Gender Neutral Names for Baby

Parents holding up a newborn baby
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Naming a baby is something that most people take very seriously. No parent wants to be the one that picks a name that later becomes trouble for a child. We do not want to hear how the name we chose landed our child firmly in the bully pit. That people made fun of them, etc.

One brand of name that can cause more trouble for a child, and later an adult, is choosing a name that is gender neutral, or unisex, or a name that is not commonly used for people of that gender.

As a parent, I chose to play this game with a few of my children. Mostly because I really loved the names, loved the meanings, and felt they were good fits for the kids. (I will tell you that my husband and I rarely name a baby before they are a month old, so we really do give this some good thought compared to the baby's temperament.) 

When we chose the names of our children, we looked at some of the most available information. We looked at people we knew. We looked at baby name books, we checked out the few resources online, and we made a decision. Some names that can typically fall into the gender neutral categories are names that you may not be able to make a reasonable guess as to the gender of the person. (It is important to note that this can vary regionally.)

Think of names like Ashley, Kelly, Robin, and Leslie. These were at one point and time, mostly names for boys. Today these data looks like this:

  1. Ashley: 95.58% are female
  2. Kelly: 81.79% are female
  3. Robin: 86.67% are female
  4. Leslie: 65.53% are female

So while these are solidly in the female category, they are not 100% according to How Many of Me, a website that will, using your first and last name, tell you how many people in the United States have that name.

It will also break down your first and last names by popularity as well as provide you with the gender breakdown for your first name. This can be really interesting to play with while looking to name your baby.

If you look at more common names in recent years you can see that the breakdown is wide for a variety, and fairly close for others. I know I was surprised by some of the results.

  1. ​Taylor: 66.67% are male
  2. Riley: 99.9% are female
  3. Emory: 99.9% are male
  4. Tatum: 99.9% are female
  5. Dakota: 99.9% are female
  6. Rory: 92.31% are male
  7. Avery: 91.67% are male
  8. Jordan: 82.35% are male
  9. Dylan: 99.9% are male
  10. Cameron: 92.5% are male

Now, interestingly enough, the How Many of Me goes on everyone in the United States and doesn't break this down purely by age group. This means that while a name may look firmly planted in to female or male category overall, if you look at the child's age or year of birth, that may be a different story. The below data is using the Baby Name Voyager.

  1. ​Taylor: 20% are male (2014)
  2. Riley: 60% are female (2014)
  1. Emory: 50% are male (2014)
  2. Tatum: 61% are female (2014)
  3. Dakota: 60% are female (2014)
  4. Rory: 70% are male (2014)
  5. Avery: 17% are male (2014)
  6. Jordan: 88% are male (2014)
  7. Dylan: 93% are male (2014)
  8. Cameron: 95% are male (2014)

(These percentages are approximations as Baby Name Voyager does not gives percentages, just a graphical representation.)

Both of these tools are free tools. The Baby Name Voyager does provide more services, though some are free with registration. These tools might help you decide if a baby name that you love is neutral enough for you or if it falls firmly in one camp or another.

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