Unisex Names: Inge


What should have been last month’s unisex name turned out to be, because I forgot to do it, one of this month’s unisex names. It’s the Germanic and Scandinavian name, Inge.


According to Mike Campbell of Behind the Name¹, Inge is a
“Short form of Scandinavian and German names beginning with the element ing, which refers to the Germanic god Ing.”

Is it feminine or masculine everywhere?

The thing is Inge is feminine (or almost exclusively feminine) in most of the countries that I’ll mention below, but it’s not so much as that it is feminine everywhere you go. In cases like Sweden and Norway (numbers for first name):


N° of males

N° of females





90.1% male




95.8% male

They’re mainly used on males, though some women do bear this name. Bearing in mind, Statistics Sweden² and Statistics Norway² record names from living people who were born in not just in these respective countries but also abroad and seeing as if both of these countries have histories of immigration, especially after the Second World War², it is entirely possible that some of the women in these numbers may come from places where Inge is more often used on females.

Speaking of places where Inge is more often used on females (or rather used almost exclusively on females), Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium all fit into this particular category.


From statistics provided by the Swiss Federal Statistics Office³, seeing as if there is only the Inge marked in pink in the search bar, the conclusion is that every Inge (1,094 to be exact) still alive is female with 87.8% (961) of them living in German-speaking areas, a majority of them born in the 1930s and/or 40s.


Applying what I’ve just said about Switzerland to Germany, I would say pretty much the same thing about Inge’s gender status in Germany. According to Knud Bielefeld, who runs the website Beliebte Vornamen⁴, Inge first entered the top 100 in the mid 1910s, the top 35 in 1922 and the top 5 in 1930. It stayed in the top 10 until 1939.


According to the Meertens Institute⁵, as of 2014, there are 14,393 female Inges and 83 males living in the Netherlands, though that’s, of course, taking into account residents who were born abroad. For females, the name entered the top 100 in 1960 and peaked in 1987.


From data provided by Statistics Denmark⁶, Inge was ranked the 11th most common female name as of New Year’s Day 2016. From data provided by Copenhagen University⁶, the same name was ranked 19th on the same day in 2005, given to 43,585 women at that time, compared to just 83 men (those are for the people born in Denmark).


According to Names.be⁷, 12,302 females and 4 males who have the name Inge live in Belgium, a majority of the females (11,974 to be exact) living in Flanders.

And that’s what’s left of this post. What do you think of the name or this post in general? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below the sources.

Meaning of Inge – http://www.behindthename.com/name/inge¹
Statistics Norway – http://www.ssb.no/en/befolkning/statistikker/navn²
Statistics Sweden (in Swedish) – http://www.sverigeisiffror.scb.se/hitta-statistik/sverige-i-siffror/namnsok/?nameSearchInput=Inge²
Swiss Federal Statistics Office (in French) – http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/fr/index/themen/01/02/blank/dos/prenoms/02.htm³
Knud Bielefeld’s page on Inge (in German) – http://www.beliebte-vornamen.de/5268-inge.htm⁴
Meertens Institute (in Dutch) – http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/nvb/⁵
Statistics Denmark (in Danish) – http://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/emner/navne/navne-i-hele-befolkningen⁶ (shows the 20 most common female names, male names and surnames as of New Year’s Day 2016)
Copenhagen University’s 2005 register data (in Danish) – http://www.danskernesnavne.navneforskning.ku.dk/personnavne.asp⁶
Names.be (in Dutch/Flemish) – http://www.names.be/meisjesnamen.html?met=Inge&sort=beldesc⁷
Wikipedia’s article on immigration to Sweden – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Sweden²
Wikipedia’s article on immigration to Norway – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Norway²


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