popular school names

Spatial Data & APIs

Top 5 most popular school names in the United States

By Megan Petroski, Data Processing Engineer, Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes spatial data is most-often used to map real-world boundaries and populations of interest to provide needed business information, It can also be used for lighter endeavors… like trivia.  Using Pitney Bowes School Boundaries data, I created a query to determine the five most popular school names in the United States.

I’m often tasked to sift through hundreds of school names, checking them for accuracy and updating them as needed. When you go through that many, you start to see trends. I decided to find out what the most popular school names were, what states they were found in and the number of occurrences both nationally and by state.

There are a few things to keep in mind when checking out the list. The query I used looked at all of the full school names and the number of times the names occurred. Once I got the top five words (which were all elementary schools since they outnumber secondary schools nearly three-to-one), I took each of those names and looked at how many times those top ranked names occurred in each state. I then highlighted the top five states where the name occurred.

1. Lincoln Elementary School

With 252 occurrences, “Lincoln” clearly came in first. Of those, Illinois has the highest number of schools using the name. The association makes sense. Abe and Mary bought a home in Springfield, Illinois in 1844 and lived there for 17 years before renting it out after Lincoln was elected president. Today, the home is a national historic site open to the public. Notably absent from the top five is Kentucky, Lincoln’s birth state.

  • Illinois - 44
  • California - 35
  • Kansas - 19
  • Wisconsin - 17
  • Iowa - 14

2. Washington Elementary School

The second most popular school name (187 instances) was Washington Elementary School. This time California came in with 32 schools. Not counted within this total are those schools designated as “George Washington” or “George Washington Carver” which could have put the Washingtons in the top spot.

George Washington died more than 50 years before California became a state, leaving little evidence of a historical link. George Washington Carver was born in 1860, a decade after California was admitted as the 31st state, doesn’t have strong historical links with the state either. Yet the name “Washington” ranks highest there. Virginia and Alabama, respectively the birthplaces of each of those great men, don’t make the list below. 

  • California - 32
  • Illinois - 27
  • Wisconsin - 10

3. Central Elementary School -

As the only word not associated with an individual’s name, 168 schools in the country are named Central Elementary School. Here Illinois takes the lead again with 13 schools.

  • Illinois - 13
  • Indiana, Michigan – 11
  • Texas - 10

4. Jefferson Elementary School 

 Another presidential name to make the list was Jefferson Elementary School with a total of 167 instances. This time California takes the top prize with 26 schools. Jefferson, like Washington, died before California became a state. Also like Washington, Jefferson has little, if any, historical link to the other states using this name.

  • California - 26
  • Illinois - 18
  • Wisconsin - 15

​5. Roosevelt Elementary School 

The fourth presidential name to make it on the top 5 list, Roosevelt Elementary School is represented 115 times, with California (for the third time) taking the lead. Again, keeping things consistent, neither Theodore Roosevelt nor Franklin D. Roosevelt have strong historical ties to any of the states using this name for their schools.

  • California - 24
  • Washington - 9
  • Wisconsin, North Dakota, New Jersey – 8

One final note – with both Teddy and FDR represented by the “Roosevelt” name, the presidents most-often hitting the top-five best presidents list by historians all show up in the top school names. The wonderful part of our data is how it compliments other data. Pitney Bowes differentiates themselves within the Data market through the strategic layering of our extensive Data sets. Learn more about the insights that LI and boundary data can yield. Our school and college boundary data contributes to digital marketing insights for Adtech and Martech companies. They support eCommerce offerings and advertising capabilities through single customer view insights and outreach. Learn more about the Data sets that are supporting digital transformations world-wide.