The iconic TV family shouldn’t live in “Springfield.” Here’s why.
In the late 1980s, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening reportedly based the show in a town called Springfield because it was widely believed to be the most common town name in the United States, and so the most generic and non-specific. He wanted the town to be set in “Anytown, U.S.A.,” and so he did, and named it Springfield. But because Groening is from Oregon, where there’s a moderately large city named Springfield, fans speculated that that Springfield was the “real” one, meaning the Springfield the one from The Simpsons was based on. It’s not true.
Springfield is certainly a common name for a town. How may are there in the U.S.? At last count, there are 31. But despite that prevalence, it’s not actually the most common city or town name in the country. That honor goes to Washington. If Groening really wanted the Simpson family to live in the most commonly named place, they should live in Washington, U.S.A.
There are a whopping 38 cities, towns, villages, census designated places, and townships in the U.S. that are named some form of Washington. The biggest is Washington, D.C. Oddly, there are six different places in New Jersey named Washington, including the borough of Washington, the Township of Washington in Bergen County, and four separate entities called Washington Township. There are eight towns called Washington in Wisconsin as well. In total, there’s at least one Washington in 24 states. A notable absence on that list? The state of Washington has no individual cities called Washington.
The second-most common place name in the U.S. is Franklin, with 33 instances in 30 states.