Andrea is considered a girl name in most countries, but in Italy it’s solidly masculine. In fact, Andrea is the 6th most popular boy name in Italy right now, and it was the #1 boy name as recently as 16 years ago.
So why hasn’t Andrea caught on as a girl name in Italy? Mainly because Italian law forbids native-born Italian parents from giving traditionally male names to baby girls (and vice versa).
But the situation changed a few years ago when a couple in Florence resolved to name their baby girl Andrea. As expected, the Florence court rejected the name (and assigned the name “Giulia” instead). The couple appealed the decision all the way up to Italy’s Supreme Court, which ruled in 2012 that the name Andrea could be given to girls as well as to boys:
“The name ‘Andrea’, taking also into account its lexical peculiarity, cannot be deemed ridiculous nor disgraceful when given to a female, nor can it bring about any measure of ambiguity in the person’s sexual recognition,” the court said.
As a result of the ruling, the number of Italian baby girls named Andrea more than quintupled in 2013:
Here are the numbers:
- 2015: 212 baby girls named Andrea in Italy
- 2014: 237 baby girls named Andrea in Italy
- 2013: 281 baby girls named Andrea in Italy
- 2012: 55 baby girls named Andrea in Italy
- 2011: 55 baby girls named Andrea in Italy
- 2010: 72 baby girls named Andrea in Italy
Because Andrea’s popularity for boys was already in decline (more or less) it’s hard to say if the ruling had any corresponding negative impact on male usage.
Do you think Andrea will ever become more popular for girls than for boys in Italy? If so, by what decade?