It’s so secret that gender neutral names are rising in popularity. Parents are no longer staying within the traditional “lanes” of boys or girls names, and instead are crossing over to an even larger world of names for their new bundle of joy.
Why are parents choosing gender neutral names over traditional gender names? Parents want their child to stand out against the sea of other children. Uniqueness is key. A unique name stands out in a crowd of names and is easier to remember. Plus, thanks to celebrities’ typically out-of-the-box naming, plus the growing acceptance of gender-fluidity, the once “out there” idea of gender neutral names, using a masculine name for a girl, or less common more feminine name for a boy, is becoming more and more common on of birth certificates across the US.
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Gender neutral names typically begin as male names. And the first to make the switch to the female side are ones that end in a vowel sound, like Jaime. But increasingly often strong, masculine names, like Max, are hitting the female charts as well. And add to that, traditionally last names or surnames, like Madison, which are masculine in nature, are converting to first names and rising for girls which benefit the gender neutral names list too.
Below is a list of our Top 20 Favorite Gender Neutral Names to help parents navigate the growing number of names that work for both boys and girls, and to choose one that works for their child.
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20 Trendy Gender Neutral Names
- Charlie – Though a typically masculine name given in English-speaking countries, it’s the top 50 androgynous name with a heavy gender split at 50-50. Looking for flexibility as a nickname? Charlotte and Charles give the option for traditional bias and gender neutral.
- Sam – Like Charlie, Sam or Sammy (Sammie) is great as a nickname along with using the traditional Samantha or Samuel as gender heavy-hitters. However, unlike the front-runner Charlie, Sam has been used as a nickname for quite a few decades.
- James – James has been used for girls for over a hundred years – mainly as maternal maiden names handed down as middle names. But thanks to celebrities Blake (also gender-neutral!) Lively and husband Ryan Reynolds who named their own daughter James, this name has continued to grow.
- Max – Whether used as just Max, or as a nickname to Maxine or Maxwell (or the less common Maximus or Maxamillion), Max is headed up the charts. Maxine has been heard more recently thanks to Stranger Things red-haired side-kick. And thanks to Jessica Simpson, Maxwell made a switch over to the female side when she and her husband uncommonly named their daughter Maxwell.
- Addison – Most names ending in “son” have a meaning “son of”, so traditionally these have been male-dominated. But like most unisex or gender-specific names, starting masculine doesn’t always stay that way. In fact, a majority of those named Addison were girls in 2018 according to the US Social Security data.
- Aiden – An Irish name, it means “Little fire”, and let’s face it, that could go for little girl or boy! First made popular on the show Sex and the City as one of Carrie Bradshaw’s love interests, it’s long been on the boy side but is making its ways up the girl list. For girls, you’ll see more variants in spelling like Aidan or Aidyn.
- Avery – One of the most popular unisex names today, Avery is hitting unisex name charts everywhere. This name actually began as a male given name but has made a switch in the 21st century becoming a rising star on the female side. Popular Avery’s can be found in Harry Potter and Charlotte’s Web with the male versions and on the TV comedy 30 Rock with Avery Jessup, played by Elizabeth Banks.
- Blake – Like many unisex names, Blake originally began as a surname but has quickly become a truly gender-neutral name. Popular celebrities Blake Shelton (male) and Blake Lively (female) share this namesake.
- Brooklyn – Locations are a great inspiration for parents looking for strong unisex names. The New York City borough can be thought as simply the name Brooke and Lynn combined, but as a location with a strong, long “O” masculine sound (like Brooks), it has made the birth certificate of Posh Spice Girl Victoria and soccer star David Beckham’s son as well.
- London – Like Brooklyn, the great city of London is a location name and a great gender-neutral name with an “O” sound. And like Brooklyn, can also be seen with a “y” such as Londyn. Popular Londons including the Today Show’s and MTV’s Carson Daly’s daughter, and son of Guns N’ Roses rocker Slash.
- Alex – This name has long stood the test of time as a gender neutral name goes. For trendsetting parents from previous decades, Alexandra and Alexander, with the nickname Alex, always have been popular choices, even back then. In history, sports, politics, TV, music – this name can be seen everywhere and across both genders.
- Drew – This name may mean “strong and manly” but just that it is not. Sure, plenty of boys, especially Andrews, have this name, but Drew is also a super cute name for females like famous actor Drew Barrymore who helped bring it over to the girl’s side. For girl-parents who are looking for something still pretty unique, this name has got it as it’s still not ranked very high… yet.
- Camden – This name is taking a different route. Traditionally a girl name meaning “winding valley”, it’s made the cross over to the boy’s side. This is especially true for baseball-loving parents of the Orioles, who play at Camden yards. Famous parents Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, and Kristin Cavallari and her husband, all named their sons Camden.
- Devin – Also spelled Devon (like the location in England), Devyn, or Devan, Devin has long been on the boy side, but that’s changing and is now thought of as a unisex name. Whether boy or girl, the name is of Irish roots and means “poet”.
- Dylan – Like Devin, this 5-letter, “D” beginning, traditionally masculine name meaning “son of the sea” or “born from the ocean” is rising up in the girl category. This is probably in part thanks to celebrities like Dylan Dreyer, meteorologist on the Today Show, and Ralph Lauren’s daughter who owns Dylan’s Candy Bar.
- Elliott – One of the favorites on this list, Elliott is perfect for a girl or boy. It has the benefits of nicknames like Ellie, El, or Lio, which can change things up for a parent who doesn’t always want to use the 3-syllables and starts with an “E” which has been trendy for the last few years.
- Emerson – Another “E” name, Emerson means “brave and powerful” or, in German means “Emery’s son”. This name has really risen up the girl chart and has fun nicknames like Emmy or Em. Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher used it for her daughter, but it still has plenty of room in the boy charts with almost 52% still being male.
- Micah – Sure, there are still plenty of boys with the name Micah, but don’t rule it out for girls just yet. Micah is a biblical name meaning “who is like the Lord” and is growing, especially with parents looking for an alternative to Michael (boys) or Michaela (girls).
- Stevie – Thanks to the show Madam Secretary, and the oldest daughter Stevie (with full name Stephanie) this name has been made more popular. This name works for the male version of Steven or Stephen too.
- Tatum – This name is great for parents looking for a name pretty unique for either gender – whether boy or girl. First hitting the charts in 1994 thanks to female Tatum O’Neal, it’s actually been on the downward trend. But due to actor Channing Tatum becoming a household name, the name has seen an uptick and has started to become associated with boys as well.
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Choosing a name for a child can be one of the most daunting jobs as a parent. The list of names is almost never-ending. And opening up to gender neutral names gives even more options to pick from. But with a gender-neutral name, parents can be sure their child will have a name that works for them regardless of who they turn out to be, and on-trend with a trend that will be sticking around for quite some time.
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