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Hoosier Daddy: Indiana’s ‘Peyton’ Baby Boom

Peyton Manning was more than just a superstar in Indiana; he was an inspiration for baby names. Manning comes back to Indianapolis this weekend when his Denver Broncos play the Colts on Sunday. And there will be a whole lot of new Peytons watching.

Manning spent 14 seasons at quarterback for the Colts, from 1998 through 2011, and led the team to a Super Bowl win after the 2006 season. Now, more kids named Peyton are coming through the high school football pipeline, as Greg Garber, who writes for our friends at, explained Friday.

But how big exactly was the Peyton baby boom in Indiana? 1,740, by our estimate. That’s how many more Peytons (both boys and girls) were born during Manning’s run above and beyond what one would expect based on the number born before his arrival. From 1994 to 1997, 50 babies on average were named Peyton each year in Indiana, according to Social Security Administration data on baby names by state. But that jumped to an average of 175 per year from 1998 through 20111 (it’s 174.5, to be exact). So that’s an excess of about 125 Peytons per year, over 14 years, or roughly 1,740 total Peytons.

But, of course, this is a whimsical exercise and doesn’t take into account that the Peyton boom was a national one. Peyton became a more popular name across the country at that same time and at basically the same rate (a 241 percent increase nationally vs. a 247 percent rise in Indiana). This obviously suggests that Peyton Manning, titan of football, was an inspiration to expectant parents across the country.

These days, there’s a new star quarterback for the Colts: Andrew Luck. Unfortunately, we don’t have a big enough sample size to see whether there has been an Andrew baby boom in Indiana. It’s a great name, though.


  1. We’re counting 1998 even though it was Manning’s rookie season, because he was drafted that spring.

Andrew Flowers wrote about economics and sports for FiveThirtyEight.