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America's Top Unisex Names of 2021

America's Top Unisex Names of 2021

Want to know the most popular unisex names? We’ve crunched the numbers for you.

Our definition of a unisex name is one that’s used for both girls and boys with a split of at least 90-10. (For the most popular names, there are always a few opposites recorded, like the 14 boys called Emma and 21 girls called William in 2021. But it’s not particularly accurate or helpful to call them unisex, when the balance is so overwhelmingly towards one gender.)

These gender neutral names cover a range of styles: surnames, place names, nicknames, nature and virtuous word names. What unites them is that they are (mostly) modern names that have only seen significant use in the last few decades. There are very few grandparents of any gender named Riley, Justice or Kendall yet. Unlike Emma and William, they don’t have centuries of association with one gender.

Mostly. Some old, established names, like Ryan and Rory, have been used enough for the non-traditional gender that they now count as unisex names. Others have different cultural uses, and even different pronunciations, depending on whether they’re a girl or boy name, such as Angel and Azariah.

Read on for our chart of the most popular unisex names in the US in 2021, based on national data. They are listed in order of the total number of children given each name. (With thanks to Sophie Kihm for analyzing the data!)

Top 10 Unisex Names of 2021

The line-up features many of the same names as 2020, with one big exception. There's a new Number 1! In 2021, Logan qualifies as unisex, having fallen for boys and risen for girls, among whom it is now used 10.5% of the time. Logan knocks Sawyer out of the Top 10.

Logan has several common features of unisex names: it has history as a surname, a gender-neutral N ending, and a strong O sound similar to popular girl and boy names, like Olivia and Noah.

The Top 10 shows us the most common unisex surname names (Parker and Avery), nature names (River and Rowan), and Irish and Scottish names (Ryan and Cameron).

Avery and Riley are used more for girls, and the other eight lean more boy. The most gender-neutral names in the Top 10 are Parker and River, which have a 35-65 girl-boy split.

Unisex Name Trends

Looking further down the Top 100 unisex names (listed further below), here are a few trends in sound and meaning that you may notice.

R names rule

R is the most common initial in the Top 100, heading up 13 popular unisex names: Reese, Reign, Remi, Remington, Remy, Riley, River, Rory, Rowan, Rowen, Royal, Ryan, and Rylan

Y and N endings

Over half the Top 100 names end in either an “ee” sound (like Charlie and Emery), or an N (like Sutton and Reign). These clearly hold sway as gender-neutral endings, whereas the less common end sounds of Monroe and Sterling make them more distinctive.

What parents value

The most popular unisex names give a snapshot into what’s important for the people who chose them.

The most obvious are the English word names, which show we seek connection both with nature (Aspen, Sage, Wren) and with all that is noble, powerful and enduring (Royal, Justice, Legacy). Some parents like the cool association with places (Dakota, Memphis), others with luxury brands (Armani, Dior). There are names with close links to music heroes (Lennon, Santana), and others with a strong dash of the modern Christian trend (Shiloh, Salem).

Top 100 Unisex Names of 2021

In 2021, Banks, Ocean, Oaklee, Onyx, and Sevyn rose into the unisex Top 100. Emery and Logan also entered the list, because the previous year they were not given to enough girls (for Emery, to enough boys) to make the 90-10 split for unisex names.

These names replaced Ali, August, Charley, Finnley, Kingsley, McKinley, and Reece. This year August, McKinley, and Ali were not gender-balanced enough to count as unisex names.

The fastest-rising names in the Top 100 were hot celebrity baby name Banks, which climbed 45 places, followed by Ocean, Oaklee, and Wren. The biggest drops were from Skyler, Charley, and Karsyn.

Read next

Unisex names across the Atlantic

Truly Gender-Neutral Names Achieve Gender Parity

Cool Unisex Middle Names

Got a name story to tell? If you'd like to write about your personal experience with your own name, your child's name, names in your family or your culture, we'd love to consider your story for publication on Nameberry. Email us a sentence or two about your idea at clare@nameberry.com

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at clare@nameberry.com