"Boy" names holding their ground against girl infiltration

As Laura has pointed out, it used to be that once parents of baby girls began using a traditionally "boy" name, it began to drop off the boys' popularity charts.  In the 2011 data, it appears there's more evidence that that's no longer the case.

Of the 60 or so baby names in both the girls top 1000 and the boys top 1000 (I may have missed a few), 23 names managed to increase the percent of boys with those names since 2009.  (Note that I combined spellings, so Braylen and Braelyn would be counted as the same name.) They were:

Caden/Caiden/Kayden/etc., Logan, Micah, Jayden/Jaidyn/etc., Rylan, Cameron/Camren/Camryn/etc., Hayden/Haiden/etc., Rowan, River, Rory, Armani, Francis/Frances, Leighton/Leyton/etc. (the majority of these babies were already boys in 2009, but a higher percentage were boys in 2011)

Reece/Reese/Rhys, Finley, Sage/Saige/etc., Alexis, Taylor, Eden, Morgan, Reagan, Sidney/Sydney (majority of these babies were girls in both 2009 and 2011, but a higher percentage were boys in 2011)

Looking at these lists, it seems the reason most of these names became more boy was due to their falling popularity for girls rather than any great resurgence in their use among boys.  For example, Kayden for girls jumped on the list in 2003, reached a peak of #340 in 2008 and has begun its descent.  Meanwhile, the various spellings of Caden/Kayden/Caiden/etc. had already reached #46 on the boys list in 2003, peaked at #6 in 2010, and dropped slightly to #10 in 2011. 

(NOTE: combining spellings of names is a lot of guesswork and opinion; I realize many would argue that Cameron and Camryn are not the same name!)


May 19, 2012 6:31 PM

Fascinating! The only things I can add right now is that Francis and Frances aren't the same name. Francis is long established as the masculine version, and Frances the feminine.

By mk
May 19, 2012 11:17 PM

And Frances was very popular in the early 1900s (top 20). I have lots of female relatives named Frances.


May 19, 2012 8:28 PM

I've pointed out the same thing before; currently fashionable unisex names that are holding down more even gender ratios than what was typical in the past, and some of those now in the dated category for girls (mine is an example) getting closer in usage again by default as they fall on the charts for girls.

By Jill
May 21, 2012 9:41 AM

Yes, the comparison of Francis/Frances in particular gives me pause since one is ONLY on the girls list and the other is ONLY on the boys list.  However, since MY interest is sound similarity only, I included it.  There are a few others that were divided clearly by spelling, such as Braelyn (only a "girl" spelling) vs. Braylen/Braylon (only boys).  

By Guest (not verified)
May 21, 2012 1:24 PM

But even if they have same sound, it is still not a "boy" name being used by girls. Francis has always been the male version and Frances the female version.

What would have been interesting is if the spelling Francis appeared on the girl list (or Frances on the boy).

May 21, 2012 9:45 AM

I'm curious about Artemis.

It's a girl's name, but with male versions of Artemas and Artemus. But Artemis is the most familiar spelling, and now there's the male character of Artemis Fowl.

Will Artemis be a girl's name going boy?