Thursday, May 4, 2017

100 Most Common Black American Surnames (Last Names) From the 2000 US Census

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Revised October 6, 2017]

This pancocojams post provides a list of 100 most common last names for Black people in the United States.

[Added October 6, 2017].
Addendum #1: presents an excerpt from a pdf entitled "Putting a Demographic Face on Names from Census 2000".

Addendum #2: presents a list of the 10 most common Black American surnames based on the US Census 2010.

The content of this post is presented for etymological information.

All copyrights remain with their owner.

Thanks to the compilers of this information.

Pancocojams Editor's Note:
This list and its accompanying statistical information is an adapted form of the chart that is found at That chart is entitled "Most common last names for Blacks in the U.S.".

Here is the beginning statement on that page:
"The following is a list of the most common surnames for people who self-identified as "Black" in America during the 2000 Census."
Hyperlinks for information about other Non-Hispanic names, a category for Hispanic names, and other demographic information is also found on that page.

In addition to the information given below, the complete chart includes a total of 1998 surnames, and also includes two additional categories: "Number of occurrences among people self-identifying as 'black'" and "U.S. total occurrences."

[Information given below [Adapted from the US Census Report as given on]

Surname rank among blacks

Name---rank for this population---% of people with surname self-identifying as 'Black' (African American) --- U.S. Rank

WILLIAMS: 1----46.7%---3

JOHNSON: 2----33.8%----2

SMITH: 3----22.2%---1

JONES: 4----37.7%---5

BROWN: 5----34.5%---4

JACKSON: 6----53.0%----18

DAVIS: 7----30.8%---7

THOMAS: 8----38.2%----14

HARRIS: 9----41.6%----24

ROBINSON: 10----44.1%----27

TAYLOR: 11----27.7%----13

WILSON: 12----25.3%----10

MOORE: 13----26.9%----16

WHITE: 14----27.4%----20

LEWIS: 15----33.8%----26

WALKER: 16----34.2%----28

GREEN: 17----36.2%----37

WASHINGTON: 18----89.9%----138

THOMPSON: 19----22.5%----19

ANDERSON: 20----18.1%----12

SCOTT: 21----32.3%----36

CARTER: 22----35.0%----46

WRIGHT: 23----27.4%----34

MILLER: 24----10.4%----6

HILL: 25----28.4%----41

ALLEN: 26----25.1%----32

MITCHELL: 27----31.5%----44

YOUNG: 28----23.8%----31

LEE: 29----17.4%----22

MARTIN: 30----15.3%----17

CLARK: 31----18.5%----25

TURNER 32----29.3%----49

HALL: 33----20.7%----30

KING: 34----22.0%----35

EDWARDS: 35----30.2%----53

COLEMAN: 36----43.8%----102

JAMES: 37----38.1%----80

EVANS: 38----25.0%----48

BELL: 39----31.8%----67

RICHARDSON: 40----32.8%----74

ADAMS: 41----19.2%----39

BROOKS: 42----32.7%----77

PARKER: 43----24.1%----51

JENKINS: 44----36.0%----95

STEWART 45----23.8%----54

HOWARD: 46----28.7%----70

CAMPBELL: 47----19.1%----43

SIMMONS: 48----35.3%----103

SANDERS: 49----31.9%----88

HENDERSON: 50----33.2%----101

COLLINS: 51----21.7%----52

COOPER: 52----25.3%----64

WATSON: 53----26.9%----76

BUTLER: 54----30.8%----98

ALEXANDER: 55----33.2%----111

BRYANT: 56----34.7%----120

NELSON: 57----14.9%----40

MORRIS: 58----19.3%----56

BARNES: 59----28.2%----99

JORDAN: 60----30.1%----105

REED: 61----22.0%----65

WOODS: 62----34.7%----133

DIXON: 63----38.2%----156

ROBERTS: 64----15.9%----45

GRAY: 65----24.4%----79

PHILLIPS: 66----16.4%; 47

GRIFFIN: 67; 29.8%; 114

BAKER: 68----13.6%----38

POWELL: 69----26.0%----91

BAILEY: 70----21.1%----66

FORD: 71----31.4%----124

HOLMES: 72----36.5%----161

BANKS: 73----54.2%----278

DANIELS: 74----37.8%----180

ROSS: 75----23.7%----89

ROGERS: 76----17.7%----61

PERRY: 77----24.4%----97

FOSTER: 78----23.2%----87

PATTERSON: 79----25.7%----104

HUNTER: 80----32.3%----153

OWENS: 81----27.9%----126

GRANT: 82----36.6%----192

MARSHALL: 83----26.4%----125

HENRY: 84----28.8%----142

MORGAN: 85----16.5%----62

PRICE: 86----19.8%----84

WALLACE: 87----23.7%----113

WARD: 88----17.8%----71

HAYES: 89----24.0%----117

BOYD: 90----29.9%----164

FREEMAN: 91----27.5%----140

GRAHAM: 92----22.7%----108

HAMILTON: 93----22.7%----107

FRANKLIN: 94----37.8%----236

HAWKINS: 95----32.1%----191

GORDON: 96----27.2%----151

SIMS: 97----39.1%----254

HARRISON: 98----23.8%----128

ELLIS: 99----22.6%----121

KELLY: 100----15.5%----69

From "Putting a Demographic Face on Names from Census 2000 : Demographic Aspects of Surnames from Census 2000" [by] David L. Word, Charles D. Coleman, Robert Nunziata and Robert Kominski
[page] 3
"Characteristics of surnames
Table A-1 shows the distribution of the top 50 last names in terms of numeric count, crosstabulated by Race/Hispanic origin. As Section 4.4.7 explains, race data in this analysis is constructed so that any person identified as Hispanic is placed in that classification, regardless of reported race. As such, race identification is used only for those persons who are not Hispanic.

As can be seen, many surnames have race/Hispanic distributions that appear to be quite distinct from the race/Hispanic distribution of the population as a whole. Especially in the case of the Hispanic population, which constitutes about 12 percent of the overall population in this study, it is clear that there are names which might be characterized as strongly “Hispanic” last names. In Table A1 this includes such names as GARCIA, RODRIQUEZ, MARTINEZ, HERNANDEZ, LOPEZ, GONZALEZ, and several others. Each of these surnames have race/Hispanic proportions which are over 90 percent Hispanic.

While other surnames have strong associations with specific race groups, none show the kind of strength in association as with these Hispanic-related names. The name MILLER, for example belongs about 86 percent of the time to persons classified as White, while Whites make up about 70 percent of this population. BAKER is another

[page] 4
surname with a higher-than average percentage of White ownership, at 82 percent.

Among Black persons there appear to be high-than-expected occurrences for names such

Large differentials for persons in the race categories of American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander and persons choosing two or more races, are less clear in the short list of the fifty highest occurring last names. For this reason, the list of the 1000 most frequently occurring last names was examined with a view toward identifying those last names that are held by the highest concentration of a single race/Hispanic group."...

from FREQUENTLY OCCURRING SURNAMES IN THE 2010 CENSUS by] Joshua Comenetz, October 2016

Table 1 outlines the national distribution of surnames by frequency in the United States in the 2010 Census. About 6.3 million different surnames were reported by census respondents in 2010. Of these, 11 were reported more than a million times each, while 3.9 million, or 61.9 percent, were reported only once: unique surnames or unique variations of more frequent names (including errors resulting from the transcription of names handwritten on census forms).

Surnames were recorded for 295 million people, or 95.5 percent of the population enumerated in the 2010 Census. This coverage is comparable to surname coverage in 2000 (95.9 percent of the population). All of the editing procedures applied to the 2010 Census surnames together affected about 7.7 million individual records, or 2.6% of the 295 million records that contained surnames.

The 50 most common surnames are summarized in Appendix Table A-1, which provides frequency, rank, and distribution by Hispanic origin and race groups. The Hispanic origin and race groups are the same as used in the 2000 product (Word et al., 2007). The top five surnames are the same in both years (SMITH, JOHNSON, WILLIAMS, BROWN, JONES). Below the top five, the most notable change from 2000 to 2010 is the increasing prominence of predominantly Hispanic surnames. In 2000, the top 50 contained 10 surnames that were at least 90 percent Hispanic, and the top-ranked Hispanic surname (GARCIA) was ranked 8. In 2010, 12 of the top 50 were at least 90 percent Hispanic, and GARCIA was ranked 6.

[Note] 1
In the rest of this document, Black is used interchangeably with Non-Hispanic Black or African American Alone; Hispanic is used interchangeably with Hispanic or Latino origin; Asian and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander is used interchangeably with Non-Hispanic Asian and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Alone.


The next two tables look only at the 1,000 most frequent surnames. Table 2 shows the 10 names with the highest shares of identification with each Hispanic origin or race group—for example, 87.5 percent of people with the name WASHINGTON identified themselves as Black. There is little overlap among the six lists, highlighting the degree to which surnames vary among racial and ethnic groups in the United States."


Table 2. Top 1,000 surnames with the largest share in [this racial group]*



WASHINGTON ---145 ---177,386 ---60.1 ---87.5
JEFFERSON ---615 ----55,179 ---18.7 ---74.2
BOOKER ---941 ----36,840 ---12.5 ---65.2
BANKS ----292 ---105,833 ---35.9 ---54.5
JOSEPH ----313 ---100,959--- 34.2 ---54.2
MOSLEY ----730 ---47,963 ---16.3 ---53.2
JACKSON ----19 ---708,099 ---240.1 ---53.0
CHARLES ----548 ----61,211 ----20.8--- 53.0
DORSEY ----793 ----43,631 ---14.8 ---52.2
RIVERS ----897 ----38,662--- 13.1--- 50.9
*That pdf also includes charts for other racial groups (non-Hispanic/Latino) and for Hispanic/Latino.

In addition, that pdf's Appendix provides a table entitled "Top 50 surnames: 2010". That table provides a break down based on race (non-Hispanic/Latino) and Hispanic/ Latino. However, it's not as easy for me to read as the form used for the US Census 2000 lists that are found in

Compare that chart with the one below of the top ten surnames in the United States based on the US Census (2010)

Name-----Number Of Occurences
Johnson ----1,857,160

Click for a related pancocojams post entitled "50 Most Common African American Surnames (Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (1992-2001)"

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Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I decided to publish this adapted "chart" about surname rankings in the United States after publishing a pancocojams post about Elmore James' Blues song "The Sky Is Crying"*. That post also features a cover of that song by Etta James (no relation to Elmore James). Actually, Elmore James' last name is a stage name and Etta James' name was formed by her first name "Jamesetta".

    However, my curiosity about whether the last name "James" was more common among Black Americans than other Americans resulted in this pancocojams post on 100 most common Black American surnames. (As noted in that chart, the last name "James" ranks as #30 among Black Americans and #80 among the total number of Americans.)

    Here's the link for that pancocojams post about Elmore James' "The Sky Is Crying":