Duchovny was born in New York City, New York in 1960. He is the son of Margaret "Meg" (née Miller), a school administrator and teacher, and Amram "Ami" Ducovny (1927–2003), a writer and publicist who worked for the American Jewish Committee. His father was Jewish, from a family that immigrated from the Russian Empire and Poland. His mother is a Lutheran emigrant from Aberdeen, Scotland. His father dropped the h in his last name to avoid the sort of mispronunciations he encountered while serving in the Army.