100 Unisex Names for Boys
Unisex names for boys don’t get a lot of press these days.
We’re living in an era when an increasing number of parents are choosing not just gender neutral names, but even traditionally male ones for their daughters. Famous examples include Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson’s Maxwell, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutscher’s Wyatt, and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ James.
The current Top 100 girl names in the US includes 12 choices that first entered the baby name charts for boys: Harper, Avery, Madison, Riley, Addison, Aubrey, Kennedy, Skylar, Quinn, Allison, Emery and Peyton.
But on the boys’ side? Zero. Not one of the Top 100 boy names in the US started life on the girls’ side. You have to scroll all the way down to #158 Jayce to find a predominantly male name that did – and even then, the dominant pronunciation differs for boys (rhymes with Chase) and girls (rhymes with Stacey).
Unisex Names Trending Male in the US
We’ve talked before about the subconscious bias of unisex name trends, but there are a select group of names swimming against the tide of boy to girl crossovers. We analyzed the US baby name data from the past two decades to uncover around 100 unisex options which are going against the grain and moving further toward the boys’ side.
Taking a closer look at the biggest movers into the boy camp – those that saw a shift of more than 50% in the proportion of male births over the period – gives us an illuminating insight into the different factors at play.
The top mover into the male camp is Kayce. It's a whopping 72% more male in the latest data from 2021 than it was back in 2001 – again, with the important disclaimer that different pronunciations predominate for the different sexes.
Kayce for a boy is homophonous with the on-trend choices Case, Kase and Kace – all in the current Top 1000 – as well as rhyming with other fashionable names like Ace, Chase and Jace.
Meanwhile, Kayce for a girl peaked in the late 80s, around the same time as soundalikes like Casey, Kacey and Kaycee. All of these names have since dropped out of the Top 1000 for girls.
The second biggest mover into the male camp is Asiah (+69%), boosted by the boom in cool Biblical boy names ending in -iah, like Azariah, Isaiah, Jasiah and Messiah.
In third place is Jaidyn (+55%), which peaked for both sexes in the early noughties but – as has tended to be the case historically – fell out of favor far faster for girls than boys. Jaidyn dropped out of the girls’ Top 1000 in 2011 and out of the Top 2000 in 2015, after which it actually saw a slight rise for boys as an alternative (rather than feminized) spelling of the mega-popular Jayden.
The fourth and final name to see a shift of more than 50% in the proportion of male births is Kyrie, up 53%. Back in 2001, it was a rising alternative to the trendy girl name Kylie. But basketball star Kyrie Irving gave it a huge boost for boys in 2011, when he made his NBA debut. It has since increased more than tenfold in use for baby boys – showing the power a positive pop culture association can have.
Unisex Names for Boys: The Stats
Among the other names that have seen a sizeable shift towards the male camp over the past two decades are several groups of variant spellings that, like Jaidyn, have lost or lessened their “feminized” feel over time.
Jaidyn, Jaydan and Jaeden are joined by groupings like Karsen and Karsyn; Camdyn, Kamdyn and Kamden; and Mikah and Mykah in becoming proportionally more masculine over the time period.
Other masculine-trending names have high-profile male namesakes to recommend them. Kyrie is joined by choices like Ashton (Kutscher), (Channing) Tatum and (Carlos) Santana in this category.
And there are also many examples of names that are falling faster for girls than boys (Alexis, Courtney, Dominique), rising faster for boys than girls (Legend, Rivers, Yael) or falling for girls while rising for boys (Casey, Jamie, Osiris).
We’ve limited the field to those with at least 50 combined births in both 2001 and 2021, and which saw at least a 15% shift toward the boys’ side over that period. They are shown in order of biggest gender shift towards male, with figures rounded to the nearest whole number.
Names With a 30%+ Gender Shift
Names With a 25-29% Gender Shift
Names With a 20-24% Gender Shift
Names With a 15-19% Gender Shift