By on 12.15.16 in Carolina Demographics

In addition to counting basic demographic characteristics of 309 million Americans, the 2010 decennial census also included information on the last names about 295 million individuals – more than 95% of all Americans. Summaries of these data were made publicly available today. Some highlights:

  • Americans reported 6.3 million individual surnames in 2010. Most of these—3.9 million or 62%–were reported only once. Why? Lots of unique surnames or unique variations of more common names.
  • There were 11 last names reported by more than one million individuals: Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Garcia, Miller, Davis, Rodriguez, Martinez, and Hernandez. Nearly 16 million Americans have one of these 11 last names.
  • Among the top 15 fastest-growing last names (2000-2010), all but one are predominantly Asian or Hispanic, reflecting the faster growth in these populations over the decade.

Last names vary significantly by race and ethnicity. “Most individual surnames do not reflect the diversity of the population as a whole,” writes Joshua Comenetz. “In many cases, over 90 percent of people reporting a name” are from a single race or ethnic group.

Among the top 10 surnames nationwide, the top five are dominated by white and black individuals, while three of the next five are predominantly Hispanic.


What does your last name look like? You can download the full file of names reported by 100 or more individuals here. As of 2010, I was one of 4,344 with the last name Tippett. It was the 7,644th most common last name, a slight decline in position from 2000 (#7,620).

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