The Popularity of Your Last Name

The U.S. Census Bureau counts the number of Americans every ten years. The same government agency also asks a lot of questions of those people, such as how many bathrooms are in their house and whether or not the family owns a computer. The Census Bureau even counts how many people have the same first or last names.

There were 6.3 million surnames documented in the 2010 census. The 15 most common surnames in America were:

1. Smith

2. Johnson

3. Williams

4. Brown

5. Jones

6. Garcia

7. Miller

8. Davis

9. Rodriguez

10. Martinez

11. Hernandez

12. Lopez

13. Gonzalez

14. Wilson

15. Anderson

The most rapidly increasing surnames among the top 1,000 in both 2000 and 2010 are mostly Asian: Zhang (up 111 percent), Li (93 percent), Ali (66 percent), Liu (64 percent) and Khan (63 percent) top the list.

You can find the 1,000 most popular surnames at: https://www2.census.gov/topics/genealogy/2010surnames/Names_2010Census_Top1000.xlsx.

My own surname didn’t even make the list of the 1,000 most popular surnames!

7 Comments

Sorry you didn’t make the list but we’ve always known you were very special!
Mary

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    Actually, for genealogy, having a relatively uncommon name is a good thing. If you find someone with the same surname, the chances go way up that they are related to you in a provable time frame. My surname also is not in the top 1000, which is fine with me.

    Like

    Tell me about it. One of my brick walls is my great-grandfather’s younger brother, William Smith. The last record I have for him is his mention in his father’s obituary from 1901 when he was 15 and living on his own in Boston. Yeah….. I’m looking for Bill Smith in Boston. 😦

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I agree with the uncommon name comment. Try looking up William Miller! eek!

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I wonder why you entitled this article “The popularity of your LAST name” when the rest of the article refers to SURNAMES. The term last name is very culturally biased because the order in which given and family names are expressed varies in different parts of the world. Many Asian, Middle East, and some Eastern European countries (e.g. Hungary) place the family name before the given name.

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    We live in USA and from that fct we derive our practices. Because we develop our own practices and customs does not at all indicate a bias!

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It took years to locate information on the correct James Smith and John Black of London, England with scant additional information. Also, many surnames have spelling variations (both error and intentional) that are equally difficult to research.

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