Ages ago, people didn’t have last names (often referred to as surnames). And it wasn’t until the Middle Ages when surnames started to come out and usually, people were recognized by their skilled trade and therefore, the skilled trade were applied to a person’s last name. If you’ve watched “Back To The Future”, then you will know that almost every village has a ‘smith’. Blacksmiths were the ones who produced horse-shoes, swords, and armor. This professions were respected by the community, which is why the name is widely used. 

With the US occupying 3.8 million square miles and over 324 million people, the US is the world’s third largest country in terms of population (behind China and India). As one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations in the world, the US is best known as the land of the free. Everyone is unique in their own way, but when it comes to surnames, many people share the same.

Recently, the U.S. Census Bureau released a list of the most common surnames in the America. Here are the top 10 most common.


As the most popular surname, Smith has come a long way. It was once meant “the metal worker”. There’s estimated 2.5 million individual’s with this last name and is the most popular in 45 states of 50 States (excluding California, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, and North Dakota.)

Famous People:  Will Smith (Actor), Aaron Smith (Musician), Floyd Smith (Musician), Ken Smith (sports announcer)


In the Europe, the surname Johnson is actually taken from the personal name, John (Jon or Jonathan). The name “Johnson” started to migrate to the States in the year of 1850, and today, there are over 2 million people with the surname. Johnson is one of the most popular surnames in 44 states (excluding South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, New Mexico and California.)

Famous People: Dwayne Johnson (Actor, also known as The Rock), Andrew Johnson (the 17th president of the United States), Beverly Johnson (Fashion model), Randy Johnson (MLB pitcher), Jack Johnson (singer)


There are more than 1.7 million Williams in the States. Williams is also common name in Great Britain and Wales. It is one of the most popular last names in 16 states across the country including Alabama, Alaska, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, and others.

Famous People: Tyler James Williams (Rapper and actor), Vanessa Williams (Actress and singer), Wendy Williams (Television personality), Robin Williams (Actor), 


In the U.K. and Wales, the surname Jones originally came from John. In the U.S., Jones has come a long way, taken from like-sounding last names from other languages. And today, there are more than 1.5 million people with the last name in the US. Jones is one of the most popular surnames in following states: Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Famous People: Grace Jones (Model, singer, and actress), January Jones (Actress), Norah Jones (Musician), Bob Jones (golfer), Alex Jones (broadcaster), John Jones (fighter), Adam Jones (MLB player)


This last name was generally used to describe someone’s hair back in the day. It comes from Old English Brun and Old French Brun in Europe. In America, there are more than 1.5 million people with this surname. Brown is exceptionally common in numerous states including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Vermont.

Famous People: Chris Brown (Singer), Antonio Brown (Football Player), Bill Brown (Author)


There are 1.2 million people with the surname Davis in the States. And you are right, this name originally comes from David. According to the immigration records, there were more than 400,000 Davis came from various places to America in 1851.

Famous People: Dan Davis (Actor), Jan Davis (Astronaut), Kristin Davis (Actress)


Just like Smith, Miller is also a name of an occupation. This surname is similar to those in European languages such as Moulin, Dumoulin, Demoulins, and Meunier in French, Molenaar in Dutch, Mueller in German, and Moulinero in Spanish. There are more than 1 million people with the surname in America. Miller is one of the most popular surnames in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

Famous People: Jarrell Miller (Kickboxer), Lawrence G. Miller (Politician), Nicole Miller (Fashion designer)


Almost 600,000 Wilsons migrated to the States in the year of 1851, and today, there are more than 850,000 Wilson in the country. It is not a name borrowed from occupation, but a short form of William.

Famous People: Bob Wilson (NBA player), Bridgette Wilson (Actress), Owen Wilson (Actor)


In old English, the name means “area of uncultivated land”. In the Middle Ages, the Brits used the term to describe or nickname someone who has darker skin. Today, there are almost 780,000 people have the same last name in America.

Famous People: Julianne Moore (Actress), Jason Moore (Football player), Mandy Moore (Singer)


Yet another occupational name on the list. Originally tailor, and tailleur in the old French, this name is very common in some European countries such as England and Ireland. There are more than 770,000 Taylor across America today.

Famous People: Fred Taylor (American football player), Liz Taylor (Actress), Jack Taylor (Founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car)