taste when it comes to binge-watching TV shows? That was the question tackled by Geek.com, which polled 1500 people across the country recently to discover which shows rank among the most popular in each state. Here’s what they found out.

An infographic shows the most-binged television shows in each state
Geek.com

It comes as little surprise that Game of Thrones, which is available on HBO’s cable and streaming platforms, is a series that exhibits widespread appeal. The fantasy drama, which is currently airing its eighth and final season, ranks as the show most likely to be binged and the favorite of eight states. Coming in second was The Office (Netflix), with Ozark (Netflix), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime), and Grace and Frankie (Netflix) rounding out the top five.

A list of the most-binged shows in the country is pictured
Geek.com

Many of the binged shows are comedies, with 44.9 percent of respondents deeming it their preferred genre. Residents of Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah were notable exceptions, with those states leaning toward dramas.

While shows like Friends, NCIS, and Stranger Things ranked first in many states, others hold some outliers. The Hallmark family drama When Calls the Heart is favored in Utah, Nevada prefers the CW series Supernatural, and North Dakota enjoys the violent action-drama The Punisher.

While Game of Thrones is on top for now, streaming services shouldn’t underestimate the affection for network sitcoms. Of those polled, 19 percent said they would cancel Netflix if Friends left the line-up, and 14 percent would do the same if The Office disappeared.

[h/t Geek.com]

The Most Talked-About Cat and Dog Breeds in Each State

Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Every pet parent thinks their fur baby’s breed is the brightest and cutest—and in a way, they’re all right. But some breeds are more popular on social media than others, and we’re not talking about the number of followers your munchkin cat or blue-eyed husky has on Instagram.

As Veterinarian’s Money Digest reports, TrustedHousesitters—a website that matches travel-loving pet parents with trusted pet sitters—analyzed more than 3.5 million social media posts (on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) across the country to determine the most widely discussed cat and dog breeds by state. As it turns out, the most talked-about feline and canine breeds are Persians and bulldogs, respectively. Persians are the top talked-about kitty in 31 states, and bulldogs are social media stars in 13 states (although the findings didn't distinguish between English and French bulldogs).

More than half of all social media mentions of pet breeds came from Californians, who apparently love to discuss their animals online. Some of the findings are unsurprising—like the fact that the husky is most popular in Alaska, or that the Maine coon is most popular in Maine—while others are harder to explain. (Take, for instance, South Dakota’s affinity for short-haired Abyssinian cats.)

The analysis also took smaller pets into consideration. Lizards are discussed more frequently than any particular cat or dog in Las Vegas, and micro pigs are surprisingly popular in Arizona. For the adorable evidence, just look at the Instagram hashtag #AZMicroMiniPigs.

Check out the interactive map below to see where your kitty or pooch’s breed is most popular.

[h/t Veterinarian’s Money Digest]

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