I'll take Popular Surnames for Two Hundred, Alex

Some interesting statistics from the Census Bureau:

The most popular surname in the world is Lee, including all its variations, like "Li."

More people in the U.S. carry the surname Smith than any other, a longstanding statistic. And that doesn't include all the variations (no Smithes, Smyths, or Schmidts).

More than 7 million Americans have one of the following surnames: Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller or Davis.

Moore and Taylor are out of the top 10, replaced by Garcia and Rodriguez. Martinez is rapidly gaining on the 10th place finisher, Wilson.

About one in five Smiths are black, as are about one in three Johnsons, Browns, and Joneses and nearly half the people named Williams. Smith is my mother's maiden name, Williams is my mother-in-law's maiden name. I've known plenty of white Smiths (I think a lot of them used to be Schmidt, Schmitt, or Schmitz until after the end of World War I), but just a few white Williamses. Johnsons and Joneses go either way, in my experience. But I've noticed that a whole lot of black folks carry colorful surnames like Brown or Browne, White, Green or Greene, or Blue, but I don't recall meeting anyone black named Black (all the Blacks I've encountered are white).

Nearly 90 percent of the Washingtons were black, as were 75 percent of the Jeffersons, 66 percent of the Bookers, 54 percent of the Banks and 53 percent of the Mosleys. I don't recall encountering any Jeffersons or Bankses, and I've known Mosleys of both races, but when I reaed this I realized that virtually every person I've met named Booker and Washington (and even people I don't know personally, like actors Denzel and Kerry) has been black.

Something else I noticed: People named Easter or Christmas tend to be black. On the other hand, anyone might be named Valentine.

Do you have any observations on last names to share?

4 comments:

Shelia said...

I don't have any stats on the subject but I can say that I know some Jones, Smiths, Williams and Johnsons. I'm related to some :)

bettye griffin said...

Shelia,
Aren't we all!

Gwyneth Bolton said...

I don't think I've met any white folk with the last name Lee. But I've met some blacks and many Asians. Interesting stats. Are you doing research for a book?

Gwyneth

bettye griffin said...

Gwyneth,
Good point. I'll bet there are more black folks who took the name "Lee" from Robert E. Lee of Virginia than there are actual Lee descendants.

No, I'm not researching; I'm just an Internet junkie and am always looking for interesting tidbits. I've gotten numerous book ideas from doing ths.