It is very interesting to trace the history of a surname. Your surname can really tell you a lot about your origin, or where you're from, and what was your family occupation in the days of old. Now, a sizable chunk of the world population has been using surnames to tell the people a bit more about themselves for years.
Surnames may be occupational (Smith), can be related to the native places (De Lugo), and can even be descriptive (White?). Some people choose to take their father's/mother's first names as their surnames (Martinez; son of Martin). Either way, a surname can tell you so much about yourself! Therefore, just take a look at some of the most common last names.
Most Popular Last Names
This must be one of the more dynamic statistics! Because some people with a particular surname may grow faster over a period of time, there can never really be one surname, which is the most common last name ever.
Or can there? An exception to the rule is perhaps anyone (and there are a lot of them) named Chang/Zhang. Whether in China or anywhere else in the world, Chang is considered the ultimate ruler among the last names in the world.
Chang is predominantly a Chinese surname and given their large population and ever-growing diaspora, it isn't too hard to surmise that the others would be topped by a Chinese surname.
The United States too has thrown up the most common surname for a fairly long time. As far as my knowledge goes, Smith has been topping the charts in America since 1990. Mr. Smith is also the most common in England, Australia, Scotland, and also comes in second in Canada. Take a bow, Mr Smith!
The top 10 most common surnames in the US as per the 2000 census are:
Most Popular Last Names by Country
Now let us look at other countries.
- China ~ Wang, Li, Chang
- Belgium ~ Peeters, Janssens, Maes
- France ~ Martin, Bernard, Dubois
- Germany ~ Muller, Schmidt (a variation of Smith!), Schneider
- Italy ~ Rossi, Russo, Ferrari (what are the odds? Not too hard to find a 'Ferrari' in Italy is it!)
- Norway ~ Hansen, Johansen, Olsen
- Russia ~ Smirnov, Ivanov, Kuznetsov (women have '-a' added to their surname, i.e. Smirnova, Ivanova, Kuznetsova, so the statistic includes both male and female surnames)
- Spain ~ Garcia, Fernandez, Gonzales
- Australia ~ Smith, Jones, Williams
- United Kingdom ~ Smith, Jones, Taylor
- Canada ~ Li, Smith, Lam
As you can see, the award for the most common last name has remained with one surname for quite a while now, but still remains subject to change all the time! So is your last name one of the list?