GEOGRAPHICAL VARIATIONS OF LAST NAMES IN THE U.S.: PART I
During the next few weeks, we will look at last names that vary
substantially in frequency (relative to population) around the
United States. Some of these last names are 5 to 10 times more common
(per million people) in some states than others (with a few being
100 or more times more common in some states).
Even among some of the top 10 last names in the United States (Smith,
Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown, Davis, Miller, Wilson, Moore and
Taylor, based on the 1990 U.S. Census) there is a lot of geographical
variation. This variation becomes greater with names that are less
These statistics are based on Internet (white-page) phone directories.
While the percentage of people with a certain last name will vary
slightly from the percentage of directory entries for a certain last
name, the state vs. state variations should correspond closely.
Johnson is most common in the Upper Midwest (exceeding 2% of all
surnames in Minnesota and North Dakota).
(National average: 7988 per million)
2. North Dakota
3. South Dakota
47. West Virginia
50. New Mexico
Williams is most common in the Southeast and least common in the
(National average: 6193 per million)
4. South Carolina
47. New Hampshire
48. New Mexico
50. North Dakota
Note: The District of Columbia would rank #2 if it were a state
with 8905 surnames per million being Williams.
Due to heavy immigration of Germans in the early days of the Midwest
(especially the Upper Midwest), the last name of Schmidt is strongly
represented in that part of the U.S. (and rare in the Southeast).
(National average: 751 per million)
1. North Dakota
3. South Dakota
46. South Carolina
47. West Virginia
Note: The District of Columbia would rank #48 if it were a state
with only 188 surnames per million being Schmidt.
The frequency of this predominantly African-American last name
is closely related to the percentage of the population being
(National average: 535 per million)
2. South Carolina
48. South Dakota
49. North Dakota
50. New Hampshire
Note: The District of Columbia would rank #1 if it were a state
with 2323 surnames per million being Washington.
This is one of the names with the most skewed distribution. While
it is a very rare surname across most of the country, this Swedish
name is found occasionally in parts of the Upper Midwest and the
(National average: 32 per million)
1. South Dakota
3. North Dakota
45. New Jersey
50. West Virginia
The Hatfield-McCoy feuds happened in Kentucky, the state with the
second highest per capita number of Hatfields (and also the second
highest per capita number of McCoys). West Virginia ranks #1 for
both names per capita, and both names have a strong Appalachian and
(Lower) Midwestern distribution. The Hatfields win in the skewness
department with about 4 times the state-by-state variation that
the McCoys have.
(National average: 156 per million)
1. West Virginia
47. South Dakota
48. North Dakota
49. New Jersey
Note: The District of Columbia would rank #50 if it were a state
with only 42 surnames per million being Hatfield.
Return to the bonus lists, to the chapters of the book or choose from...
Any questions about the website or specifically for Brandt? Please send them here.
Copyright ©2006 Brandt Maxwell.