Common American Surnames
n the whole, in two centuries,
the most common names in the United States have not changed all that much.
Smith is still the best name for signing into a hotel anonymously. Johnson
has moved up a notch to second. And the top five at the turn of the
18th century are still in the top six.
Thirty-six of the original top fifty were still on the list more than two centuries later.
Of the Fourteen that fell from the list, nine (Stewart, Rogers, Reed, Cook, Bailey,
Richardson, Bennett, Foster, and Russell) were still in the top 100 while just five
(Cole, Stevens, Stone, Pierce, and Wheeler) fell further. Notice the rise of
eight Latino names into the top 50.
The biggest decline in popularity was the once popular Wheeler which fell from forty-fifth
to 208th in ranking. Another notable decline can be seen
with the name of Clark, once sixth most common, now merely twenty-first. My
guess is that the Wheelers and Clarks of the country either produced a lot of daughters
or else chose prosperity over posterity and had few children.
But change did occur. Eight Latino names (isn’t it peculiar that Latino refers to
Spanish-speaking people outside of Spain instead of Italians living in Rome?) were
so common in the homelands that, with the continuous influx of immigrants, they
became common in the U.S, too. As can be seen in the table below, Latino
names like Garcia, Rodriguez and Martinez have surpassed such starkly colonial
names as Hall, Allen and Lewis in the census-kind of like the taco becoming more
popular than the hot dog.
50 Most Common Surnames in the United States
||No. per 10,000
||No. per 10,000