Sunday, February 19, 2012

10 of the Most Common Surnames in the World

A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Some surnames are rare, and the others are so common that their population can be measured by millions. This is a list of some of the most common surnames in the world.

1. Li or Lee - More Than 100 Million People
Sang Lee, Korean-American creationist scholar  photo source
It is a widespread surname in China, with about 7.9 percent of the Chinese population possessing this family name. Li is the most common surname for the Hakka Chinese. A Korean surname that uses the same Chinese character, which is often romanized as Lee, is the second most common Korean surname, after Kim. Both the Korean family name Lee and the Vietnamese family name was derived from the same Chinese character as the Chinese surname. Taken collectively, these surnames make Li the most common surname in the world.

2. Zhang - More Than 100 Million People
Zhāng Yíníng, Chinese table tennis player  photo source
Zhang is among the most common Chinese surnames. In the 1990 edition of Guinness Book of Records, it was listed as the world's most common surname, with over 100 million people worldwide with this surname. It was also ranked third in the People's Republic of China by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in early 2006. The use of this surname dates back to about 4,000 years ago.

3. Wang - More Than 93 Million People
Wang Chien-Ming, baseball player  photo source
Wang is a Chinese family name and one of the most common surnames in the world. Wang is ranked as the most common surname in mainland China, with 92.88 million people bearing this surname. Translated into English, Wang literally means "king" or "monarch". The Wang surname is also used in some non-Chinese speaking countries, including Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.

4. Nguyễn - More Than 36 Million People
Quynh Nguyen, classical pianist  photo source
Nguyễn is the most common Vietnamese family name. By some estimates, approximately 40 percent of Vietnamese have this surname. The prevalence of Nguyễn as a family name in Vietnam extends to outside of the country where many Vietnamese have emigrated. Nguyễn is the 7th most common family name in Australia, and the 54th most common in France. In the United States, it is the 57th most common family name according to the 2000 Census, as well as the most common exclusively Asian surname.

5. García - More Than 10 Million People
Pablo Marcano García, Puerto Rican painter  photo source
García is a surname common throughout the Americas, the Philippines and Spain. There are several theories about its origin and history, but it is probably of Basque origin. The meaning points to the descriptive adjective 'the young'. García is the most common surname in Spain (where 3.32% of population is named García) and also the second most common surname in Cuba. 4.1 million people in Mexico has the last name Garcia.

6. González - More Than 10 Million People
Scheila Gonzalez, American jazz saxophone player  photo source
González is a family name that originated in Spain. In Spain, it is the second most common surname (only after García) with 2.08% of the population bearing the surname. It's also very popular in Latin America, being the most common one in countries like Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Paraguay, and thus making it the most popular surname in the Spanish speaking world. Within the United States, it is ranked as the 23rd most common surname.

7. Hernández - More Than 8 Million People
  Peter Hernández, Puerto Rican-American singer (commonly known by his stage name of Bruno Mars)  photo source
Hernández is a Spanish and Portuguese surname that came into common use around the 15th century. Originally a patronymic (a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor), it means son of Hernán or sometimes son of the traveler. This surname occurs mostly in Mexico, USA, Chile, Spain, Cuba...

8. Smith - More Than 4 Million People
Adrian D. Smith, an American architect who has designed skyscrapers including the Burj Khalifa, Jin Mao Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower.  photo source  
Smith is an English family name (surname) originating in England. It is the most common surname in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, the second most common surname in Canada, and the fifth most common surname in Ireland. The surname Smith is particularly prevalent among those of English and Irish descent, but is also a common surname among African Americans, which can be attributed to black slaves adopting the name during the era of slavery and after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. At least 3 million people in the United States share the surname Smith, and more than 500,000 people share it in the United Kingdom.

9. Smirnov - More Than 2.5 Million People
Stanislav Smirnov, mathematician  photo source
According to the 2002 population census, Smirnov (masculine) or Smirnova (feminine) is the most common surname in Russia. Variants of transliteration: Smirnoff or Smyrnov. Derived from an adjective smirnyy, that means "quiet, still, meek, gentle".

10. Müller - More Than Million People
Patrick Müller, Swiss footballer  photo source
The German word Müller means "miller" (as a profession). It is the most common family surname in Germany and Switzerland, the fifth most common surname in Austria and the first most common surname in the French départements Bas-Rhin and Moselle (with the spelling Müller or Muller). Other forms are "Miller" (mainly Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and "Möller" (Northern and Central Germany and The Netherlands). Of the various family crests that exist, many incorporate milling iconography, such as windmills or watermill wheels.
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  1. Its a incomplete list.
    The surname "Silva" from Brazil and Portugal has more than 20 million people.

    1. It' s not necessary to count, it's pretty obvious. Do you live in Brazil Nacho?

  2. This is a list of "10 of the Most Common Surnames in the World", not of "10 Most Common Surnames in the World".

  3. I want to add the origin of Gonzalez and Hernandez.

    A long time ago there were no surnames so that "George Gonzalez" ment "George, the son of Gonzalo", and the same with Hernandez son of Hernán.

    Nice list

  4. For #10 how about adding an a between than and million

  5. Ever heard of Patel?

  6. I want to add some information about what Jorge said:

    In Spain we have a lot of surnames ending with "-ez", as González, Vázquez, Fernández, Rodríguez, López...
    Long time ago, "-ez" meant "son of", so now most of our population has that kind of surname.

    Hope you find it useful!! (:

  7. Did you people not consider the subcontinent of INDIA?

  8. huh? Muller a million people... .try indian surnames... singh, sharma, das, bose, patel... you will find a million people sharing these names EASILY!


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