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Most popular gender-neutral baby names

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

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.

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#30. Oakley

- 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.

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#29. Sage

- 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.

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#28. Amari

- 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.

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Vasilyev Alexandr // Shutterstock

#27. Dakota

- 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.

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#26. Alexis

- 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.

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#25. Phoenix

- 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.

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#24. Remington

- 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.

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Tatiana Katsai // Shutterstock

#23. Eden

- 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.”

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Adha Ghazali // Shutterstock

#22. Elliott

- 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.

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#21. Taylor

- 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.

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#20. Finley

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,029
- 2018 rank for girls: #163 (1,749 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #273 (1,280 babies born)

Finley, common as a surname, is derived from the Gaelic words for a fair-haired warrior. It has caught on as a girl’s name, given by celebrities Lisa Marie Presley and by Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn to their daughters.

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#19. Emerson

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,173
- 2018 rank for girls: #143 (1,935 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #281 (1,238 babies born)

From German, meaning son of Emery, the name Emerson has clear masculine roots. Famed characters in history include American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson and legendary race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi. As it has grown more popular for girls, it is sometimes spelled Emersyn.

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#18. River

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,372
- 2018 rank for girls: #244 (1,321 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #197 (2,051 babies born)

Names rooted in nature have their appeal, and River is no exception. Actor River Phoenix was a Hollywood favorite before his death in 1993 at age 23, and British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver named his daughter River Rocket.

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#17. Hayden

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,411
- 2018 rank for girls: #261 (1,243 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #180 (2,168 babies born)

Hayden began to rise in popularity starting in the mid-1990s. Actor Hayden Christensen did a stint in the “Star Wars” movie series, and more recently, actress Hayden Panettiere starred in the television series “Nashville.”

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#16. Charlie

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,556
- 2018 rank for girls: #152 (1,840 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #218 (1,716 babies born)

Charlie has historically been a nickname for boys named Charles and for girls named Charlotte. Namesakes include actors Charlie Chaplin and Charlie Sheen and from the comics, Charlie Brown. The name has taken off over the last decade or so, and it’s easy to expect the name will see more popularity in honor of the young British royal Princess Charlotte.

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#15. Blake

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,627
- 2018 rank for girls: #279 (1,181 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #158 (2,446 babies born)

Blake is an old English name that conjures images of Romantic poet William Blake. It has been used recently more as a male given name, from fictional television character Blake Carrington on the hit show “Dynasty” to country singer Blake Shelton. One female bearer of the name is actress Blake Lively.

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anek.soowannaphoom // Shutterstock

#14. Peyton

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 3,683
- 2018 rank for girls: #101 (2,896 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #401 (787 babies born)

English in origin, the name Peyton is a reminder of “Peyton Place,” an iconic soap opera of the 1960s. While it’s more commonly given as a girl’s name, one of its most famous namesakes is football star Peyton Manning.

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#13. Quinn

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 4,197
- 2018 rank for girls: #84 (3,369 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #384 (828 babies born)

An old Irish surname, Quinn brings to mind celebrated actor Anthony Quinn, Manfred Mann’s “Mighty Quinn,” and television’s “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” More popular as a given name for girls, Quinn started to soar in use about 10 years ago. "Glee," which began airing in 2009, featured a female character named Quinn Fabray. 

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#12. Rowan

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 4,467
- 2018 rank for girls: #211 (1,447 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #129 (3,020 babies born)

Rowan is rooted in Irish and Scottish, stemming from a type of tree with red berries. British comic actor Rowan Atkinson has been making audiences laugh for decades, and American actress Brooke Shields named her daughter Rowan in 2003.

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#11. Sawyer

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 5,279
- 2018 rank for girls: #216 (1,421 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #99 (3,858 babies born)

The name Sawyer is linked to Mark Twain’s title character in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” The name comes from English and refers to a woodcutter. For both boys and girls, the name has been on the rise for the last two decades.

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#10. Jordan

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 5,474
- 2018 rank for girls: #375 (828 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #82 (4,646 babies born)

Jordan has biblical intonations from the river in the Middle East where John the Baptist baptized Jesus, and it has been lauded in hymns and spirituals. As a given name, it gained popularity in the mid-1980s during the record-breaking career of professional basketball superstar Michael Jordan.

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#9. Parker

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 5,732
- 2018 rank for girls: #162 (1,754 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #96 (3,978 babies born)

More common for boys, the name Parker saw a surge in popularity for girls when indie actress Parker Posey started catching fans’ attention in the late 1990s. The name is English, referring to a park keeper.

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#8. Angel

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 5,881
- 2018 rank for girls: #368 (849 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #72 (5,032 babies born)

Angel has long been used as a boys’ name in Spanish, with such namesakes as Angel Cordero Jr., one of the winningest jockeys in history. A more common version for girls is Angela, but Angel has grown more popular as a given female name.

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#7. Cameron

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 5,883
- 2018 rank for girls: #504 (612 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #69 (5,271 babies born)

Cameron as a name is rooted in Scottish, and it is more often bestowed upon boys than girls. Actress Cameron Diaz can take some credit for its emerging popularity for girls.

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#6. Riley

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 7,431
- 2018 rank for girls: #28 (5,976 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #250 (1,455 babies born)

Riley is English and Irish, where it is a variation of the surname Reilly and means “courageous.” It has caught on in the last two decades among boys and, more so, among girls.

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#5. Ryan

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 7,765
- 2018 rank for girls: #364 (860 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #46 (6,905 babies born)

Ryan has been historically popular as a male name, such as that of actors Ryan O’Neal and more recently Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds. It has enjoyed popularity as a girl’s name since the late 1980s, although boys named Ryan remain in the lead.

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Oksana Kuzmina

#4. Dylan

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 9,320
- 2018 rank for girls: #398 (771 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #31 (8,549 babies born)

Dylan Thomas gave the name Dylan its poetic quality, and Bob Dylan its counterculture lyricism. The name comes from Welsh, meaning "son of the sea."

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Tatiana Katsai // Shutterstock

#3. Carter

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 9,964
- 2018 rank for girls: #478 (652 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #24 (9,312 babies born)

Former President Jimmy Carter has been a highly respected and inspirational public figure since leaving the White House. The name Carter, considerably more widely used for boys than girls, comes from the English word for the occupation of cart driver.

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#2. Avery

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 10,151
- 2018 rank for girls: #16 (8,053 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #191 (2,098 babies born)

Avery has roots in English as a “ruler of elves” and in the Middle Ages from the name Alfred. Although today it is far more commonly given to girls than to boys, Avery was a minor male character in the "Harry Potter" series.

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#1. Logan

- Total babies given this name in 2018: 13,426
- 2018 rank for girls: #309 (1,074 babies born)
- 2018 rank for boys: #10 (12,352 babies born)

The name Logan, derived from Scottish for “small hollow,” recently skyrocketed in popularity, especially for boys. Logan Roy is the patriarch of the fictional media family portrayed in the HBO series “Succession” that debuted in 2018.

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