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Unisex Names


In your lifetime, you have probably heard many names that are “androgynous” or represent both males and females such as Kelly, Madison, Morgan, Taylor, Robin, Lynn and Ashley. These names usually have their moment in the spotlight as noteworthy unisex names then tend to “cross over” and become predominantly known as either male or female.

When considering a unisex name for your little pride and joy, this is one factor you may want to consider. If you absolutely love a particular name, then by all means, go with your heart. However, you may want to consider that several years down the road that your little girl may have a name that is mainly associated with boys and vice versa. This point may not bother you at all and could be part of a particular unisex name’s appeal - that added bit of mystery it embodies.

Crossover Affect – A Notorious Unisex Name Phenomenon

Unisex names are proven to have a tendency to become predominantly associated with either males or females over time. For example, Alex has been in the top 100 baby names for boys since records began being compiled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1880. In 2007, it was the 73rd most popular boy’s name in the U.S.

Alex hit the top 1,000 of the most popular girl names in 1987 and ranked 824. Its highest position was reached in 1995 at 540 and has descended in popularity ever since. By 2005, the name Alex for a girl dropped off the top 1,000 completely. Although Alex made a brief appearance as a fairly popular girl’s name, it remains a name most readily used for a boy.

Another case in review is the androgynous name Erin. This name for girls made its first appearance in the top 1,000 in 1954 when it was ranked number 700. It slowly grew in popularity and reached its highest position to date at number 19 in 1981. It has been decreasing in popularity ever since, but is still fairly popular ranking number 141 in 2007.

When looking at the name Erin for a boy, it hit the top 1,000 in 1963 at number 992. In 1974, it reached its pinnacle of popularity at number 441 and has been creeping down the list ever since. As of 2007, Erin ranked number 916 of the top 1,000 baby names for boys. Erin, although a unisex name, is still strongly associated with females even though both names entered the top 1,000 around approximately the same time 1954 (girl) and 1963 (boy).

A Case in Review: Jaden – a Name in Transition

It is difficult to determine in which direction the highly sought after unisex names of today will lean in years to come such as Jaden, Jordan, Dakota and Angel. However, we can take the name Jaden – a highly popular unisex name of today - to see if it is starting to move toward being a predominantly boy’s or girl’s name.

Beginning in 1994, Jaden entered the top 1,000 boy names at number 630. Since its first appearance on the list, Jaden has witnessed a meteoric rise in popularity. By 2007, it was already in the top 100 and ranked number 76. Jaden’s steady climb in popularity does not appear to be slowing down as its 2007 ranking was its highest to date.

Jaden entered the top 1,000 girl names in 1996 at number 999. It quickly climbed the chart – just as it was for boys – but it has currently stalled in popularity as a girls’ name. It has been steadily moving down the list since 2003 when it was at its all time high at number 228. As of 2007, Jaden is number 335 of the most coveted names for girls.

Although Jaden was approximately 50/50 in popularity for both boys and girls in the early 2000’s, it is currently more sought after for boys.

The Most Popular Unisex Names of Today

Ten of the most common unisex names of today are Jordan, Alexis, Angel, Riley, Peyton, Taylor, Cameron, Jayden, Avery and Jaden. There are certain names that are equally popular for boys and girls such as Jordan and Peyton and those that are more common for either gender.

As of 2005, Angel, Cameron, Jaden and Jayden are ranked considerably higher on the top 1,000 names for boys than girls. The names Alexis, Riley, Taylor and Avery are more popular for girls.

If you are considering a unisex name for your soon-to-be new addition, you can determine if it ranks in the top 100 – for either a girl or boy - by viewing our top 100 baby names by state.

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