Gender-neutral baby names are all the rage for 2015

Halfway through the year, baby names like Amari, Karter, and Phoenix are gaining popularity.

Gender-neutral names like Blake, Easton, and London made it to the top 100 in a list of 2014 baby ranking names. –iStock

Last year’s most popular baby names were Benjamin and Emma, but this year the top boy and girl names could actually be the same.

2015 is looking like the year of the gender-neutral baby names, according to a midyear report by BabyCenter.com.

Currently, names like Amari, Karter, Phoenix, Quinn and Reese have been making the largest leaps in popularity.

“As usual, baby names are reflecting a larger cultural shift,’’ says BabyCenter’s Global Editor in Chief Linda Murray. “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. Just as companies have started making more neutral kids’ clothes, and taking ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ labels off toys, an increasing number of parents are choosing unisex names.’’

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This probably isn’t a big surprise. Earlier this year, Oxford English Dictionary was considering adding the gender-neutral pronoun “Mx.’’ Boston City Hall recently built a gender-neutral bathroom. And all the Caitlyn Jenner news has opened up a discussion about gender identity.

This trend is trickling down to kids as well. Not only in baby names, but in children’s toys and clothes, too.

“We recently saw Toys R Us in Sweden issue a gender-free Christmas catalog, while the company’s UK counterpart has phased out “boys’’ and “girls’’ aisles in stores, instead grouping toys by age and type,’’ BabyCenter said in a statement. “This shift has extended to clothing outlets as well, with Banana Republic’s exclusive “mini’’ collection shying away from the age-old pinks and blues in favor of gender-neutral hues like grey, black and cream.’’

Baby name trends always ebb and flow, but at least parents aren’t naming their kids after pieces of fruit anymore.

Top baby names in Massachusetts

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June 21, 2018 | 7:02 AM