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.
Many of these, like Ocean, Sol, Cypress and Cove, are nature-inspired names, a baby-naming trend that's gaining steam across the board.
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:
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:
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.
More Options for Gender-Neutral Names
If you didn't find your unisex name among those listed above, here are additional gender-neutral names.
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