Jordan: Boy name or girl name?

While I was updating my Unisex Names list this year, I took note of several variants of Jordan: Jordann, Jordin, Jourdan, Jourdin and Jourdyn.

Jordan itself wasn’t on the list because, in 2013, 85% of the babies named Jordan were boys and just 15% were girls. (It would have made the list from 1989 through 2007, though, as it was being given to baby girls at least 25% of the time during that period.)

The name is more male-leaning than many people assume, it seems, going by this quote from the 2006 edition of A Dictionary of First Names: “[Jordan] is more popular as a boy’s name in Britain and as a girl’s name in the United States.” Not quite — though they might have felt it was heading in that direction in 2006. Jordan’s best showing as a girl name in the U.S. was in 2002, when the split was 64% boys, 36% girls.

Interestingly, the baby name Jordan — which was popularized in the 1980s by basketball great Michael Jordan — began as dual-gender. During the Middle Ages, crusaders returning from the Middle East brought back water from the Jordan river. European babies baptized with this water were sometimes named Jordan, regardless of gender. (The river name comes from Hebrew and means “flow down” or “descend.”)

What are your thoughts on the baby name Jordan? Do you think it works better as a boy name or as a girl name?

Source: Hanks, Patrick, Kate Hardcastle and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of First Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

20 thoughts on “Jordan: Boy name or girl name?

  1. I’ve known two girls Jordans, one expressly named after Michael. But you’re right – on balance, I know more boys by the name.

    I’m interested in the variant spelling question, though … are we slowly evolving new feminine forms of names? Or are names really trending unisex? A century from now, will Jordyn will the feminine form of a retro name, and Jordan the masculine, kind of like Frances/Francis? Because even now, Jordyn and Jordin and some other variants are clearly more popular for girls. Or will spelling be completely up for grabs? If only I had a crystal ball …

  2. I think these days you can assume based on spelling that Jordan will be a boy and Jordyn will be a girl. However you shouldn’t be dumbfounded when you meet a girl named Jordan and a boy named Jordyn, because the original spelling is also used on girls, and variant spellings are used on boys too.

  3. Then you’ve got Taylor, which these days is far more on the pink side – but people think its more unisex looking because it was at one point very common on boys, however it has plummeted a lot in the last decade. But because it was so common back in the day for both genders, I dont think people will ever see it, or Jordan, as very masculine or feminine, but as 2 solid unisex choices. But I think in 20 years or so, Taylor will probably be more masculine again, names on the girls side seem to be more disposable.

    Then you’ve got names like Dakota, which I dont think people even realize how much more male leaning it was back in the 90s, that is now slightly more feminine. Switches can happen. It happened recently with Quinn, and I think Charlie is heading that way too. On the opposite side you have names like Dominique, which were much more common on girls, and now are more used on the male side. Shannon, which is now super dated for both genders, while still leaning feminine, the ratio (or percentage) of male vs female for that name hasnt been this close since the time it took over for girls decades ago.

    I think most of the names that feature on this poll, whether its Jordan or Avery, people these days know better than to say its “male” or “female”. I think people have embraced them as unisex.

  4. Jordan has a much longer history of regular use for boys than for girls. For girls, it fits the profile of a trendy name; for boys, not so much–it’s a traditional name that just went through a popular phase. For that reason, I suspect that before too long, people will consider Jordan quite dated for girls, and usage will decline precipitously, while boy-Jordan will continue to be used at a moderate level.

  5. I know six Jordan’s five of them are girls and they all use the Jordan spelling and where born in the 90’s and early 2000’s. I live in Australia where Jordan was a top 100 name for both genders then but at 85 for girls and 23 for boys not really popular enough to warrant knowing five. Currently Jordan is still in the top 100 for boys (69) but only in the top 400 for girls (389) in NSW 2011.

    I think of the name as feminine simply because I know more female Jordan’s but I also know more female Riley’s but still think of that as male maybe it’s that the first Jordan I ever met was a girl.

  6. Hi!!
    I think the name Jordan can be used for any sex/gender, female or male. But here where I live there are not that many female Jordan’s.. but I still think the name Jordan can for any sex/gender. I hear stuff like; ‘Isn’t Jordan a boys name?’ and many more, but yeah.. that’s all I have to say. :)

  7. my name is technically Jordan and I’m a girl. I’m from the UK and born in ’98. I honestly hated growing up with people assuming I was a boy (before meeting me). Grew so tired of it, even was put with the boys on a school trip and when the teachers realised their mistakes they had to quickly try to fix things. I know one other girl called Jordan, but here in the Uk it’s more common for a boy to be called it. Since I was 11, I’ve gone by my middle name, which is much for feminine. I have very few friends left who actually call me by my first name and am looking into changing it legally within the next year:)

  8. Hi! My name isn’t Jordan and I am a girl, but I think the name Jordan could go for boy or girl. I would say it is a 50% rank on both boy and girl.

  9. You’re hurting my friend name Jordan who’s a girls feelings. Maybe you should think of her feelings

  10. Hello! I think that the name Jordan is a unisex name in my opinion. I’m a girl and In my life ALOT of boys are named Jordan that I know and it really hurt me. Alot of people say the name Jordan not just because it’s a name..because of Michael Jordan. I’m really sick of people saying that I was named after a shoe which I don’t like at all. People say the shoes “Jordan” every single day. This really made me feel better because now I know that others feel the same way I do. The name Jordan has a deep meaning of the Jordan river and how people got baptised in and it can mean alot of different things but now I feel proud of my name (:

  11. I am a girl and It doesn’t bother me that it is a gender neutral and with the different letter change in my name makes it sound more feminine unlike dan but that’s just how i hear it

  12. I personally think the name, Jordan, sounds masculine. Because of that, I prefer the name to be used as a boy’s name.

  13. I’m a 34 year old female who’s name is Jordan.
    Iv met 3 female Jordan’s in my life, and 2 males. I’m not sure how they spelled their name. I used to hate my name, because I felt it was masculine, but now I like my name because it’s different.

  14. My name is Jordan and whenever I see a math problem or a book with a Jordan it is always a boy smh

  15. My name is Jordan and I can’t help but notice that everyone is saying things like “Jordin and Jordyn are girls names and Jordan is a boy’s name”. For one, can I be the first to mention that my best friend (who is a guy) has the name “Jorden”? And two, my whole life I’ve hated my name, and reading this makes me defensive. My name is unique and beautiful and strong. I honestly think that people are dismissing the fact that girls have to live with the name “Jordan”, even if some others don’t like it. It’s because of people like that that make me hate hate hate my name and wish I had a pretty name. Obviously, some people take it for granted and judges other peoples unisex names like “Jordan”. And, back to my friend Jorden, he has a very unique name, and I’m glad we have our names in common because he understands the struggle of people being mean, or spelling it wrong. I wish that people saw how awful unisex names can be. For example, I always have to point out I’m a girl, and Jorden has to tell people that his name is with an “e”. I hope you understand that other people have opinions on their names and that no one has an opinion on their name until they are old enough to change it themselves. Not everyone can see the struggle, but I completely relate to my fellow Jordan’s.

  16. I Wish My Name Were Jordan Because of Jordan Knight From New Kids on the Block and I have a Male Friend Name Jordan I Love His Name I Have a Female Friend Name Jordan I Love Her Name Too. My Name is Jen and People Say Jen or Jennifer is Pretty Too

  17. So when I was little I was the only one I knew with the name Jordan and so I would get really excited if somebody else had the name and was also a girl but then most of the times I realize the spelling was Jordyn and people told me it was a girl version!

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