Sometimes data tells you very important information you need to live your life. Sometimes it’s just a curiosity. When it comes to the many analyses people have done on gender-neutral baby names popularity through the years, we’re kind of on the fence. On the one hand, if you’re trying to look for what to name your unborn child, it’s useful to know just how many other kids in the playground are going to look up when you yell out, “Onyx, don’t eat that!”
A new study just revealed the most popular gender-neutral baby name since 1910:
- Casey has been the No.1 unisex name in the most states for the most years, popping in and out of popularity since the 1960s
- Riley and Jessie follow close behind
- In recent decades the most popular gender-neutral names also include: Jamie, Jackie, Taylor, Hayden, Finley and Charlie
This comes from the enterprising people at the online loan company NetCredit, who decided to have some data-visualization fun with baby name statistics, and the results are pretty cool to look at. Plus, they might reveal something surprising about parenting trends and gender norms.
While gender-neutral names went up 88% from 1985 to 2015, choosing a gender-neutral baby name is not some millennial thing. They’ve been around for a long time.
What NetCredit did was look at the Social Security Administration’s list of baby name popularity by state, and then found out the top gender-neutral baby names for every year since 1910.
Watch the animated results of NetCredit’s project below:
NetCredit conducted one more little experiment with this information. They asked two sketch artists to come up with illustrations of Caseys, Rileys and Jessies. It turns out, no matter how neutral you think a name is, people will usually form ideas of a person’s identity in their heads, based on other people they’ve met before, as well as famous and historical holders of those names.
This is what one of the sketch artists, Jon Allen, sees when he hears the name “Casey.” He knew a couple of Caseys when he was growing up and that influenced his portrait.
It seems there are always going to be extra factors influencing how people perceive your child’s name, but it goes the other way, too. Your child may have such an impact on someone that decades from now, when someone hears the name you picked, their mind’s eye will show them the child you raised, not necessarily a particular gender. In 2019, names aren’t defined as belonging to boys or girls, but rather by the individuals we give them to.