Top 5 most popular school names in the United States

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Although Maponics spatial data is most-often used to map real-world boundaries and populations of interest to provide needed business information, now and then, we like to stretch our own use-boundaries to create some trivia to share. In this case, using Maponics School Boundaries data, I created a query to determine the five most popular school names in the United States.

On a daily basis, I 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 name trends. Curiosity got the best of me so I started doing some querying to find out what the most popular school names were, what states they were found in, and the number of occurrences 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 (all elementary 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 242 occurrences, “Lincoln” clearly came in first. Of those, Illinois has the highest number of schools using the name. The association makes sense since 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 - 43
  • California - 34
  • Kansas - 17
  • Wisconsin 15
  • Iowa - 13


2. Washington Elementary School

The second most popular school name (189 instances) was Washington Elementary School, and this time, California came in with 30 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, 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 - 30
  • Illinois - 27
  • Ohio, New Jersey - 13
  • Wisconsin - 10


3. Central Elementary School

As the only word not associated with an individual’s name, 172 schools in the country are named Central Elementary School and Illinois takes the lead again with 11 schools. There was very little difference between the state ranked top for using “Central” and the second-ranked state (or the seventh ranked for that matter).


  • Illinois - 11
  • Ohio, California, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Texas - 10


4. Jefferson Elementary School

 Another presidential name to make the list was Jefferson Elementary School with a total of 171 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 - 19
  • Wisconsin - 14
  • New Jersey - 11
  • Minnesota - 7

​5. Roosevelt Elementary School

The fourth presidential name to make it on the top 5 list, Roosevelt Elementary School is represented 103 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 - 21
  • Washington - 8
  • Wisconsin, North Dakota, New Jersey - 7

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. With these bits of trivia, you should be ready for your next dinner party!