The Most Popular Gender Neutral Names 2021by Your Baby Club
The names we give our children have far more impact on them and their lives than we give them credit for. All names have meanings and associations, and as such, your name is really where your identity begins.
In recent years, there has been an increase in parents' desire to give their children gender-neutral names or unisex names to prevent gender stereotypes from being formed on that basis. Gender-neutral names also can be a great help for parents as by choosing a unisex name, they don't need to worry about specific girl names or boy names which could go out of the window if, for example, you don't want to know the sex of your baby before birth.
Choosing a name is a big decision; your baby is going to have to live with that name for the rest of their life - or at least until they're old enough to pick one for themselves and change it!
To help you with your search to find the perfect name, we've got a list of gender-neutral, gender fluid and unisex baby names that should suit your baby regardless of their sex or gender. And if you're not quite sure what these terms mean or what the difference is, don't worry; we've got you covered there too. These names are all super trendy and versatile, so we're sure you're going to love at least one of them.
What are gender-neutral baby names?
Gender-neutral baby names are names for babies that are not gender-specific, making them very similar to neutral names and unisex baby names although equally in no way the same (we talk more on different types of names a bit later!). In English-speaking countries, gender-neutral names are more common than you might think, and they're growing in popularity all the time.
To help in your search for great gender-neutral baby names, here are some of the most widely-used and most popular gender-neutral baby names in use across both the UK and America for you to take your pick from.
The name Alex derives from Alexander / Alexandra and Alexis, Greek names, all of which meaning "defender of men". It is now also a name in its own right and is an excellent choice for children of both genders. With its suggestions of strength and protectiveness, not to mention its connection to gods and royalty, Alex is a great, noble name for a girl or boy.
The meaning of the name Blake is not very clear. It could mean "fair-haired", or it could mean "dark", no one's 100% sure. So, no matter what baby you're having, Blake covers pretty much all the bases! It's consistently in or around the Top 100 Most Popular Names in the UK and other English-speaking countries for boys, and it's not far behind in popularity for girls in the US. Famous Blakes include country singer Blake Shelton, basketball player Blake Griffin, and American actress Blake Lively, who, in 2014, welcomed her first daughter alongside husband Ryan Reynolds, choosing a similarly gender-neutral name, James, a name you'll see a little further down in this list!
The name Cameron has been gaining popularity for boys since the early 20th century; about fifty years later, it entered the lists for girls for the first time. The actor, Cameron Diaz, is credited with the boom in this name's popularity until the year 2000. Although it's dipped a little in the ratings over the last 20 years, Cameron remains one of the most widely used gender-neutral names in the world. It is particularly prevalent in Scotland, where the name originates.
James derives from the Hebrew name Jacob. It has a long history of usage, starting in Biblical times, and has been used by Scottish and English kings since the 14th century. There have also been more Presidents of the United States called James than any other name - Madison, Monroe, Polk, Buchanan, Garfield, and (Jimmy) Carter.
As you can see, there's a long masculine tradition for this name, but James is one of several names typically associated with boys that are gaining a lot of traction as a gender-neutral name these days. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds named their first daughter James, in memory of Reynolds' late father. Other celebrities have since followed suit, choosing it as a middle name for their baby girls.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, definitely consider the name James for your daughter; it's a solid choice, no matter the sex of your baby.
Jordan is a Hebrew name that means "flowing down". The name was originally given as a surname to people baptised using water taken from the River Jordan in Palestine. The river is also bordered by a country called Jordan. Although place names are still popular these days, the name Jordan is more prevalent thanks to basketball player Michael Jordan. It became popular with parents of girls and boys in the late 1970s and still ranks highly for both sexes in the UK and USA today. Cute nicknames for Jordan include Jay, and our personal favourite, Jordie.
Kennedy is an old Irish clan name that is now associated worldwide with the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Though it took some time to be adopted as a first name, it is now one of the most popular gender-neutral names in the US, particularly for girls. It remains in the Top 100 Most Popular Names and is predicted to make it into the Top 50 before the end of the decade. If you are looking for a trendy name that retains a bit of class, Kennedy is an excellent bet for either a son or a daughter.
Sticking with the British Isles for a second, Logan is a surname from the Scottish term for "small hollow". In 2019, it was the 16th most popular name for boys in the entire United States, and it wasn't much further behind in either its native Scotland or in England. Logan was popularised as a name for girls in the 1990s and still ranks inside the Top 500 Girls Names in America today. If you're looking for a gender-neutral name that isn't overused for your baby girl, we think Logan would make an excellent choice.
Parker is a name that has zigzagged in popularity since the introduction of it as a first name in the late 19th century. Still, it's experienced a steady increase in popularity with parents since the mid-1980s. Along with Porter and Morgan, it was among the first wave of "surname names" used as Christian names and is popular with parents as a name for both sexes. Currently, the name Parker is used three times more for boys than girls in the US, but use as a girls name has never been higher. In 2019, it was the 143rd most popular girls name in America and is set to keep climbing the charts for the rest of the decade.
If you're not sold on Parker, but you like the idea of a gender-neutral occupational name for your son or daughter, why not try one of these out instead?
A name of Irish origin, meaning "little king". Originally a surname taken from O'Riain, meaning "son of Rían", it is now widely used as a first name for boys and girls. In 2019, it was in the Top 100 Boys Names for many English-speaking countries, including Australia, the US, New Zealand, and three of the four countries that make up the UK. Some variations of Ryan you could try for your daughter if you're concerned that it's too "boyish" could be Rion (pronounced REE-un) and Ryann/e.
Another occupational surname that makes a great unisex baby name, the original spelling of the word is "tailor", as in someone who makes and fits clothes for a living. Taylor has declined in popularity with parents of both sexes since the start of the 2000s. However, it's still a great gender-neutral name that won't leave your child feeling like their name doesn't "fit" their gender as they grow up.
What are some less common gender-neutral names?
Want to challenge gender stereotypes with your choice of baby name? Take a look at this list of gender-neutral names and be a trendsetter by picking one of these for your little boy or girl.
Hunter has gone up and down in popularity for boys since it entered the American Top 1000 Boys Names in 1880. Since the late 1970s, it's seen a constant increase in use, though that's started to drop slightly in recent years. It still sits comfortably in the Top 100, though. And even though its meaning ("one who hunts") had led people to associate it with boys, in Greek and Roman mythology, hunting is associated with the goddess' Artemis and Diana. If you want your daughter to grow up strong-willed, independent, and accurate whilst smashing all those gender stereotypes, this would be a great name to give her.
Other brilliant gender-neutral names similar to Hunter include Archer, Harley, and Chase.
This beautiful Welsh name means "son of the sea". In fact, in Welsh mythology, Dylan was a sea god. Choosing this name would be to set very lofty aspirations for your son - or your daughter! Dylan is a very poetic name that's consistently ranked in the Top 100 boys names in English-speaking countries, but can it achieve the same recognition for girls?
Variations in spelling include "Dillon", which is actually of Irish extraction but is equally as unisex as the Welsh version.
Place names make good unisex names because they are geographical rather than gendered. We've found a couple that we think you might like, starting with Dallas, the third biggest city in the American state of Texas. This name would be especially great for parents who love Western movies because it's got real cowboy - or cowgirl - vibes. It is currently gaining popularity as a name given to daughters in the USA, but it's still got a lot of ground to make up.
Unlike the first three gender-neutral names in this list, Dakota (a name taken from the Sioux word meaning "friendly one") is a more popular name for girls than boys, but its overall popularity has been declining more recently. Despite this, if you have Native American ancestry or a connection to North or South Dakota, this might be the gender-neutral baby name for you.
London is the capital city of the UK. It's not a very popular name for boys or girls in its country of origin, but it is widely used for both sexes in America. It is perhaps more prevalent for baby girls. Still, we think it would make an excellent, cosmopolitan name for a baby boy as well.
Evan comes to us in English via Welsh from the Hebrew name Yochanan, meaning "God is gracious". Yochanan is the root of the name John, making Evan a popular name for boys. It has remained in the Top 100 American Boy Names since 1983. This name would also suit a girl if you're looking for alternatives to the more traditional Evas and Evelyns.
What are some popular unisex names?
Unisex names, a bit like gender-neutral names, can be used for both boys and girls. The distinction comes from the modern recognition that sex and gender are separate; sex refers to the anatomy you are born with, so male or female, while gender reflects social associations with the sexes, so "masculine" or "feminine" traits.
Unisex names are excellent for challenging gender stereotypes, but remember that even the top unisex baby names can only go so far. If this is important to you, you may have to do more beyond this.
The other benefit of unisex names is that they reduce the chance of bias, especially in the workplace, where a lot of communication occurs electronically.
Plus, for those of you who have chosen not to find out the sex of your baby now, this list will be even more helpful. You've probably got a lot left to do before your little bundle of joy arrives, so finding some great gender-neutral or unisex baby names that will work, whether you have a son or a daughter, will save time and tick one thing off your to-do list.
So, without further delay, here is a list of some of the top unisex baby names currently for you to take a look at:
Ashton is an English name that means "ash tree place". It is used widely for both boys and girls, though probably thanks to famous American actor Ashton Kutcher, it is currently more popular with parents of boys. The variation "Ashtyn" is also a great unisex name if you're looking for a unique spelling, but that is more popular as a girls name at present.
Bailey is another English occupational surname. This one means "law enforcer" or "bailiff", but despite its harsh-sounding origins, it actually has connotations of openness and amiability, not to mention a drive to do right - and who wants to encourage their kids to be naughty?
Bailey was first used as a forename for boys in the late 19th century. It then fell out of favour for almost 100 years before experiencing a resurgence in the 1990s. Figures show it was an especially popular unisex name down under! And though it was the 1980s before this really took off as a girls name, it is now more popular for girls than boys. Still an excellent choice for either sex, though.
The name Blair comes from the Scottish for "dweller on the plain". Given its origins, it's perhaps not surprising that it's most popular as a boys name in Scotland, where it sits comfortably in the Top 100 Boys Names currently in use. American children who bear the name are far more likely to be female. In England and Wales, it is very uncommon to meet a girl called Blair, but the name has gained in popularity in the US since the start of the 2010s, possibly due to the influence of the character Blair Waldorf from the Gossip Girl novels and TV show.
Dana is a sleek, enigmatic name that has a couple of different meanings. As well as having associations with the country of Denmark, its Slavic and Arabic roots give it meanings such as "gift" and "wise". If you have been waiting a long time for this baby to arrive, this unisex name seems like an especially fitting choice.
Emerson is a name of German origin, which means "son of Emery". But do not be put off by the archaic gendered meaning of the name - thanks to Ralph Waldo Emerson, it can show forethought and the trailblazing spirit, perfect for the empowerment of a daughter as well as a son. Emerson is very popular with famous parents. Both Teri Hatcher and Shonda Rhimes have daughters called Emerson, and American actress Lindsay Price chose it as her son's name. Emerson is an excellent option if you're looking for an alternative for the overused Emma or Emily.
Another excellent choice for expectant parents whose journey to get pregnant has been a tough one - or for those who like to count and appreciate their blessings. Jesse is a Hebrew name that means "gift", and it has been born by everyone from outlaw Jesse James to Olympic athlete Jesse Owens.
Variations of the name include the spellings Jessie, which suits both boys and girls, and Jessye, but these are more commonly associated with girls.
The name Kai has many derivations and meanings, such as the Japanese word for "forgiveness". One syllable but multiple associations, and all of them giving a sense of power, sustenance, and longevity. It has been a popular American boys name since the end of the 1970s and currently sits within the Top 100 Most Popular Boys Names in the US. In 2018, it lost out on that ranking in the UK by one place - but interestingly, it is more popular in Scotland and Ireland than in England.
Kai is gaining popularity as a girls name, though there is still a significant divide in the number of boys and girls who bear this name. Kai has few variations, but the spelling Kye is also used, sometimes as a nickname for Kylie, which may prove to be a good alternative for girls!
Keegan is an Irish name meaning "son of Egan". Again, don't be put off by this "son" business if you're having a girl; Keegan is climbing the charts for girls as well. Plus, it's perfect for anyone proud of their Irish heritage and wanting to pass that on to the next generation.
Lee is a great, multipurpose, unisex name. It comes from the English word for "pasture" or "meadow" and has stayed that fresh throughout the decades. It's a perfect name for boys and girls, especially if you don't want something too traditional, but at the same time, are after something timeless. It ages well and works either as a forename, a middle name, or even a suffix for a longer name like Emmalee, Everlee, or Berklee.
Variations on Lee include the spellings Lea and Leigh, which are not considered unisex; instead, these alternative spellings are used predominantly for baby girls.
Riley is one of the top unisex names in English-speaking countries. It originated as an English and Irish surname and means "courageous", a quality you aspire to for your son or daughter. It is among the Top 50 American Girls Names right now (thanks, Disney!). Though it's fallen out of favour with parents of boys in the US, it is still widely used as a boys name in England, Scotland, and down under.
Variations of Riley include the spellings Reilly (unisex), Rylee, and Ryleigh (more commonly used for girls than boys).
What are some unique unisex baby names?
Unisex baby names are growing in popularity. They're super on-trend right now, which is great unless you're a prospective parent who's worried that their Taylor, Alex, or Charlie will end up being one of two or three in a class.
Well, not to worry. If you're looking for a unisex name for your son or daughter, we've got a list of possible name choices that are all as unique as they are sure to turn out to be. Let's take a look, shall we?
Perfect for all you fantasy-loving parents, Avery means "ruler of the elves". So if you want your little prince or princess to grow up just like Arwen or Legolas from Lord of the Rings, Avery is an excellent choice. Avery also makes a great middle name - which is probably why Kevin Costner and Steven Spielberg have used it for their children!
Hayden means "heather", which, of course, is still a very popular name for baby girls. However, this variant of the name, which comes from German, can be used for both boys and girls. Famous Haydens include Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars films, and Hayden Panettiere, who appeared in Ally McBeal, Law & Order SVU, and Heroes.
Justice is one of the rarer "virtue names" favoured by Puritans in the early 16th century. A lot of them, like Modesty and Obedience, feel very old-fashioned and out of date today. Still, we like Justice because it hints at something to aspire to without being overt. It also carries less religious connotations and gender affiliations than other virtue names, like Hope, Faith, and Prosper.
Oak is a great name for a boy or a girl. Taken from the name of the tree, it conveys a sense of strength, solidity, and growth. Just think, just like he or she has grown from a single cell, the mighty oak tree springs forth from the acorn. And if you don't like Oak, there are some other great, unisex tree names to choose from, including Rowan, Ash, Cypress, and Hollis.
Quinn is an Irish surname that means "descendant of Conn". It is slowly gaining popularity as a first name for both boys and girls, though it is still unique enough that your child won't be lost in a sea of Quinns at school. Its origins are suggestive of intellectual and leadership abilities. So, if you are proud of your Irish ancestry, or you are just looking for a cute, unique unisex name for your baby, Quinn would be a great one to stick on the list.
What are gender-fluid names?
Although many baby naming websites use the terms "gender-neutral", "unisex", and "gender-fluid" interchangeably, they all mean slightly different things. For example, gender neutrality is all about avoiding putting any emphasis on sex or gender at all, while gender fluidity acknowledges the existence of masculine and feminine traits but does not agree they have to be fixed. People who identify as gender-fluid experience all sorts of changes in the way they identify themselves.
If you want your baby to have a gender-fluid name, you could also explore names that have an even split in usage, For example:
Charlie is the most popular gender-fluid baby name. Although it was initially intended as a nickname for boys named Charles, Charlie is now a name that is given as often to baby girls as it is to boys.
A perfect name for winter babies, sometimes, you will see a female variant of this name spelt "Robyn". This spelling comes from an ancient Scottish clan name. But for true gender-fluidity, stick with the more common spelling of "Robin". This variant means "bright fame" and has been born by some very famous people, including Robin Williams and Robin Wright.
Finley is a Scots surname (Gaelic: Fionlagh) that means "fair warrior or hero". It is an excellent choice if you want your child to grow up with a sense of inner strength and purpose.
The name Lennon comes from the Irish word meaning "lover" and is common among parents of both sexes who want to honour the heroic musician John Lennon. It was first popularised at the end of the 1990s, when Liam Gallagher, a famous musician in his own right, used it for his son. Canadian singer and actress Lennon Stella is credited for its popularity among girls. In fact, this name is marginally more popular as a girls name than a boys name!
Frankie is a diminutive for all sorts of variations of names with both male and female associations, including Francis, Frances, Frank, Francisco, Francesca, and Franklin. Maybe one of these names has a family significance, but you don't want your child to feel boxed in by masculine this or feminine that. If that's the way you feel, Frankie could be the perfect solution.
If you're currently expecting a baby, first off, congratulations! We hope these lists have helped you find a unique, unisex name for the new arrival. If, however, you like the concept of a gender-neutral name but don't think any of these picks are quite right, you can keep looking at NameBerry.com.
Do you think we've missed any great gender-neutral baby names? Is there a unisex name you've been thinking about that wasn't on our list? Get in touch for your chance to be added to this article's array of great gender-neutral baby names!