Charlie – Boy Name or Girl Name?

Charlie - boy name or girl name?

To some, Charlie is a boy name. It’s a nickname for the male name Charles.

To others, Charlie is a girl name. It’s a feminine form of Charles, just like Charlene and Charlotte are feminine forms of Charles.

How are parents actually using the name Charlie nowadays?

Well, if we look only at the spelling “Charlie,” the boys are on top. Of the 1,727 U.S. babies named Charlie last year, 1,242 (72%) were boys and 485 (28%) were girls.

But if we count all versions of the name, the girls take the lead:

Name # of Boys # of Girls
Charlie 1,242 485
Charlee 7 395
Charley 90 277
Charli 17 236
Charleigh 0 180
Charly 52 70
Charlea 0 14
Charlye 0 12
Charle 0 5
Charlei 0 5
Charliegh 0 5
TOTAL 1,408 (46%) 1,684 (54%)

In England and Wales, where Charlie (ranked 7th) is so popular that it beats Charles (ranked 58th) by over 4,000 babies, Charlie is still mainly a boy name:

Name # of Boys # of Girls
Charlie 5,409 208
Charley 102 164
Charlee 8 27
Charli 4 26
Charleigh 0 18
Charly 7 12
Charlea 0 3
TOTAL 5,530 (92%) 458 (8%)

This makes me think Charlie could be headed the way of Ashley (i.e. becoming feminine in the States, remaining masculine in the UK).

To you, is Charlie a girl name or a boy name? (Or is it a unisex name?) Please also mention where you live–it’ll be interesting to see if/how responses differ based on location.

23 Responses to Charlie – Boy Name or Girl Name?

  1. I’m on the Maryland side of Washington DC. I only know boys named Charles and nicknamed Charlie.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to meet a girl Charlie, though – there are lots of girls wearing surnames and unisex names around here. But then, we’re a little bit Southern, so some of those are family names.

  2. There is probably one major factor that you need to take into consideration when comparing U.S. vs. U.K. results – in the latter nicknames as full names on the birth certificate are very trendy right now. Since Charlie (and its spelling variants) fall in this category, if you could take all the Charleses/Charlottes/etc. who go by this nickname I wonder what the numbers would show? (Of course there is no way to get accurate statistics on nickname usage.) This may in part explain why there are more than four times as many boy Charlies on the U.K. stats, but yet that country is several times smaller in population than the U.S.

  3. I live in London and I know boys and girls called Charlie.
    However, the boys are just called Charlie (I don’t know any actually called Charles) whilst all the girl Charlies are actually called Charlotte.

  4. And there are also a number of girls starting to be called “Chuck” short for Charlotte. Bleah.

  5. @C in DC – Interesting! I hadn’t picked up on that. I’ll be on the lookout for it…

  6. My given name is Charly, I’m female, and was born and currently live in the Western U.S. I always saw the spelling of my name as very feminine (the numbers belie this), doesn’t seem so different from the mmmany Brittanys, Ashleys, and Audreys out there. Of course the name seems feminine to me; Charlie and Charles seem masculine but “boyish.”

    Interesting that you posted this on my mom’s birthday!

  7. New data is out!

    Charlie in 2009: 1,242 boys (72%), 485 girls (28%)
    Charlie in 2010: 1,415 boys (68%), 660 girls (32%)

    So, a higher proportion of baby girls were named Charlie (just this spelling) in 2010.

  8. As a nickname for Charles or Charlotte. Very cute for a girl.

  9. As a given-name Charly who is female, clearly that is the association for this spelling for me. (I was born in ’88, named after the schmaltzy novel, well before the trend.) Charlie, written, is masculine (and British!) to me.

  10. We are from the mid-atlantic U.S. and our daughter, who was born in 2008, is named Charley. We often thought of the -ie spelling to be more masculine than the -ey spelling. It is a family name for us. We are hearing more and more stories of people naming their girls Charlie/Charley. We get a lot of positive feedback on the fact that we named her Charley (not Charlotte, Charlene, etc.). No offense to the people named Charlotte or Charlene. . .they are pretty names, but I wanted to have a little girl named Charley. :) The name suits her perfectly. . .I am glad we didn’t bend to family that felt we should give her a more feminine name and then Charley could be her nickname.

  11. my names is called charlie i hate my name but my dad called charlie to xxx

  12. The current status of Charlie…

    In 2011, the name by itself was given to 1,503 (64%) boys and 848 (36%) girls.

    If we look at all the other spellings that year, though, the percentages switch places:

    Charlie: 1,503 boys, 848 girls
    Charlee: 18 boys, 703 girls
    Charley: 85 boys, 459 girls
    Charly: 32 boys, 79 girls
    Charli: 5 boys, 379 girls
    Charleigh: 347 girls
    Charlea: 23 girls
    Charlye: 15 girls
    Charlei: 8 girls
    Charliegh: 7 girls

    Overall: 4511 babies, 1643 (36%) boys and 2868 (64%) girls

    To compare: The 2009 numbers I used for the original post gave me 46% boys and 54% girls. So the Charlie-group has become more feminine in the last two years.

    P.S. Recently learned about the Disney show Good Luck Charlie. The titular Charlie is a girl (Charlotte).

  13. This is just more silliness from left-wing celebrities. People like Elisabeth Shue [daughter ‘Anne Charles Guggenheim’] just want to undermine sex distinctions. The same film industry also portrays people calling their parents by their first names, a deliberate attempt to replace natural and proper forms of authority with that of an ever-expanding state bureaucracy. People are herd animals of course, and will follow their example, thinking themselves frightfully progressive into the bargain. Personally I despise them all.

  14. We are thinking about naming our little girl Charly or Charli. It is a family name and we named our first child after my family so we are trying to name our second after my husband’s. Can’t decide, don’t really want to deal with the fools of the world such as Joe Saponic.

    To Mr. Saponic directly, I think it is odd that you contribute naming children to a person’s political status. I am neither a left-wing celebrity nor following such trends to undermine sex distinctions, unless you are speaking of the negative and limiting distinctions, then yes, I would like to undermine these distinctions for both sides. I would love to say I make my decisions based on a unaffected perception of reality, but alas, we all make decisions based upon outside influences – that includes you. It seems that such left-wing celebrities affect your thoughts and opinions a great deal – what importance you have placed on people you despise. Hopefully, you can overcome this anger and not offend people named Ashley, Charli, Danny, Sammy, etc, for no good cause or reason.

  15. My name is Charlie and I’m a girl. I’ve live in France, Spain and England and never met any other girl with the name Charlie (or any other spelling), not even as a nickname. I’ve read many comments on other websites that say it should only be a boys name and if not would cause confusion (which I have had a bit of a problem with in the past, especially with my subscription to a Formula 1 magazine). I love the name, especially as it is rare amongst girls. My name is not a shortened version of Charlie either. I personally find it quite annoying when people ask me whether my name is short for Charlotte (because I really don’t like that name myself) or Charlene. I wish there were more girls called Charlie (or even Charly/i/ey etc), but then again, it would make me more common and I wouln’t like that one bit :) .

  16. Rachael Weston

    I have a daughter Charlie (real name Charlotte) . She’s always been known as Charlie. I like in the midlands in the UK. I know a few Charlie’s but there are more male Charlie’s in this country.

  17. I am from Estonia and to me personally Charlie is a boy name and Ashley is a girl name. There is no particular reason, it’s simply how I feel when I first hear those names spoken out. In the back of my mind I do know that Charlie and Ashley could be names for both sexes, so I don’t rush into any conclusions, but if I could pick from these two names then Charlie would most definitively be a boy’s name and Ashley would be a girl’s name.

  18. It is a boys name. I live in South Florida but am from the West coast of Canada.

    I think it’s sad when mom and dads give their boy a girls name and vice versa. Let’s keep Charlie a boys name!

  19. Hey rachel…..why dont u mind your own business and keep your negativity to yourself, my daughters name is charly and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Its unique and it fits her to a T! So sorry u dont like unisex names, but that sounds like a personal problem to me! Get over yourself its 2014…times have changed and people want unique names for their kids!!! Thats the joy of being a parent…u can name your babies whatever u want amd nobody else’s opinions matter!!!

  20. I have a little girl named Charli. We live in Texas. I stressed about naming my daughter an untraditional name quite a bit because of my fear of people like Rachel and Joe Saponic. But, I wanted to have a little girl named Charli. I think Charli is so feminine – it ends with an “e” sound, as many girls names do, and the spelling makes it very apparent it is intended as a girl’s name. Moreover, we did not establish a more formal version, we just named her what we wanted her to be called.

    Sometimes I get odd looks from older women, but mostly I get people telling me how much they love that name for a girl and their family’s history in regards to Charles.

    My parents were not supportive of this decision, and I respect my parents very much. I understand their concerns. Interestingly, my parents are very supportive of strong females and raised three very successful and driven women. Also interesting is I, myself, am named after my father, Lacie. I use the nickname Libby because my middle name is Elizabeth. As a child, I grew tired of explaining my nickname to everyone on introduction. Hints why I named Charli, Charli, not some other name I liked less.

    In any regard, I am happy with my decision. It is important to support people who take chances AND those who uphold tradition. I like to think I do both – i have one little girl named Lillian, a very old and traditional girl’s name. She goes by Lilly. As previously mentioned, I have a second little girl named and called the same, Charli. And just in case she ever got overwhelmed by the ignorant people, no names necessary, I gave her out an out. She can choose to go by her very old and traditionally feminine middle name, Marie.

    I have been following this site since my first research into girls named Charli, about two years. I don’t typically follow sites and I had reluctance to do so; especially when I began to receive the emails. However, it makes me happy to see that the overwhelming majority of people have their heads on straight…much obliged.

    Best wishes to those who can’t quite seem to love thy neighbor in spite of differences…

  21. Charlie is hardly unique, Danielle. But I see nothing wrong with Charlie on a girls, its traditionally a very much masculine nickname name, but it can work as a nickname for Charlotte.

  22. The scales might be tipping, you guys!

    In 2012, the Charlie breakdown — for that spelling alone — was 54% boys (1,551) and 46% girls (1,315 girls).

    Do you think the majority of Charlies in 2013 will be girls?

  23. Ok, here’s the full breakdown of all 2012 spelling variants:

    Girls: 3,916 out of 5,611, or 70%

    Charlie: 1,315
    Charlee 992
    Charley: 572
    Charleigh: 506
    Charli: 387
    Charly: 70
    Charlea 21
    Charlei: 14
    Charlye: 13
    Charliee: 11
    Charlii: 10
    Charle: 5

    Boys: 1,695 total out of 5,611, or 30%

    Charlie: 1,551
    Charleigh: 89
    Charly: 34
    Charlee 16
    Charli: 5

    So the girl/boy split has continued to widen, from 54%/46% (2009) to 64%/36% (2011) to 70%/30% (2012).

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