The most popular, gender-neutral baby names

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2022


The most popular, gender-neutral baby names

Every parent is different when it comes to naming their baby. Some wish to honor family with a generational name; others dive deep into meanings and symbolism, and some choose a name solely based on how it sounds. No matter what path you decide when it’s your turn to give a child their name, it’s a significant choice that usually lasts a lifetime.

Many parents are turning to gender-neutral names as the conversation surrounding gender identity becomes more common. Stacker analyzed data from the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names in 2021 (the most recent data available). The 2021 ranks for names that appeared on both lists (girls and boys) were averaged to quantify gender-neutral popularity in 2021.

In addition to popularity, the list also gives more insight into each name, touching on its origin and meaning. Is your future baby’s name waiting for you? Read on and find out.

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A baby on a fluffy white rug with a brown hat.


#50. Reign

– Average rank: 479
– Rank for male names: 608
– Rank for female names: 349

The word “reign” means “royal authority,” and who doesn’t think their kiddo will rule? The name has been gaining steady popularity for both girls and boys, perhaps partly because Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick named their son Reign in 2014.

A person holding a baby in a brown blanket.


#49. Elliot

– Average rank: 467
– Rank for male names: 160
– Rank for female names: 773

The one-T spelling of Elliot has always been a favored boys’ name but has sprung into popularity for girls in recent years. No matter the spelling, the name is a great way for parents to celebrate their faith—its Hebrew origin means “the Lord is my God” and it’s a variant of the biblical name Elijah.

A sleeping baby wearing a blue hat.


#48. Ellis

– Average rank: 458
– Rank for male names: 321
– Rank for female names: 594

Ellis is a Welsh name that means “kind, benevolent,” which is a descriptor every parent would love for their child. The name has always been a desirable name for boys. However, since the 1980s, it’s become increasingly popular among girls. In 2016, the popular medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” character Meredith Grey named her daughter Ellis (after her mother, Ellis Grey), which may have helped further boost Ellis’ popularity as a female name.

A baby wearing glasses asleep on a yellow moon pillow.


#47. Remy

– Average rank: 454
– Rank for male names: 357
– Rank for female names: 550

The name Remy comes from French, Latin descent meaning “oarsman,” Its popularity as a gender-neutral name started to soar in 2009—it’s probably not a coincidence that two years earlier Pixar released “Ratatouille,” starring a loveable rat chef with the same name.

A sleeping baby wearing a brown hat with ears and holding a bunny.


#46. Lennon

– Average rank: 453
– Rank for male names: 670
– Rank for female names: 236

The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear “Lennon” is the late Beatles star, John Lennon. The Irish name means “lover.” What people have considered more of a boys’ name for decades has skyrocketed in popularity for girls in the 21st century.

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#45. Dallas

– Average rank: 453
– Rank for male names: 270
– Rank for female names: 635

Dallas may just remind you of Texas, but the name comes from Scottish origin and means “from the dales” or “the valley meadows.” It has always been a popular boys’ name, but since 2008 you may have met more girls with the name, too.

A sleeping baby wearing a fuzzy white outfit and hat with ears while cuddling a small brown and white cow.


#44. Hunter

– Average rank: 452
– Rank for male names: 86
– Rank for female names: 817

By definition, Hunter means “one who hunts, pursuer.” What began as a surname for professional hunters became a fashionable personal name in the 1990s. While it’s still much higher in the rankings for boys, Hunter has become an increasingly popular girls’ name in the past 20 years. Hunter is the real first name of HunterGirl, the runner-up on the 20th season of “American Idol.”

A sleeping baby in a brown hat with ears holding a bunny.


#43. Emery

  1. – Average rank: 427

– Rank for male names: 764
– Rank for female names: 89

Emery is a British name meaning “industrious” or “powerful.” What started as a surname and a popular name for boys has completely flipped in the past 25 years. The gender-neutral name is now much higher in the rankings for girls’ names.

A baby in a peach outfit with ears inside a basket of flowers.


#42. Lennox

– Average rank: 427
– Rank for male names: 254
– Rank for female names: 599

Those interested in German and Celtic mythology may consider naming their baby Lennox. The Scottish name means “with many elm trees” and “elm grove.” Elms have often been associated with mythical things like fairies and elves. The name has steadily gained popularity in the past 20 years.

A baby wearing glasses and a hat with ears while holding a book open.


#41. Reese

– Average rank: 424
– Rank for male names: 701
– Rank for female names: 147

Reese’s Welsh origin means “enthusiasm,” “fire,” and “ardor.” While it was once considered a boys’ name primarily, Reese has been climbing in popularity for girls in the past 30 years. In 2003, it became a more popular girls’ name (most likely due to actress Reese Witherspoon’s rise to stardom).

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A baby in a brown outfit sleeping.


#40. Remi

– Average rank: 421
– Rank for male names: 720
– Rank for female names: 122

“Remi” is slightly more popular than its other variation, “Remy.” While the meaning—”oarsman” or “cure”—is the same, it’s interesting to note that this version is wildly more popular for girls than the “Y” spelling.

A baby smiling in a white onesie and hat with pom poms on the sides.


#39. Kai

– Average rank: 421
– Rank for male names: 71
– Rank for female names: 770

Kai has a wide range of meanings across cultures. The name is of Welsh origin and means “keeper of the keys and earth,” however, in Hawaii, Kai means “the sea,” and in New Zealand, it’s the Maori word for “food.” The name has steadily increased for girls and boys since the 1990s but is still much more popular as a boys’ name.

A baby with a surprised face sitting outside wearing a pink outfit and headband.


#38. Armani

– Average rank: 419
– Rank for male names: 369
– Rank for female names: 469

Armani is an Italian name that means “child of Armano” or “warrior,” but most people associate it with the fashion designer Giorgio Armani. The name is more well-known as a surname but is gaining popularity as a personal name for both boys and girls.

A baby lying in a crib wearing gray and white with stars and yawning.


#37. Taylor

– Average rank: 418
– Rank for male names: 643
– Rank for female names: 192

In medieval times, the French name Taylor was an occupational name for (you guessed it) a tailor. What began as a much more widely used boys’ name has soared in popularity for girls. In 1991, Taylor became a more sought-after name for girls than boys, and those numbers continue to increase thanks to female stars like Taylor Swift.

A baby in a wooden crib with pillows.


#36. Ari

– Average rank: 410
– Rank for male names: 342
– Rank for female names: 478

Ari is another name that’s meaning changes depending on where in the world you live. In Scandinavian, it means “eagle,” in Hebrew, it means “lion,” and in the Badaga language, it means “sun-like.” Though it’s often a nickname (think Ariana Grande), Ari has recently increased in popularity as a stand-alone name.

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A baby in a red Christmas suit holding a present.


#35. Morgan

– Average rank: 409
– Rank for male names: 612
– Rank for female names: 205

Of Welsh origin, Morgan means “circling sea” or “white sea dweller.” The name has historically been a popular boys’ name. However, the seas changed in the 1970s and vaulted in popularity for girls. In 1980, Morgan’s popularity with girls surpassed that of boys and has continued to climb as a sought-after girls’ name.

A baby dressed in a chicken costume next to a nest of eggs.


#34. Alexis

– Average rank: 407
– Rank for male names: 472
– Rank for female names: 341

Alexis is a Greek name that means “defender” or “protector.” The name launched into popularity for girls in the 1940s and gradually crept up in the rankings for boys, too. In 2021, it’s still a more popular girls’ name, but the numbers are pretty close.

A baby wearing a white onesie on a bed with star sheets.


#33. Sutton

– Average rank: 393
– Rank for male names: 541
– Rank for female names: 244

Sutton’s British origin means “southern homestead.” The name has gone through its ups and downs in popularity through the decades, but is seeing its highest ranks for girls and boys in 2021.

A sleeping baby under a white knitted blanket.


#32. Ariel

– Average rank: 391
– Rank for male names: 560
– Rank for female names: 222

Ariel is a sacred name in Hebrew. The word describes the city of Jerusalem and means “lion of God.” The name also conjures up other images for Disney fans, becoming famous in pop culture as the name of the titular character in “The Little Mermaid.” Therefore, it may not be surprising that Ariel saw its highest spot as a girls’ name in 1991, two years after the movie was released. But it’s also remained a popular boys’ name.

A baby in a colorful outfit in a bouncer.


#31. Ezra

– Average rank: 376
– Rank for male names: 37
– Rank for female names: 714

Ezra is a deeply important name in the Jewish faith, referring to Ezra the Scribe, a religious leader known for restoring the Jewish community and strengthening the religion. In Hebrew, the name means “help.” Ezra is a wildly popular boys’ name and is becoming more desirable for girls, too.

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A blue-eyed baby lying down.


#30. Elliott

– Average rank: 361
– Rank for male names: 169
– Rank for female names: 552

Like the single “T” variation, Elliott is a biblical name meaning “the Lord is my God.” Both spellings are more popular for boys. But this version is even more popular for girls than Elliot.

A smiling baby in an orange and white polka dot outfit.


#29. Noah

– Average rank: 347
– Rank for male names: 2
– Rank for female names: 692

Another important Biblical name, Noah means something completely different in its masculine and feminine forms. The female variation means “motion” and refers to the biblical figure No’ah, Zelophehad’s daughter. For males, it means “rest or repose” and derives from Noach. Noah was the second most popular boy name in 2021, but it has also been gaining traction as a girls’ name in recent years.

A baby in a white outfit sleeping on a yellow bear.


#28. Rory

– Average rank: 346
– Rank for male names: 295
– Rank for female names: 396

Rory is the perfect baby name for any Irish history buff. Its origins stem from the Irish word ruadh, which means “red,” and the Old Irish name Ruaidrí, meaning “red king.” Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair was the High King of Ireland in the 1100s. Rory has historically been a more popular boys’ name, but it rose in prominence as a girls’ name in the past 20-plus years, thanks partly to the main character of “Gilmore Girls,” Rory Gilmore.

A baby in a red and blue hat and colorful blanket reaching up.


#27. Tatum

– Average rank: 332
– Rank for male names: 385
– Rank for female names: 279

Tatum’s origin is quite specific: The name refers to a tiny English village that means “Tata’s homestead.” But that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a popular baby name worldwide. Tatum has generally been used more as a girls’ name but has soared in popularity for boys recently.

A baby in a hat and bib with gold stars posed in front of a colorful flag banner.


#26. Eden

– Average rank: 311
– Rank for male names: 501
– Rank for female names: 121

Anyone familiar with the Bible won’t be surprised that Eden means “place of pleasure, delight,” referring to the Garden of Eden. While the name is much more popular for girls, it’s become increasingly desirable for boys in recent years.

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A sleeping baby in a gray and white furry hat holding a Koala bear.


#25. Dakota

– Average rank: 307
– Rank for male names: 344
– Rank for female names: 270

Dakota is the name of a Native American Sioux tribe that is known for its kinship and sense of community, hence the name’s meaning of “friend” or “ally.” Throughout the years, the name has oscillated between being more popular for girls and boys. In 2021, it was pretty close in the rankings for both genders.

A baby in a kite onesie on a gray and white bed next to a gray bear.


#24. Dylan

– Average rank: 306
– Rank for male names: 44
– Rank for female names: 567

Dylan is a Welsh name meaning “son of the sea.” And while it’s a wildly popular boys’ name, it has also gained traction as a girls’ name. Since the 1980s, Dylan has become increasingly popular for both genders.

A baby sleeping in a white fluffy zip up suit.


#23. Sage

– Average rank: 303
– Rank for male names: 427
– Rank for female names: 179

While Sage’s Latin origin means “wise” and “healthy,” it’s best known as an herb in English and also references a group of philosophers known as the Seven Sages of Greece. No matter the particular meaning you choose for your Sage, the name continues to rise in popularity for both girls and boys.

A baby up in the air wearing a green shirt and white shorts.


#22. Oakley

– Average rank: 298
– Rank for male names: 403
– Rank for female names: 193

Oakley is a British name meaning “meadow of oak trees,” and is perfect for nature-loving parents. The name’s seen highs and lows in popularity for boys and girls alike. Overall, it has soared in desirability for the past 10-plus years.

Adult hands resting on a sleeping baby.


#21. Remington

– Average rank: 290
– Rank for male names: 231
– Rank for female names: 348

Another name for nature lovers, Remington is of English origin, meaning “place on a riverbank.” The name made a meteoric rise in popularity for boys in the 1980s and then experienced similar popularity for girls a decade later. In 2021, the name was pretty close in the rankings for the two genders.

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A baby posed on a blanket outside with paper flowers and paper flags hanging above.


#20. Peyton

– Average rank: 285
– Rank for male names: 471
– Rank for female names: 99

Peyton has quite an interesting meaning: “fighting man’s estate.” The Irish origins may be a bit antiquated. Still, the name became far more popular for girls than boys in the early 1990s and has continued to rise in popularity for females while it drops for males.

A baby on a floral pillow wearing a green hat and outfit.


#19. Ryan

– Average rank: 281
– Rank for male names: 66
– Rank for female names: 495

Since the 1970s, Ryan has been consistently in the top 100 boy names in the United States. But despite its Gaelic origin meaning “little king,” there are plenty of girls named Ryan as well. Interestingly enough, it was in the 1970s that the name shot up in female popularity.

A baby in blue on a green blanket in the grass.


#18. Angel

– Average rank: 279
– Rank for male names: 67
– Rank for female names: 491

According to its Greek origins, Angel means “messenger.” But to those of faith, it means something more divine: “messenger of God.” In the 1970s, Angel was a more popular girl’s name. However, it’s dropped off since then and is considered a more sought-after boys’ name in 2021.

A newborn baby sleeping in mustard colored pants and a white sweater.


#17. Phoenix

– Average rank: 278
– Rank for male names: 248
– Rank for female names: 308

Phoenix is the ultimate symbol of growth and transformation. The mythical bird is known for its ability to rise from the ashes of flame anew, and the word’s Greek origin means “dark red,” most likely referring to the cleansing fire. Phoenix is a powerful name for a child, and modern-day parents embrace it regardless of gender.

A man carrying a baby in a gray hat and white onesie.


#16. Carter

– Average rank: 270
– Rank for male names: 39
– Rank for female names: 500

The British name Carter means “transporter of goods by cart” and was once an occupational surname. For more than a century, Carter’s been a popular given name for boys—remaining in the top 100 since 2008—and has risen in prominence for girls in recent years.

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A baby in a white onesie on a pink blanket.


#15. Amari

– Average rank: 266
– Rank for male names: 199
– Rank for female names: 333

In Hebrew, Amari means “eternal,” in Greek, it means “immortal,” and in Arabic, it means “moon.” Amari has risen in popularity for both boys and girls in America, and in 2021 broke the top 200 in boys’ names for the first time.

A baby eating yogurt.


#14. Cameron

– Average rank: 265
– Rank for male names: 62
– Rank for female names: 468

Not all popular names have idyllic meanings: Cameron’s Scottish origin means “crooked nose.” But that hasn’t stopped it from being a top 200 boys’ name for 35 years and a pretty popular girls’ name, too.

A baby in a blanket with a pacifier.


#13. Jordan

– Average rank: 257
– Rank for male names: 88
– Rank for female names: 425

Jordan is a Hebrew name meaning “to flow down” and is a biblical reference to the Jordan River, the location of Jesus Christ’s baptism. Jordan has always been a more popular name for boys but shot up in prominence for girls in the 1990s. In the past 20 years, its ranking has fallen as a female name, but it’s still in the top 500.

A baby in a high chair drinking from a yellow sippy cup.


#12. Quinn

– Average rank: 243
– Rank for male names: 405
– Rank for female names: 80

Any parent knows that babies rule the house. So what’s a more fitting name than the Gaelic word for “chief”? Quinn has historically been a more popular boys’ name, but in 2010 it became more popular for girls and has stayed that way since.

A baby in a red fuzzy hooded jacket.


#11. Finley

– Average rank: 238
– Rank for male names: 265
– Rank for female names: 211

Finley’s Irish origin means “fair-haired courageous one,” but your kiddo doesn’t have to have light hair to rock this name. Finley has hit peaks and valleys as far as rankings go for both genders but has soared in popularity in recent years.

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A baby in a blue onesie crawling.


#10. Hayden

– Average rank: 233
– Rank for male names: 176
– Rank for female names: 290

Hayden’s Old English roots translate to “in the hay fields.” But some consider it to have the same meaning as the Welsh name Aiden, which means “bringer of fire.” Hayden has become an increasingly popular name for girls and boys in the past 30 years.

A baby in a watermelon outfit and headband.


#9. Emerson

– Average rank: 223
– Rank for male names: 279
– Rank for female names: 167

Emerson is a German name with an array of meanings: “brave,” “powerful,” and “child of Emery.” It’s historically a boys’ name, but has become overwhelmingly popular for girls. In fact, in 2002, the tides turned completely, and Emerson’s female ranking surpassed the male. It’s stayed that way ever since.

A baby in a pink knitted outfit.


#8. Rowan

– Average rank: 174
– Rank for male names: 106
– Rank for female names: 241

If red hair runs in your family, Rowan is the best name to celebrate those fiery locks since its Irish roots mean “little redhead.” Of course, red hair isn’t a prerequisite for the name, as it’s grown wildly popular for babies in recent years. Rowan also conjures up thoughts of nature, as it’s the namesake of a tree that bears red berries and is prominent in folklore.

A baby in a bib smiling.


#7. Logan

– Average rank: 166
– Rank for male names: 21
– Rank for female names: 310

Logan’s Gaelic and Scottish roots may mean “hollow,” but this name is quite robust in popularity. It broke the top 100 in boys’ names in 1995 and hasn’t dropped off since. For girls, its prominence shot up in the 1970s and has continued to rise gradually.

A sleeping baby wrapped in a blanket.


#6. Sawyer

– Average rank: 165
– Rank for male names: 114
– Rank for female names: 216

Sawyer began as an English occupational surname meaning “woodcutter.” But ever since Mark Twain’s 1876 novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” the name conjures up visions of curiosity and mischief. In the early 20th century, Sawyer became a popular given name for boys but declined immensely in the first half of the century. It shot up again in the 1980s and became increasingly popular among girls.

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A smiling baby under a play gym.


#5. Charlie

– Average rank: 158
– Rank for male names: 189
– Rank for female names: 127

Charlie’s German origins mean “free man.” Charlie has become a wildly popular name across the board. It’s been higher in the rankings for girls than boys since 2016.

A baby on a colorful play mat.


#4. Riley

– Average rank: 142
– Rank for male names: 246
– Rank for female names: 37

The British roots of Riley mean “rye clearing,” however, parents may prefer the meaning of the Irish surname Reilly—”courageous” or “valiant.” No matter what definition best suits your family, one thing is certain: Riley is no longer just a name for boys. It’s become much more popular for girls in the 21st century.

A baby in a leopard puffer suit and neon hat in the snow.


#3. River

– Average rank: 131
– Rank for male names: 110
– Rank for female names: 151

It should come as no surprise that River means “flowing body of water.” But in a more symbolic sense, the nature-minded name conjures thoughts of growth, tranquility, and life, making it perfect for the free-spirited. River has always been a popular boys’ name but has gained traction for girls, too.

A baby playing in a blue suit.


#2. Avery

– Average rank: 115
– Rank for male names: 210
– Rank for female names: 19

Though every baby is magical, one named Avery has an extra touch. The name’s British origin means “elf counsel” or “ruler of elves,” and is splendid for any fantasy-loving family. The name has been on a roller coaster in the rankings for girls and is steadily popular for boys. But in the past 20-plus years, it has once again become more sought after for girls.

A baby in a blue and white striped outfit standing in a crib.


#1. Parker

– Average rank: 104
– Rank for male names: 93
– Rank for female names: 115

Parker began as an Old English occupational surname meaning “park keeper,” but these days, parks conjure up ideas of the outdoors, lushness, togetherness, and, of course, fun. Since becoming a more fashionable given name, Parker has generally been more popular among boys. However, in the past 30-plus years, it’s also risen in prominence for girls.

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