Category: unisex names for girls

Girls’ Name? Boys’ Name? Who Cares?

unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

When we named Post-Gender Baby Names as our Number 1 trend for 2016, we were mostly just guessing. Oh sure, the guess was backed up by some strong cultural trends, from marriage equality to trans recognition, as well as a raft of celebrity baby names.

But when The New York Times asked us whether we could back up the trend with, you know, actual statistics, we weren’t entirely positive what we’d find. Baby name prognosticating is as tricky as any other kind of forecasting, relying as much on instinct as on science. Our gut told us that baby names that defied gender categories were on the rise for both girls and boys. But would the numbers bear that out?

Our discovery, as reported in today’s New York Times by Alex Williams: The number of babies with truly unisex names — those most evenly split between the sexes  —  has exploded in the past ten years.  And boys are getting these post-gender names as often as girls, with 60 percent more babies getting gender-neutral names in 2015 than in 2005.

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Cool Names for Girls and Boys

cool unisex names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Names that break with convention — style and family and culture and spelling and, yes, gender —  have become more and more desirable for many parents looking to reinvent baby naming.

While we’re all familiar with such trendy unisex names as Rowan, Rory, and River, there’s a new generation of choices that are more unusual and push the gender boundaries even further.  Here, a dozen uncommon choices that work for a girl or a boy.

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Unisex Baby Names….or are they really?

unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

There are many names that look unisex, feel unisex….but are they really?  Going by the strictest definition of the term, are these names truly used for babies of both genders?

In many cases, no.  The names here, which many people consider unisex, were actually used overwhelmingly for one gender over the other.  Figures are based on the 2013 US statistics, and were compiled with the help of intern Megan Garon.

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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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posted by: NameFreak! View all posts by this author
girlish boy

by Kelli Brady at namefreak!

As I go through the Top 100 girl names from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, I notice that quite a few are the feminine form of male names. It’s noticeable because it is such a big difference from the current trend of unisex names. Most feminine form names have disappeared from the top in favor of names that either are unisex or were originally male names. Take a look:

Top 100 from 1880-1930
Twist on Male Names            Male/Unisex Names Given to Girls
Caroline                                              Billie
Charlotte                                            Carol
Georgia                                               Marion
Geraldine                                            Ollie
Jacqueline                                           Willie
Josephine
Leona
Louise
Maxine
Norma
Patricia
Pauline
Roberta

Top 100 from 2012
Twist on Male Names           Male/Unisex Names Given to Girls
Brianna                                                Ashley
Caroline                                               Aubrey
Charlotte                                             Avery
Makayla                                               Bailey
.                                                           Brooklyn
.                                                           Harper
.                                                           Kennedy
.                                                           Mackenzie
.                                                           Morgan
.                                                           Peyton
.                                                           Reagan
.                                                           Riley
.                                                           Skylar
.                                                           Sydney
.                                                           Taylor

It’s interesting to see the “masculine” preference change from a form of a masculine name to the actual masculine (or unisex) name.

How do you feel about the change in preference? Are there any feminine form names you wish would return to the Top 100?

Originally posted at NameFreak! on May 22, 2013 and revised for Nameberry.

Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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