More parents are likely going to give their babies “gender-neutral” names in 2024, an expert is predicting.
Baby name expert Steph Coffield is anticipating “surnames as first names” and gender neutrality on U.S. birth certificates next year, the New York Post reported on Monday. The 40-year-old Minnesota-based baby name consultant also credited growing “acceptance of non-binary people” as a contributing factor.
“I’m seeing a lot of whimsical, gender-neutral surnames being given as first names,” Coffield told Yahoo.
“The way things are going, with more acceptance of non-binary people, parents aren’t afraid to give boys softer more feminine names. We’re already there with girls being more masculine, and that will continue,” she added.
At the same time, Coffield is predicting a return of some “classic names” like Harrison, Nathanial, Vincent, Annie, Cecelia, and Margaret, according to the report.
“I’m seeing this more and more – parents want a classic name, but one that’s out of the top 100,” she said. “They want a name that feels familiar and that everyone has heard, but they don’t want their child to have five other kids in their class with the same name.”
These are the U.S. 2024 top name predictions, according to the Yahoo report:
The Boston Globe reported on the trend last year, noting research from 1985 to 2015 that shows an 88 percent increase in gender neutral names for babies. The Globe also cited data from the website Listophile, which examined data on newborn names submitted to the Social Security Administration and found 108,571 gender neutral names in 2021, a 4.71 percent increase from the previous year.
Dr. Christia Spears Brown, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky who studies issues related to “gender” and children, told the publication she started seeing a significant rise in gender neutral baby names around 15 years ago.
“But that was more about the parents pushing back from gendered stereotypes and wanting to be more gender-neutral in some of their parenting choices,” Spears Brown said.
However, Spears Brown said she sees children embracing their parents’ “gender-neutral parenting approach,” and taking it “to another level,” the report states.
“Kids increasingly see gender as a flexible identity,” Spears Brown claimed. “Not only are kids being more open and out if they’re trans, and being allowed to socially transition, but you see an increasing number of nonbinary kids and kids who are gender flexible.”
Spears Brown added that gender-neutral names “gives [kids] one less thing they have to do” if they “want to push back against that binary.”