These days, the top trend in baby naming skews gender neutral. Modern parents love unisex baby names, so we compiled some of the most popular gender neutral baby names, plus some data that helps to visualize their rise.
Data dad Nathan Yau created a series of graphs tracking the popularity of certain gender neutral baby names. It turns out, popular unisex baby names aren’t a 21st-century invention. Just ask Jackie Robinson or Jackie O. As Yau points out, the rise of gender neutral baby names in the U.S. between 1930 and 2012 is compelling, even if you’re not ready to name your boy Sue.
The graphs below look at gender neutral names that at some point in recent U.S. history had a 50-50 split between baby boy names and baby girl names. The first set of charts shows the baby names that over the years were closest to a 50-50 split between boys and girls, with the first name in the chart, Jessie, being the most gender neutral baby name over time. Marion, Jackie, and Alva came next in the ranking for most unisex baby names throughout recent U.S. history.
The second graph looks at the raw numbers for all 121 gender neutral baby names — just how many girls and boys were given each of those 121 unisex baby names over time. Jesse, Casey, Riley, and Peyton dominate this chart.
The gender split of some unisex baby names was affected by something called “poisoned” names, or uncommon baby names that can be traced to a person, event, movie, song, or anything else that popped up in the zeitgeist and made a unique baby name explode in popularity. Just think of all the babies who were named Jackie after Robinson’s 1947 rookie year or Marion after the 2000 Olympics (not so good in retrospect). Why non-poisoned gender neutral names shift dominant genders is anyone’s guess.
[H/T] Flowing Data
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