More Parents Are Opting for Gender-Neutral Baby Names

·4 min read

When it comes to baby names, there's usually one question that starts off the search: Are you looking for a boy name or a girl name?

Increasingly, though, the question doesn't matter. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which keeps data about the most popular baby names, still separates the name list by boys and girls. But parents, it seems, are less and less likely to adhere to conventions about which names belong to which column.

And that's not just a feeling: The website Quartz found an overall decrease in gendered American names since 1920. At the same time, interest in gender-neutral and unisex names is increasing. According to NetCredit, which looked back at 100 years of baby names, there was an 88% increase in the use of unisex names between 1985 and 2015.

If you're one of the parents interested in the popular or unique gender-neutral baby names, you can find some inspiration below. Some are common for everyone; others are traditionally associated with one gender but are increasingly flipping to the other one. But they're all beautiful, and unlikely to leave with you with baby-name regret.

These Names Are Split Equally Between Boys and Girls

Nameberry, a baby-naming site that tracks user interest in baby names, took a look at the most recent data and found what they call "nonbinary names," or names that are used (roughly) the same number of times for boys and girls. These truly unisex names include these monikers.

  1. Arden

  2. Bellamy

  3. Briar

  4. Brighton

  5. Callaway

  6. Cove

  7. Cypress

  8. Ever

  9. Halston

  10. Hollis

  11. Honor

  12. Jupiter

  13. Kingsley

  14. Kit

  15. Landry

  16. Lexington

  17. Lux

  18. Merritt

  19. Ocean

  20. Revel

  21. Rory

  22. Salem

  23. Sol

  24. Timber

  25. True

Many of these, like Ocean, Sol, Cypress and Cove, are nature-inspired names, a baby-naming trend that's gaining steam across the board.

Photo credit: Vera  Livchak
Photo credit: Vera Livchak

These Gender-Neutral Baby Names Are on the Rise

When BabyCenter looked at its own users, it also found a strong interest in gender-neutral names. It saw an increase in lookups for these unisex monikers: Stevie, Lennon, Charleigh, Remington and Logan. And while those are names that have had history of being both boy and girl names, BabyCenter has also seen a recent trend of names that flipped from one side to the other: Tatum, Finley, and Eden are increasing for boys, according to the site, and names like Sterling and George popped up on girls' lists.

These Names Have Become Less Gendered Over Time

Like the names that flipped from blue to pink, Quartz has analyzed a few names that have become more and more gender-neutral over the past 100 or so years: Alexis, Blake, Dylan, Parker and Spencer among them. They may have started off being associated with either boys or girls, but over time, the other side has managed to even the score. (Interestingly, the names Ashton and Harper have become more gendered over time.) Other popular unisex names Quartz has observed include Skylar, Azariah, Royal, Hayden, Emerson, Rowan, Baylor, Dakota, River, Emory and Phoenix.

These Are the Most Unisex Names — and the Most Flip-Flopped Names — In American History

Data scientist Nathan Yau analyzed SSA charts going back decades, and found names that kept the unisex 50-50 split for years, even decades. He also notes the times that a moment in pop-culture history — such as Disney using the name Ariel for the protagonist in The Little Mermaid — tipped the scales one way or another. According to Yau, these are the most typically unisex names:

  1. Jessie

  2. Marion

  3. Jackie

  4. Alva

  5. Ollie

  6. Jodie

  7. Cleo

  8. Kerry

  9. Frankie

  10. Guadalupe

  11. Carey

  12. Tommie

  13. Angel

  14. Sammie

  15. Jamie

  16. Kris

  17. Robbie

  18. Tracy

  19. Merrill

  20. Noel

  21. Rene

  22. Johnnie

  23. Ariel

  24. Jan

Those are names that have been used pretty evenly for both boys and girls. Yau also notes the names that have switched the most, ping-ponging back and forth between being used by mostly girls, then mostly boys, and vice-versa. The most toggled names are:

  1. Casey

  2. Jackie

  3. Kerry

  4. Jodie

  5. Finley

  6. Skylar

  7. Justice

  8. Rene

  9. Darian

  10. Frankie

  11. Oakley

  12. Robbie

  13. Remy

  14. Milan

  15. Jaylin

  16. Devan

  17. Armani

  18. Charlie

  19. Stevie

  20. Channing

  21. Gerry

  22. Monroe

  23. Kirby

  24. Azariah

  25. Santana

Photo credit: PeopleImages
Photo credit: PeopleImages

The Bump Keeps Its Own List of Unisex Names

Bump users tend to have their fingers on the pulse, so look for these Bump-approved unisex names to get even more popular in the future.

  1. Kai

  2. Hunter

  3. Elliot

  4. Jude

  5. Jalen

  6. Asa

  7. Evan

  8. Aubrey

  9. Zion

  10. Kyle

More Options for Gender-Neutral Names

If you didn't find your unisex name among those listed above, here are additional gender-neutral names.

  1. Avery

  2. Brooklyn

  3. Campbell

  4. Dallas

  5. Gray

  6. Greer

  7. Haven

  8. Indigo

  9. Jordan

  10. Lennox

  11. Morgan

  12. Onyx

  13. Peyton

  14. Quinn

  15. Reese

  16. Riley

  17. Robin

  18. Sawyer

  19. Shae

  20. Shiloh

  21. Story

  22. Sutton

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