Unisex baby names, when they begin to veer toward use for one gender more than the other, typically move to the girls’ side.
But not always. Thanks to the wonderful chart by Steve Ruble that we are delighted to feature on our new unisex baby names home page, we can see how the gender ratio of unisex names morphs over time. And an increasing number of unisex baby names names are turning decidedly more blue.
The multi-ethnic Amari was two-thirds female in 2000, soon after in entered the U.S. Top 1000, and now has reversed course and is 63% male.
Nickname-names Artie, Donnie, and Frankie along with many others were a fad for girls back in 1880, when the Social Security Administration began keeping records: They were 85% female at that time. By 1950 all three names were given to half girls and half boys, and today have become virtually all-male.
Ashton tarted out as a quietly but consistently-used boys’ name. Then in the late 1980s it had a flurry of use for girls; in 1986, 1,200 children were given the name, 79% of them female. But now Ashton is 94% male.
Carey and Kerry have both been used quietly since the 1880s, for decades almost always for males. But in the 1970s and early 80s that switched and the names both became two-thirds female. And now it’s switched back so that 72% of the children named Carey and 66% of those named Kerry are boys.
Three names that started out male, in the 1940s became half female, and now are back to being all male.
In 1971, half the babies named Deshawn were girls and half boys. The next year the proportion rose to 2/3 male, and now the name is virtually all-male. Lashawn started as 100% a girls’ name and now is 86% boys.
Devon was once an all-male name. Then from the late 40s through the early 80s the percentage of girls named Devon rose, hitting 2/3 in the late 1970s. But now Devon is back to being nearly 90% male. Spellings Deven and Devin are even more boyish, while Devan and Devyn tip the proportion slightly girlward.
Once over 80% female, Dominique is now more than 50% male.
In the mid 1970s there were more girls than boys named Dusty, but now Dustys are almost all boys.
Jaime began as an all-boy name, the Spanish form of James or a spelling variation of Jamie. Then in the late 70s and early 80s it was a fad name for girls. And now Jaime is back to being mostly a boys’ name.
Jean was a very popular name for girls into the 1980s, when it became less fashionable for girls and remained in use mostly among French-speaking parents. Now nearly 80% of the 248 children named Jean are boys.
In the 1970s Kai was used nearly half the time for girls, but now it’s used for over 80% boys.
In 1982, 90% of the Kirbys were male and then suddenly in 1983, the name became over 60% female. Now Kirby is fading back to blue, with two-thirds of the Kirbys boys.
Kyle was never really a girls’ name but in the 1950s as many as a third of the bearers were girls. Now virtually all Kyles are boys.
First used late 19th century almost always for girls but the gender balance tipped in the 1970s and now the name is mostly boys.
When Phoenix was first used in the early 1970s, it was almost always for girls, but by the early 90s that shifted and the name is now more than 60% male.
In the 1950s, a third of Shawns were girls, but now the name is virtually all boy.
Toby was more than half female until 1950. Since the 1970s more than 90% of Tobys have been male.
In the late 19th century Theo was predominantly female. Fifty years ago, a third of Theos were female. Now the name is 100% male.