Vol. 65 No. 3 (2017)

A Note on the 25 Most Frequent Surnames from the 2000 United States Census Bureau List

Published 2017-07-03


This note uses the United States Census Bureau database of the 1,000 most frequent surnames from the US census of 2000. It discusses briefly the meaning and origin of the notion of surname. It provides a table of the 25 most frequent surnames in the US from the 2000 census data, including number of people with the surname, and its meaning. This article provides the reader with three useful onomastic research tools for surnames: (1) The US Census Bureau’s list of the 1,000 most frequently occurring surnames for 2000; (2) Patrick Hanks’ Dictionary of American Surnames; and (3) the National Geographic interactive surname list.


  1. Hanks, Patrick, Ed. 2003. Dictionary of American Family Names. 3 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Humes, Karen R., Nicholas A. Jones, and Roberto R. Ramíreez. 2011. “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010.” Accessed August 10, 2016. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf
  3. Morris, William, Ed. 1979. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  4. National Geographic Surname Map. 2011. Accessed August 11, 2016. https://blog.richmond.edu/geog250/2011/04/28/national-geographic-surname-map/
  5. Pew Research Center. 2015. “Projected U.S. Population by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2015-2065, with and without Immigrants Entering.” Accessed August 16, 2016. http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/28/modern-immigration-wave-brings-59-million-to-u-s-driving-population-growth-and-change-through-2065/ph_2015-09-28_immigration-through-2065-a2-06/
  6. United States Census Bureau. 2014. Last Revised 15 September 2014. Accessed August 8, 2016. http://www.census.gov/topics/population/genealogy/data/2000_surnames.html
  7. Word David L., Charles D. Coleman, Robert Nunziata, and Robert Kominski. 2016. “Demographic Aspects of Surnames from Census 2000.” Accessed August 8, 2016. https://www2.census.gov/topics/genealogy/2000surnames/surnames.pdf
  8. American Last Names. 2016. “Why is There Still No 2010 Census Surnames Data Available?” Accessed August 8, 2016. http://www.americanlastnames.us/why-there-is-no-2010-Census-surnames-data-available.html