Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Springfield isn't the most popular city name in the US
OK, why do the Simpsons live in a town called Springfield? Isn't that a little generic?
Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show “Father Knows Best” took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown. When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, “This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.” And they do.
Matt Groening Reveals the Location of the Real Springfield | Arts & Culture| Smithsonian Magazine
So I got to wondering, is Springfield the most popular city name in the US? I know, weird question, but I'm curious. So some quick searching lead me to the United States Geological Survey Geographical Names Database. With some massaging of the data, I was able to determine that there are 34 States with a “Springfield,” but it's not alone. There are eight other cities that are also in 34 States: Arlington, Chester, Clinton, Farmington, Florence, Greenville, Milton, and Newport. Okay, maybe not the same 34 states across all those cities, but you get the idea.
But those cities aren't the most popular names. No, all of them are tied for ninth place! The city name that appears in most states is “Riverside” at 46 States (plus Puerto Rico). The States that don't have a “Riverside” are Alaska, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Louisiana (really? Louisiana? One of the world's largest river run straight through that state, and no one bothered to name a town in Louisiana, “Riverside?”).
And just to satisfy the curious: