Unisex baby names have been trending since 2015. According to BabyCenter’s global editor-in-chief Linda Murray, this trend is “reflecting a larger cultural shift.”
“Millennials are an open-minded and accepting group, and they don't want their children to feel pressured to conform to stereotypes that might be restrictive,” Murray explained.
Last year, names such as Karter, Quinn and Reese began climbing the charts for both sexes, and the year before that it was Riley, London, Harper and Owen.
So what about in 2016? Here are our picks for the best unisex baby names this year.
As parents become more creative with their baby name choices, it only makes sense that they’re turning to gender-neutral names as well, says Laura Wattenberg, the name expert who is behind the site Baby Name Wizard.
“Parents are inventing names and using words or last names as first names that have no traditional gender,” she told Fit Pregnancy.
Additionally, celebrities are likely another contributing factor to the rise in popularity of unisex names. In the past few years, we’ve met Jessica Simpson’s daughter Maxwell, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher’s daughter Wyatt, and Ryan Reynolds and Blake Livley’s daughter James.
As you can see, this trend has especially taken off for girls. According to Wattenberg, choosing gender-neutral names for girls is a way for parents to combat sexism.
In fact, a 2009 study from South Carolina’s Clemson University showed that women with traditionally male names were more successful in jobs of power, such as a lawyer or judge.
So what about boys? Unfortunately, boys that are given names traditionally used for girls, such Ashley or Shannon, are more likely to misbehave once they reach puberty, according to 2010 research by David Figlio of Illinois’ Northwestern University.
This is especially true if the boy is in the same class as a girl with the same name. So what’s the solution? Make sure unisex names are as gender-neutral as possible.