Skip to Content

Is Hannah a unisex name?

The name Hannah has historically been more commonly used for girls, but in recent years it has become increasingly popular for boys as well. This raises the question – is Hannah now considered a unisex name? There are several factors to consider when determining if a name can be classified as unisex.

What makes a name unisex?

A unisex name is one that is given to both male and female babies in roughly equal numbers. There is no official criteria for when a name becomes unisex, but generally if a name is used for at least 25-30% of babies of the opposite gender, it is considered unisex. Some other factors that contribute to a name being seen as unisex include:

– Cultural trends – if a name becomes fashionable to use for both genders, its unisex status will rise.

– Celebrity influence – if high profile celebrities give the name to babies of opposite genders, it can increase the name’s unisex appeal.

– Sound and spelling – names that sound gender neutral and do not contain overtly feminine or masculine letters tend to be more easily used for both genders.

– Traditional usage – if a name has history of usage for both genders, even if it fell out of fashion for one, it is more easily reclaimed as unisex.

History and background of the name Hannah

Hannah has Hebrew origins and is derived from the name Channah, which means ‘favor’ or ‘grace’. It first gained popularity in the English speaking world after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century as biblical names became fashionable.

In the Bible, Hannah is the mother of the prophet Samuel. She was barren but prayed to God for a child and promised she would dedicate him to God’s service. Her story is told in the Old Testament books of Samuel.

For centuries, Hannah was used exclusively as a feminine name. It peaked in popularity in the late 1800s, ranking as one of the top 20 names for girls. Usage declined in the mid-20th century but rebounded again in the 1970s.

Popularity for girls

Hannah has been in the top 50 girl’s names in the United States for over 30 years:

Year Rank
2020 32
2010 20
2000 13
1990 15
1980 26
1970 58

As of 2020, the Social Security Administration reported over 800,000 girls had been named Hannah in the United States since records began in 1880, making it the 27th most popular girl’s name overall.

Popularity for boys

The name Hannah was rarely used for boys until the late 20th century. In 2020, there were 271 baby boys named Hannah, which represented 0.017% of total male births.

Year Number of boys Rank
2020 271 1,867th
2010 133 2,585th
2000 38 4,352nd
1990 5 5,875th

This data shows that while still uncommon for boys, the name Hannah is gaining some traction as a male name. Use has increased over 10-fold since 2000.

Celebrity influence

One factor driving the uptick in Hannah being used for boys is celebrity influence. A few examples:

– Hilaria and Alec Baldwin have a son named Leonardo Ángel Charles Baldwin and call him by the nickname Hannah.

– Tripp Johnston, the grandson of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, has Hannah as one of his legal middle names after his aunt.

– Actor Jason Biggs and his wife Jenny Mollen named their second son Sid Haig Biggs, but call him Hannah as a nickname.

These celebrity baby name choices have helped expose the name Hannah as having potential for boys and made it seem less unusual.

Analysis of Hannah’s unisex appeal

When considering the factors that make a name unisex, here is how Hannah measures up:

– Usage – Hannah remains overwhelmingly feminine, with over 99% of babies being named Hannah still girls. However, use for boys has been steadily climbing.

– Sound – The -ah ending in Hannah is seen as feminine. However, popular male names like Noah and Elijah also share this ending.

– Spelling – There are no overtly feminine letters like the ‘e’ ending often seen in female names.

– Tradition – Hannah does not have significant history of use for boys. However, its similarity to biblical boy’s names like Noah could help its appeal.

– Celebrity influence – High profile examples of Hannah used for boys has increased familiarity. But more examples are likely needed to make a real impact.

– Trends – While gender neutral names are rising in popularity, the overall trend for Hannah leans still heavily female.

Is Hannah unisex? Conclusion

Based on current data and trends, Hannah is not yet considered a truly unisex name. The usage numbers show it remains overwhelmingly feminine, with over 99% of babies named Hannah still being girls.

However, there are signs that Hannah is gradually gaining traction as a name choice for boys as well. Male usage has risen over the last two decades, helped by some celebrity examples. The spelling and sound of Hannah also lend themselves to potential as a unisex name.

Hannah’s history is still predominantly as a female name, but as gender neutral names rise in popularity, it could continue to be adopted for boys. While not yet statistically a unisex name, Hannah occupies a space between strongly feminine and truly gender neutral. It has the potential to become viewed as a unisex name in the future if these trends continue.