Saturday Night Live used to have a regular skit involving a character called Androgynous Pat. Pat’s hapless subordinate was constantly trying to figure out whether Pat was male or female, without success. I thought it would be fun to see which names are still androgynous and which new names that weren’t before are now. I compared census baby names data from 1947 and 2016. To be androgynous for my purposes the ratio between the sexes could not exceed 5 to 1. Here are top 30 names from each period ordered by the total number of babies with that name that year.
1947 2016 Willie Avery Lynn Riley Leslie Parker Lee Sawyer Jackie Peyton Marion Quinn Johnnie Blake Pat Hayden Jessie Alexis Jan Rowan Billie Charlie Dana Emerson Robin Finley Chris River Gale Ariel Frankie Elliot Tommie Eden Guadalupe Elliott Kerry Dakota Carroll Reese Kim Remington Laverne Amari Mickey Phoenix Sammie Harley Gerry Rylan Merle Dallas Rene Skyler Shelby Sage Lupe Ellis Lauren Rory
Most of these were not very balanced in the ratio of male to female. Among the top 30 of 1947, the most balanced were Leslie (almost exactly 1-to-1), Jessie, Jackie and Frankie. In 2016 it was Charlie, Justice (just missed the top 30 at #31), River and Skyler.
Very few of the 1947 top 30 were still androgynous in 2016. The only ones to make the list at all (not necessarily in the top 30) for 2016 were Jackie, Marion, Jessie, and Kerry. That doesn’t mean babies in 2016 were no longer being named with those names, only that the ratio had become greater than 5-to-1. Conversely, the only two names in the top 30 androgynous names of 2016 that made the 1947 list at all were Eden and Rory.