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Category: unisex baby names

posted by: bluejuniper View all posts by this author
unisex

By Brooke Cussans, Baby Name Pondering

One of the posts I did last year that I really enjoyed was Unisex Baby Names: Five new entries – a list of those names special enough to simultaneously debut for both girls and boys in 2012. There were just five, and it was interesting to learn about names from cultures I am largely unfamiliar with, plus some word names, celebrity names, and spelling variations I hadn’t considered. So I wanted to do the same for the 2013 names. And the three contenders for 2013 manage to deliver on all of those aspects.

CHIKAMSO – Given to 5 girls and 8 boys in 2013

Showing how much I still have to learn about the world of names, when I first saw Chikamso I thought it might be of Asian origin. I learned however that Chikamso is a Nigerian name from the Igbo (or Ibo) people. For a parent looking for a strong Igbo name that honours God, this could be a good choice, as it means ‘God I follow’ or ‘I am following God’. Possible nicknames include Chi – which is also an Igbo name reportedly meaning ‘God’ or ‘spiritual guardian’ – or the more commonly suggested Kamso. Or dare I suggest Kamzo? Kamso itself has never charted, but seems like it would be a cool and spunky nickname for either gender.

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There are a handful of super-controversial topics in baby naming.

Creative spellings.  Surnames-as-firsts.  And, of course, boys’ names on girls.

The first two are easier, I think.  They’re about style and preference.  If you love the look of Madelyn, no amount of cajoling will convince you that it really must be Madeline.  And either surnames like Lincoln and Bellamy make your shortlist, or not.

But when it comes to gender, there’s more at stake.

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Top Unisex Names 2013

unisex baby names

Rowan maintains the Number One spot, as it has all year, on our list of Most Popular Unisex Names 2013.

Quinn and Kai are second and third.  Our two new entrants to the Top 20 are the celebrity-inspired North along with Arden at Number 16.

We define unisex names as names given to less than 90 percent of either gender in the U.S.  We include the gender split taken from the most recent Social Security figures, which you can view in more detail on the chart on our Unisex Baby Names home page.

Our popularity lists are tabulated by ranking the unique page views each name attracts out of the over 20 million total views of our baby name pages in 2013.  Starting in 2014, we’ll be able to calculate the number of views of our names by gender and so will rank names considered unisex with the overall girls’ and boys’ popularity lists.

One trend evident from this list is the unusual predominance of names that start with the letter R, a trend unique to unisex names, with E-starting names in second place.  Remy is the name most evenly divided in use between the sexes, with Marlowe the choice used most often for girls and Kai leaning furthest toward the male side.

Our Top 20 Unisex Names for 2013 are:

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Unisex Names 2013: The top 20 (so far)

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By Pamela Redmond Satran

Rowan has taken over from Quinn as the most popular unisex name on Nameberry.

Rowan attracted the most views of all the unisex names on the site, defined as names given to at least 10% of the minority gender. Rowan, a Scottish and Irish name meaning “little redhead,” is more evenly unisex than Quinn, ranking 455 for girls and 301 for boys on the U.S. popularity list.

The other big news on our unisex list is the appearance of North, thanks to little North West, daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. While North was used for only 12 boys and fewer than five girls according to the official U.S. tallies for 2012, the current interest is almost entirely as a girls’ name.

The unisex names ranking highest in the 14 million views of our name pages in the first nine months of the year are:

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unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Some unisex baby names start as female choices and shift over time to become more boyish, but many more begin as all-boy names and over the decades cross to the girls’ side.

The baby names here are extreme cases.  Most started life, back when the US government began recording babies’ names, as 100% male choices, and now have become mostly girls’ names.

While we were tempted to narrow the field to only those dozen names that went from 100% male to 100% female, the entire list proved just too interesting to cut.

The baby names that have morphed from blue to pink – and when they made their big switch – include:

Addison

100% male in 1880, 98% female in 2012

Jumped to 55% female in 1996

Alexis

100% male in 1882, 77% female in 2012

In 1942, Alexis leaped to 69% female from 42%

Allison

100% male in 1880, 100% female in 2012

From 1942-1948 it jumped from 52% to 80% female

Ashley

100% male in 1880, 100% female in 2012

Crossed the line in 1965 to become 64% female

Aubrey

100% male in 1880, 98% female in 2012

In 1974, tipped to 52% female

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