For a country the size of the United States, it’s not surprising that some towns, both big and small, share the same name. About a third of all cities, towns, villages, and census-designated places (CDPs) don’t have unique names. Almost 3,800 of them appear between two and 30 times across the country.
It’s not unusual for a place to be named after a person who made a significant impact on the region or country as a whole. Take George Washington, for example. He is the inspiration for 13 cities’ names, as well as that of the nation’s capital.
Another example is Benjamin Franklin. His last name is a favorite for American cities. A total of 30 — the most in the country — are named after him.
The idea behind giving a place its name, by which it will likely be known for years and even centuries, is to distinguish it from others. That’s why the name may simply be representative of the area’s surrounding geographic features. Chicago, for example, has a name of Algonquian origin. It is derived from “shikaakwa,” meaning wild garlic, which was abundant in the area.
Towns sometimes change their names. It may be because they have grown too much, have come under new rule, or simply for popularity.
To identify the most common city names in the United States, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the frequency of names of cities, towns, municipalities, boroughs, villages, and census designated places (CDPs) from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Population data also came from the ACS.
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