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Unisex Girl Names Keep Evolving

Unisex Girl Names Keep Evolving

Unisex girl names — did we get that right? Yep, these are names that are given mainly to girls but still feel unisex. Many parents love this style for their daughters, and with lots of cool possibilities, it’s easy to see why.

What makes girl names like Everly, Riley and Quinn so popular? First, they’re fresh and modern, so unlike names with a long history, they have no previous associations. No mean girls at school, no awkward movie characters, no terrible historical figures. They’re names that the new generation of kids can make their own.

We can see the rise of this style of names from around 50 years ago. Before that, there were a few popular unisex-feminine names (Shirley, Willie, Vivian), but feminizations — like vintage Frances and Geraldine, then mid-century Michelle and Nicole — were much more dominant.

Around the 1960s and 70s, the balance tipped and once-unisex names like Tracy and Stacy, Shannon and Morgan, too over the girls’ charts. Today, there are only a few feminizations left in the US Top 100, including Charlotte and Gabriella, and there are many more unisex girl names.

This style suits creative tastes, adding a playful twist to sounds already in fashion. There’s a straight line from the popularity of Emma and Ava to the rise of Emery and Avery. And the cycle is ever-renewing, as favorites from past generations give way to similar-yet-different names: Harper is the new Taylor, Kinsley is the new Kimberly.

Then there’s the gender thing. If you’re looking for a girl name that’s not traditionally feminine or frilly, but is upbeat and substantial and a bit gender-ambiguous… well, these names capture all that.

Take a look at what’s hot now, and where unisex girl names are heading next.

Popular unisex girl names

You’ll probably spot some patterns in the top unisex girl names. Popular endings include -ry, -ly, -dy, -son, and -ton (with spelling variations: -ree, -lie, -tyn and so on). These create names that feel like placename-surnames, whether they really are or not. Favorite initial sounds include K-, P-, R-, and vowels. Certain occupational names are hot too, led by Harper, Skylar and Piper.

These unisex girl names are in the US Top 100:

  • Harper

  • Avery

  • Madison

  • Riley

  • Everly

  • Aubrey

  • Addison

  • Brooklyn

  • Paisley

  • Skylar

  • Genesis

  • Kennedy

  • Kinsley

  • Quinn

  • Piper

  • Emery

  • Vivian

  • Peyton

  • Rylee

  • Rising unisex girl names

    Below the Top 100, these names are all rising and would be cool, but not too out-there, to use for a girl now. (Names marked * are still more popular for boys, but the gap is closing.)

  • Adley

  • Amari*

  • Andi

  • Arden

  • Aspen

  • Blair

  • Blakely

  • Bristol

  • Charlie

  • Collins

  • Denver*

  • Dior

  • Eden

  • Egypt

  • Ellison

  • Emani

  • Frankie

  • Haisley

  • Harlow

  • Holland

  • Indie

  • Journey

  • Kamari*

  • Karter*

  • Kimber

  • Landry

  • Legacy

  • Leighton

  • Milan*

  • Monroe

  • Oakley

  • Palmer

  • Parker*

  • Promise

  • Remi

  • River*

  • Rory*

  • Royalty

  • Sage

  • Saylor

  • Sevyn

  • Shiloh

  • Sutton

  • Tatum

  • Tinsley

  • Treasure

  • Waverly

  • Whitley

  • Wren

  • Zuri

  • Future trends in unisex girl names

    The names on the list above help to predict which trends we’re likely to see more of in the next few years. They include:

    —Names ending in -ari like Amari and Kamari (this is one of our big forecasts for 2021), in an “O” sound, like Harlow and Monroe, and in -en, like Aspen and Eden

    —Meaningful and spiritual word names, such as Journey and Legacy

    City and country names, like Denver and Egypt

    —Snappy androgynous nicknames such as Andi and Frankie

    With this as a guide, here are some rare options with great potential. If you love this style and want a name not many people have discovered, it could be one of these.

  • Afton

  • Atlee

  • Auri

  • Aven

  • Bellamy

  • Billie

  • Capri

  • Channing

  • Clarke

  • Cypress

  • Echo

  • Ellington

  • Eris

  • Harlem

  • Hennessy

  • Hollis

  • Indiana

  • Italy

  • Jersey

  • Kobie

  • Linden

  • Loyalty

  • Maybrie

  • Ollie

  • Perry

  • Porter

  • Quinley

  • Ramsey

  • Renley

  • Rio

  • Shea

  • Silver

  • Story

  • Timber

  • Winslow

  • Zari

  • Want more inspiration? Read our list of Unisex Names for Girls.

    About the Author

    Clare Green

    Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from the next high-rising names to how to choose a multilingual name, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and lives in England with her husband and toddler. You can follow everything she reads about names on Twitter or Scoop.it, or reach her at clare@nameberry.com