Type Portland into Google Maps and you’ll be directed to one of two cities in Oregon or Maine. But this isn’t the only example of cities with the same name in different U.S. states, nor is it the most popular.
The most common town name in USA and other common city names are often named for famous individuals like past presidents. In fact, as you’ll see, one man is responsible for two of the top 10 names. We’ll also touch on the coasts with the most, which is only illuminated thanks to a map, like the one below.
View Most Common City Names in a full screen map
Mapped are 10 of the most common U.S. place names from Wikipedia’s list. We pulled only the top 10, which was enough to fill our interactive map with over 360 customizable markers. Click around to explore the map, or read on for some insights into the data.
To kick off the commonly named places, we’ll take a look at the only ones with cities,
towns, CDPs, and villages all named after the same thing. Here’s a breakdown of those five.
- Washington (46 places)
- Franklin (43)
- Clinton (39)
- Centerville (38)
- Arlington (38)
As for the #1 most common place name, a whopping 46 places in the U.S. are named Washington, likely after the nation’s first President. Lots are, of course, cities, including Washington and Washington Terrace, Utah, Ohio’s Washington and Washington Court House, along with Washington and North Washington in Iowa—you get the idea. Many of these Washington-inspired cities are located throughout the Midwest in the previously mentioned Ohio and Iowa, along with Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and Illinois.
In addition to the 46 mapped cities, towns, villages, and boroughs, etc., we can’t forget about the state of Washington and that there is a Washington County in 31 of the 50 states. Which technically adds up to 91 places. Not to mention the 8th most common U.S. place name, with 33 namesakes, Georgetown, is often named due to this particular George, among a few others.
Other common place names likely inspired by past statesmen are Franklin (as in Benjamin), with 43 copycat locations, and Clinton (a New York family with a vice president and two governors, and more) with 39. But we can’t forget about the others on the map, including Greenville (31), formerly known as Buttsville. Clearly the most common of these are cities, but let’s investigate the other types next.
While Washington outranked Franklin above, when it comes to cities bearing their names, they’re just about even. Both have 16 scattered around the country and an equal (8) amount of towns. On the other hand, 14 cities are named for one Clinton or another.
Instead of cities, unincorporated communities (10) are the most common place named after Centerville, along with three places that just call themselves unincorporated, though cities are right behind at 9. And exactly 10 cities are dubbed Arlington, in addition to seven unincorporated communities.
For a more detailed breakdown of the rest of the common place names, check out the map. As for an overall breakdown?
- city (114)
- town (92)
- CDP (37)
- village (30)
- unincorporated community (30)
With an idea of the five most common names and their types, let’s move on to the coast with the most.
The map makes the Midwest and East Coast’s preference towards these common names clear (though that coast did have a 200-year head start). Specifically, Illinois is home to 21 commonly named places, including eight Centerville’s and two Arlington’s, Clinton’s, Fairview’s, and Washington’s. New York, on the other hand, is full of 20 other popular city names like four Clinton’s and three Greenville’s and Washington’s.
Aso thanks to the map, we clearly note contiguous Nevada and New Mexico come up with all original names for their cities and towns—at least where these common names are concerned. Both of these states, along with Alaska and Hawaii, have zero places named after those we’ve mentioned.
What else becomes obvious is that maps illuminate insights we might otherwise miss. See what our free map-making tool can illuminate in your data at batchgeo.com.