Which unisex baby names were the most popular in 2022?
To figure this out, I did two things. First, I identified all the gender-neutral names in the latest batch of U.S. baby name data. (To qualify as gender-neutral, a name must be given to girls at least one-third of the time and to boys at least one-third of the time.) Second, I sorted those hundreds of gender-neutral names by total usage: male plus female.
The following names came out on top:
The first four names — Parker, River, Charlie, and Blake — were also the top four in 2021.
The five names that entered the top 20 were Shiloh, Salem, Legacy, Skyler, and Denver. Four of the five qualified as unisex in 2021, but ranked lower on the list. Legacy, on the other hand, was slightly over two-thirds male in 2021.
The five names that dropped out of the top 20 were Hayden, Amari, Oakley, Reign, and Milan. All five failed to qualify as unisex in 2022. Hayden, Amari and Milan were given to too many boys; Oakley and Reign were given to too many girls.
Here are those top 20 names again, this time with total counts and gender percentages:
Number of babies*
*Male and female usage added together
So which names came next on the list?
The following, ranked 21st through 35th, all fell within both the girls’ top 1,000 and the boys’ top 1,000 in 2022:
Briar, 924 total babies
And here are the rest of the unisex names that had a combined usage of at least 200 babies (in descending order):
Olivia Emma Charlotte Amelia Sophia Isabella Ava Mia Evelyn Luna Harper Camila Sofia Scarlett Elizabeth Eleanor Emily Chloe Mila Violet Penelope Gianna Aria Abigail Ella Avery Hazel Nora Layla Lily Aurora Nova Ellie Madison Grace Isla Willow Zoe Riley Stella Eliana Ivy Victoria Emilia Zoey Naomi Hannah Lucy Elena Lillian Maya Leah Paisley Addison Natalie Valentina Everly Delilah Leilani Madelyn Kinsley Ruby Sophie Alice Genesis Claire Audrey Sadie Aaliyah Josephine Autumn Brooklyn Quinn Kennedy Cora Savannah Caroline Athena Natalia Hailey Aubrey Emery Anna Iris Bella Eloise Skylar Jade Gabriella Ariana Maria Adeline Lydia Sarah Nevaeh Serenity Liliana Ayla Everleigh Raelynn Allison Madeline Vivian Maeve Lyla Samantha Rylee Eva Melody Clara Hadley Julia Piper Juniper Parker Brielle Eden Remi Josie Rose Arya Eliza Charlie Peyton Daisy Lucia Millie Margaret Freya Melanie Elliana Adalynn Alina Emersyn Sienna Mary Isabelle Alaia Esther Sloane Mackenzie Amara Ximena Sage Cecilia Valeria Reagan Valerie Catalina River Magnolia Kehlani Summer Ashley Andrea Isabel Oakley Olive Oaklynn Ember Kaylee Georgia Juliette Anastasia Genevieve Katherine Blakely Reese Amaya Emerson Brianna June Alani Lainey Arianna Rosalie Sara Jasmine Ruth Adalyn Ada Bailey Ariella Wren Myla Khloe Callie Elsie Alexandra Ryleigh Faith Norah Margot Zuri Journee Aspen Gemma Kylie Molly Blake Zara Alaina Alana Brynlee Amy Annie Saylor Ana Amira Kimberly Noelle Kamila Morgan Phoebe Harmony Sutton Taylor Finley Lilah Juliana Lila Londyn Kailani Vera Kaia Angela Hallie Diana Lennon Presley Arabella Aliyah Lilly Milani Jordyn Camille Ariel Aubree Selena Sawyer Nyla Delaney Mariana Rachel Adaline Leila Collins Lia Octavia Kali Lena Kiara Kaylani Elaina Daniela Leia Gracie Dakota Elise Hope Harlow Lola Stevie Malia Miriam Alora Gia Evangeline Brooke Lilith Sydney Ophelia Alayna Tatum Evie Rowan Marley Daphne Kayla Dahlia Lucille Blair Adelaide Wrenley Haven Teagan Adelyn Alyssa Payton Jane Mckenna Celeste Juliet Palmer Maggie Rebecca London Noa Samara Thea Kendall Mya Talia Winter Angelina Vivienne Esme Laila Nina Trinity Vanessa Mabel Camilla Jocelyn Journey Paige Phoenix Amina Alivia Amari Joanna Nicole Annabelle Raegan Aitana Julianna Lauren Catherine Adriana Madilyn Harley Tessa Evelynn Elianna Rory Dream Nayeli Poppy Gabriela Jayla Cataleya Celine Hayden Shiloh Mariah Charlee Maisie Regina Adelynn Briella Giselle Fatima Danna Alessia Mckenzie Wynter Fiona Brooklynn Gracelynn Luciana Alexis Everlee Laura Selah Reign Alayah Rosemary Lilliana Ariyah Heidi Esmeralda Logan Amora Kalani Leighton Cali Melissa Aniyah Izabella Michelle Raelyn Alessandra Viviana Madeleine Arielle Serena Francesca Brynn Gwendolyn Kira Destiny Elle Makayla Alaya Malani Willa Saige Makenna Remington Demi Adelina Raya Astrid Azalea Veronica Meadow Anaya Elisa Raven Alexandria Hattie Alicia Sabrina Gracelyn Matilda Skye Annalise Frances Miracle Maia Helen Lana Daleyza Rosie Charli Bianca Royalty Sarai Amiyah Nylah Aylin Maryam Scarlet Antonella Sylvia Sylvie Nadia Ari Lexi Mylah Julieta Lorelei Avianna Armani Camryn Emely Rylie Colette Daniella Liana Brinley Kate Salem Marlee Alison Carmen Felicity Fernanda Holly Ariah Aisha Kora Amanda Ailani Elaine Emory Joy Oaklee Lyric Madelynn Haisley Allie Helena Danielle Katalina Carolina Zariah Navy Cassidy Lorelai Stephanie Alma Mira Legacy Jolene Anya Dorothy Paris Yaretzi Aurelia Maddison Renata Jimena Xiomara Itzel Heaven Lyra Estella Gabrielle Maren
Liam Noah Oliver James Elijah William Henry Lucas Benjamin Theodore Mateo Levi Sebastian Daniel Jack Michael Alexander Owen Asher Samuel Ethan Leo Jackson Mason Ezra John Hudson Luca Aiden Joseph David Jacob Logan Luke Julian Gabriel Grayson Wyatt Matthew Maverick Dylan Isaac Elias Anthony Thomas Jayden Carter Santiago Ezekiel Charles Josiah Caleb Cooper Lincoln Miles Christopher Nathan Isaiah Kai Joshua Andrew Angel Adrian Cameron Nolan Waylon Jaxon Roman Eli Wesley Aaron Ian Christian Ryan Leonardo Brooks Axel Walker Jonathan Easton Everett Weston Bennett Robert Jameson Landon Silas Jose Beau Micah Colton Jordan Jeremiah Parker Greyson Rowan Adam Nicholas Theo Xavier Hunter Dominic Jace Gael River Thiago Kayden Damian August Carson Austin Myles Amir Declan Emmett Ryder Luka Connor Jaxson Milo Enzo Giovanni Vincent Diego Luis Archer Harrison Kingston Atlas Jasper Sawyer Legend Lorenzo Evan Jonah Chase Bryson Adriel Nathaniel Arthur Juan George Cole Zion Jason Ashton Carlos Calvin Brayden Elliot Rhett Emiliano Ace Jayce Graham Max Braxton Leon Ivan Hayden Jude Malachi Dean Tyler Jesus Zachary Kaiden Elliott Arlo Emmanuel Ayden Bentley Maxwell Amari Ryker Finn Antonio Charlie Maddox Justin Judah Kevin Dawson Matteo Miguel Zayden Camden Messiah Alan Alex Nicolas Felix Alejandro Jesse Beckett Matias Tucker Emilio Xander Knox Oscar Beckham Timothy Abraham Andres Gavin Brody Barrett Hayes Jett Brandon Joel Victor Peter Abel Edward Karter Patrick Richard Grant Avery King Caden Adonis Riley Tristan Kyrie Blake Eric Griffin Malakai Rafael Israel Tate Lukas Nico Marcus Stetson Javier Colt Omar Simon Kash Remington Jeremy Louis Mark Lennox Callum Kairo Nash Kyler Dallas Crew Preston Paxton Steven Zane Kaleb Lane Phoenix Paul Cash Kenneth Bryce Ronan Kaden Maximiliano Walter Maximus Emerson Hendrix Jax Atticus Zayn Tobias Cohen Aziel Kayson Rory Brady Finley Holden Jorge Malcolm Clayton Niko Francisco Josue Brian Bryan Cade Colin Andre Cayden Aidan Muhammad Derek Ali Elian Bodhi Cody Jensen Damien Martin Cairo Ellis Khalil Otto Zander Dante Ismael Angelo Brantley Manuel Colson Cruz Tatum Jaylen Jaden Erick Cristian Romeo Milan Reid Cyrus Leonel Joaquin Ari Odin Orion Ezequiel Gideon Daxton Warren Casey Anderson Spencer Karson Eduardo Chance Fernando Raymond Bradley Cesar Wade Prince Julius Dakota Kade Koa Raiden Callan Hector Onyx Remy Ricardo Edwin Stephen Kane Saint Titus Desmond Killian Sullivan Mario Jay Kamari Luciano Royal Zyaire Marco Wilder Russell Nasir Rylan Archie Jared Gianni Kashton Kobe Sergio Travis Marshall Iker Briggs Gunner Apollo Bowen Baylor Sage Tyson Kyle Oakley Malik Mathias Sean Armani Hugo Johnny Sterling Forrest Harvey Banks Grady Kameron Jake Franklin Lawson Tanner Eden Jaziel Pablo Reed Pedro Zayne Royce Edgar Ibrahim Winston Ronin Leonidas Devin Damon Noel Rhys Clark Corbin Sonny Colter Esteban Erik Baker Adan Dariel Kylo Tripp Caiden Frank Solomon Major Memphis Quinn Dax Hank Donovan Finnegan Nehemiah Andy Camilo Asa Jeffrey Santino Isaias Jaiden Kian Fabian Callen Ruben Alexis Emanuel Francis Garrett Kendrick Matthias Wells Augustus Jasiah Alijah Alonzo Koda Collin Ford Frederick Jaxton Kohen Troy Kason Seth Denver Kyson Ares Raphael Bodie Sylas Uriel Zaiden Shiloh Lewis Kieran Marcos Bo Shepherd Philip Zaire Gregory Princeton Roberto Leland Eithan
Looking for baby names that work for both genders?
Actually, let me rephrase that: Do you want to see which names are being given to sizeable numbers of baby boys and baby girls in the U.S. right now?
I wanted to ask the question in a more specific way because I think the details matter. Names can be gender-neutral in theory, but that doesn’t mean they’re being given to babies of both genders in practice.
Gender identity is a big topic of conversation these days, so it’s not surprising that an ever-growing number of parents are searching for baby names that aren’t strongly associated with one gender or the other.
To know what’s happening with baby names in real life, though, we need to focus on the data. That’s why I didn’t consider anything but data when I created the list below.
These names were culled from the 2021 U.S. baby name data (provided by the U.S. Social Security Administration). Each one saw usage that was at least one-third female and at least one-third male, making all of them relatively gender-neutral among today’s newborns.
Top gender-neutral baby names
Let’s start with a quick rundown of the 20 most popular gender-neutral baby names in the U.S. right now:
Now here’s the same list again, but this time around I’ve added more information: data, rankings, popularity graphs, and definitions.
Last year, the name Parker was given to 6,229 babies. Of these babies, 2,406 (38.63%) were girls and 3,823 (61.37%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Parker placed 115th for girls and 93rd for boys.
Parker is an English surname that originally referred to someone who was employed as the keeper of a hunting park.
Last year, the name River was given to 5,317 babies. Of these babies, 1,862 (35.02%) were girls and 3,455 (64.98%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, River placed 151st for girls and 110th for boys.
River, the English word that refers to a flowing body of water, was derived from the Latin word ripa, meaning “riverbank” or “seashore.”
Last year, the name Charlie was given to 4,190 babies. Of these babies, 2,202 (52.55%) were girls and 1,988 (47.45%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Charlie placed 127th for girls and 189th for boys.
Charlie is a diminutive of the male name Charles, which ultimately comes from the Germanic name Karl, which meant “freeman” (i.e., not a serf or slave).
Interestingly, Charlie is a top-10 name for boys in some regions (like New Zealand and Ireland) and a top-10 name for girls in others (like Quebec).
Last year, the name Blake was given to 3,337 babies. Of these babies, 1,497 (44.86%) were girls and 1,840 (55.14%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Blake placed 199th for girls and 205th for boys.
Blake is an English surname that can be traced back to either of two Old English words that happen to have opposite meanings — one being “black,” the other being “white.”
Last year, the name Hayden was given to 3,283 babies. Of these babies, 1,096 (33.38%) were girls and 2,187 (66.62%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Hayden placed 290th for girls and 176th for boys.
Hayden is an English surname that originally referred to someone from one of several different like-named locations. In many cases, the place names were made up of elements meaning “hay” and “hill.” (Depending upon the location, though, the first element sometimes meant “fence enclosure,” and the second element sometimes meant “valley.”)
Last year, the name Emerson was given to 2,952 babies. Of these babies, 1,729 (58.57%) were girls and 1,223 (41.43%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Emerson placed 167th for girls and 279th for boys.
Emerson is an English surname that originally referred to the son of someone named Emery.
Last year, the name Amari was given to 2,880 babies. Of these babies, 972 (33.75%) were girls and 1,908 (66.25%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Amari placed 333rd for girls and 199th for boys.
Amari is a modern name that doesn’t seem to have a specific origin or meaning.
Last year, the name Finley was given to 2,705 babies. Of these babies, 1,407 (52.01%) were girls and 1,298 (47.99%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Finley placed 211th for girls and 265th for boys.
Finley is based on the Gaelic name Fionnlagh, which is made up of elements meaning “white” and “warrior.”
Last year, the name Remington was given to 2,475 babies. Of these babies, 890 (35.96%) were girls and 1,585 (64.04%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Remington placed 348th for girls and 231st for boys.
Remington is an English surname that originally referred to someone from the town of Rimington, in Lancashire. (It’s also an American gun brand.)
Last year, the name Phoenix was given to 2,454 babies. Of these babies, 1,032 (42.05%) were girls and 1,422 (57.95%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Phoenix placed 308th for girls and 248th for boys.
Phoenix, the word that refers the mythological bird that rises from its own ashes, was derived from an ancient Greek word meaning “crimson” or “purple.”
Last year, the name Oakley was given to 2,292 babies. Of these babies, 1,524 (66.49%) were girls and 768 (33.51%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Oakley placed 193rd for girls and 403rd for boys.
Oakley is an English surname that originally referred to someone from one of several different like-named locations. In all cases, the place names were made up of elements meaning “oak” and “clearing.”
Last year, the name Dakota was given to 2,090 babies. Of these babies, 1,147 (54.88%) were girls and 943 (45.12%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Dakota placed 270th for girls and 344th for boys.
Dakota, the name of a Native American tribe, means “friendly” or “allied” in the Siouan language of the Dakota people.
Last year, the name Tatum was given to 1,959 babies. Of these babies, 1,125 (57.43%) were girls and 834 (42.57%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Tatum placed 279th for girls and 385th for boys.
Tatum is an English surname that originally referred to the homestead of someone named Tata.
Last year, the name Rory was given to 1,919 babies. Of these babies, 789 (41.12%) were girls and 1,130 (58.88%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Rory placed 396th for girls and 295th for boys.
Rory is an Anglicized form of the Irish name Ruaidhri, which is made up of elements meaning “red” and “king.”
Last year, the name Ari was given to 1,598 babies. Of these babies, 649 (40.61%) were girls and 949 (59.39%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Ari placed 478th for girls and 342nd for boys.
Ari has several potential definitions, including: “lion” in Hebrew, “brave” in Armenian, and “eagle” in Icelandic.
Last year, the name Alexis was given to 1,569 babies. Of these babies, 940 (59.91%) were girls and 629 (40.09%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Alexis placed 341st for girls and 472nd for boys.
Alexis comes directly from the ancient Greek (male) name Alexis, which meant “helper” or “defender.”
Last year, the name Armani was given to 1,540 babies. Of these babies, 661 (42.92%) were girls and 879 (57.08%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Armani placed 469th for girls and 369th for boys.
Armani is an Italian surname that originally referred to the child of someone named Armano. (It’s also an Italian fashion brand.)
Last year, the name Remy was given to 1,451 babies. Of these babies, 550 (37.90%) were girls and 901 (62.10%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Remy placed 550th for girls and 357th for boys.
Remy, written Rémy in French, is based on the Latin name Remigius, which meant “oarsman.”
It’s interesting that both Remy and Remington are on this list. Remy is a standalone name…but it could also be used as a nickname for Remington.
Last year, the name Reign was given to 1,338 babies. Of these babies, 884 (66.07%) were girls and 454 (33.93%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Reign placed 349th for girls and 608th for boys.
Reign is an English word that can be traced back to the Latin word regnum, meaning “royal power” or “kingdom.”
Last year, the name Milan was given to 1,278 babies. Of these babies, 452 (35.37%) were girls and 826 (64.63%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Milan placed 655th for girls and 388th for boys.
Milan is a Slavic name based on the element milu, meaning “dear, sweet.” (It’s also a city in northern Italy.)
More gender-neutral baby names
What other gender-neutral names made the cut?
Here are the names that were used a bit less often than the twenty above…
Number of babies*
*Male and female usage added together
All of the above ranked among both the top 1,000 girl names and the top 1,000 boy names last year. Two of the below (Robin and Landry) did as well.
Number of babies*
*Male and female usage added together
Most of the above appeared in at least one top-1,000 list last year. The exceptions were Kacey, Campbell, True, Arden, Shea, and Sol.
None of the names from this point onward reached the top 1,000 for either gender.
Number of babies*
*Male and female usage added together
Here are the gender-neutral baby names that saw overall usage ranging from 100 to 199 babies (in descending order):
Most of the names above don’t have a long history of usage in the U.S., so they aren’t anchored one gender or the other — making them good options for expectant parents who want names that work for both genders.
Note that many fall into a handful of categories, including: nature names, place names, surnames, color names, and virtue names. It may be worthwhile to focus on categories like these as you continue your search, as they’ll tend to naturally contain a good proportion of gender-neutral names.
If you’d like to see popularity graphs for any of the names in this post, just check below for the long list of tags. Each tag is a name, so find the name you’re interested in and click through. The graph will need a moment to load — it’s grabbing a lot of data — but it will allow you to see at a glance the name’s current gender-balance (and make an informed guess about its near-future gender-balance, given the current trajectories).
And here are the late bloomers — names that were part of the 2019 game, but didn’t rise/debut until 2020.
Donna increased by 20%.
Nipsey debuted with 7 baby boys.
Luce returned to the data with 7 baby girls.
Maleficent returned to the data with 5 baby girls.
Miren returned to the data with 5 baby girls.
Finally, regarding our theories about how Covid might have affected 2020’s names…I didn’t notice anything definitive. For instance, both Gheba and Skizzo mentioned “prestige” names (e.g., King, Legend, Major, Messiah and Royal). What I found was that some went up, some went down. Same with the modern virtue names (e.g., Courage, Honor, Brave, Bravery, Freedom).
What are your thoughts on these results? Which name surprised you the most?
[Disclaimer: Some of the names above were already moving in the direction indicated. Others were influenced by more than a single pop culture person/event. In all cases, I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence.]