Most popular gender-neutral baby names
Where once girls’ and boys’ names were strictly delineated, and any variation might be noteworthy, today, many names do not indicate if the bearer is male or female. Like the belief that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, such definitions are fast becoming a thing of the past. Gender-neutral names have taken hold as modern-day parents try to give their children more liberty in defining who they are. Gender-neutral names, also sometimes called post-gender names, are seen as ways for children to be set free from traditional roles, stereotypes, and limited expectations tied to gender.
Today’s popular genderless names have varied origins. Some, like Emerson and Blake, are old and literary. Nature-inspired names like River and Sage are particularly noteworthy. The American West has served as a gender-free inspiration as well, with the popularity of such names as Dakota, Remington, and Phoenix. Celebrities have played their part, giving rise to the wider use of such monikers as Cameron, Jordan, Taylor, and Dylan. Still, other gender-neutral names started as surnames, as is the case with Finley, Carter, Quinn, Sawyer, and Parker.
That said, baby names far and away continue to be gender-specific. The most popular recent names for boys in the United States were Liam, Noah, and William. For girls, Emma, Olivia, and Ava lead the pack. But androgynous names are on the rise and seem to be gaining in popularity more each year.
Stacker took a look at the gender-neutral names that are most popular with new parents. We consulted the Social Security Administration’s baby names database, using data from 2018 (the most recent year available). We found 30 names that were given to at least 500 girls and at least 500 boys in 2018 and ranked them by the total number of babies given each name.
Read on to see if your name made the list.
You may also like: Most popular baby names in the 21st century
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 1,428
- 2018 rank for girls: #388 (794 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #459 (634 babies born)
Oakley started out as an English name for boys that meant oak wood, meadow, or clearing. The name gets some firepower from Annie Oakley, a legendary sharpshooter who traveled the world with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 1800s.
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 1,770
- 2018 rank for girls: #307 (1,083 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #438 (687 babies born)
From Latin, the word “sage” means wise. Native Americans burn the herb for cleansing. It became a popular name for girls and boys starting in the 1990s. Sage Francis is a popular hip-hop lyricist.
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 2,122
- 2018 rank for girls: #381 (810 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #268 (1,312 babies born)
Amari has Hebrew, African and Hindu origins, and it is said to mean eternal, promised by God, or strength, respectively. Amari Cooper is a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 2,243
- 2018 rank for girls: #247 (1,307 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #349 (936 babies born)
Originally a form of a Sioux word for friend, Dakota evokes the wide-open spaces of the American West. Namesakes include actors Dakota Johnson and Dakota Fanning and country singer-songwriter Dakota Bradley.
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 2,315
- 2018 rank for girls: #179 (1,640 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #445 (675 babies born)
In Greek, Alexis comes from the word for protector or defender. Historically, it has been a man’s name, such as that of French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville. More recently, Alexis Carrington was a well-known character of the 1980s television series “Dynasty,” played by Joan Collins.
You may also like: 87 top-rated charities to support military members and their families
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 2,337
- 2018 rank for girls: #353 (893 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #252 (1,444 babies born)
The phoenix in Greek mythology was a bird that died in a fire but rose up from the ashes. Representing rebirth and new life, the name has grown more popular in the last two decades. The most famous people with the name, however, could be those for whom it is a surname—actors Joaquin Phoenix and his late brother River Phoenix.
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 2,386
- 2018 rank for girls: #362 (862 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #245 (1,524 babies born)
Remington has historic connotations in Frederic Remington, a 19th-century painter and sculptor who created iconic scenes of the American West, and in the Remington firearms company that began handcrafting rifles in the early 1800s. The name became popular in the mid-1980s, around the time of the television series “Remington Steele,” starring Pierce Brosnan.
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 2,488
- 2018 rank for girls: #146 (1,894 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #488 (594 babies born)
Sounding like a serene garden paradise, Eden was a name for girls used by 17th-century Puritans. In more modern times, the name rose in popularity in the mid-1960s, about the time that actress Barbara Eden was delighting television fans on the hit show “I Dream of Jeannie.”
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 2,869
- 2018 rank for girls: #535 (583 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #168 (2,286 babies born)
Elliott has had more popularity as a boy’s name, evoking the poetry of T.S. Eliot, the might of federal agent Eliot Ness or the appeal of the fictional detective Elliot Stabler on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” As a girl’s name, it is still unusual. The musician Sting and actress Trudie Styler named their youngest daughter Eliot in 1990.
- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,010
- 2018 rank for girls: #121 (2,478 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #529 (532 babies born)
The name Taylor has English roots stemming from the occupation of tailor. Today, males with the given name include actors Taylor Kitsch and Taylor Kinney. For girls, pop star Taylor Swift has surely boosted the name’s popularity.
You may also like: How communities are dealing with invasive species across the U.S.2018 All rights reserved.