Joannes in Buffalo

I just got back from short trip back home, visiting the 'rents in Buffalo, New York.

The following was something I’ve always noticed, but spending a few days back in the City of No Illusions brought it back to the forefront of my mind. There’s a lot of women in Buffalo named “Joanne.” I mean, maybe one out of every 20 or 30. When I lived in New Mexico, I encountered no Joannes. Here in Colorado, I estumble upon a Joanne maybe every couple of months. In Buffalo, I encountered several Joannes in a day.

I have no idea why “Joanne” is such a popular name in Buffalo. I’m thinking that it might be a popular name among Italian-Americans, of which there aren’t too many in Denver or New Mexico, but that’s just a wild guess. So, does anyone have any idea on why this name has such a large popularity in the region?

I practiced law in Buffalo for four years, and can’t recall running across a single one.

An experiment: searching the online versions of the Buffalo News and Denver Post yields the following results:

Buffalo: 201 hits
Denver: 48 hits
Ratio*: Roughly 4 women named Joanne in Buffalo for every 1 named Joanne in Denver.

  • Obviously, the Buffalo News has a bigger or broader archive than the Post. Calculating the ratio of one to the other should compensate for this.

Now let’s compare these figures to the top 5 female first names in the U.S. according to the U.S. Census:

Buffalo: more than 500
Denver: 58
Ratio: at least 10 women named Mary in Buffalo for every 1 named Mary in Denver

Buffalo: 392
Denver: 12
Ratio: 32:1

Buffalo: 429
Denver: 38
Ratio: 11:1

Buffalo: 454
Denver: 65
Ratio: 7:1

Buffalo: 387
Denver: 26
Ratio: 15:1

O.k, how about the names that cluster around “Joanne” (ranked 147th) in the census?

Buffalo: 340
Denver: 9
Ratio: 37:1

Buffalo: 84
Denver: 5
Ratio: 16:1

Buffalo: 63
Denver: 6
Ratio: 10:1

Buffalo: 65
Denver: 0
Ratio: ?

While this isn’t a very scientific method of surveying the information, it at least suggests that your observation is incorrect.

[arthur dent]: Is she…