Home Census US sees rise in Latino surnames

US sees rise in Latino surnames

Actor Andy Garcia, right, with actor Edward James Olmos at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival in Hollywood, California on June 5 (© Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images)

There are now more Garcias in the United States than there are Millers or Davis.

Changes in common surnames in America reflect the growing diversity of the country. The big names in the United States are Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown and Jones. But Latino names now occupy three spots on the US Census Bureau top 10 surnames. Garcia is the sixth most common surname. Rodriguez ranks 9th and Martinez, 10th.

“We are becoming a much more racially diverse country, especially among the younger population,” said William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution and author of the book. Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America.

Seated woman surrounded by people standing, right hand raised (© Wilfredo Lee/AP Images)
Liz J. Cruz, left, watches her daughter, Anelys Rodriguez, 11, take the oath to become a US citizen in Biscayne National Park, Florida in 2018. (© Wilfredo Lee/AP Images)

Between the 2000 and 2010 national censuses, Vazquez and Velazquez were among the fastest growing surnames. Bautista, a Spanish name also popular in the Philippines, is another name on the fast-growing list, according to the Census Bureau. (The 2020 census analysis has been delayed by the pandemic. Experts expect the rise in Hispanic/Latino names to continue.)


Most of the increase in these names is due to population gains. Hispanics make up 18.5% of the population, down from 13% in 2000.

In recent decades, population growth due to immigration has tended to come more from Hispanics and people of Asian descent than from those of European ancestry, Frey says. Generally higher birth rates among Hispanics and people of Asian descent than among whites mean that the younger generation, in particular, is more diverse. This generation will also continue to be, as there is a smaller proportion of white women of childbearing age, according to Frey.

The surge of working-age immigrants is helping boost the labor force and means more workers can support seniors through Social Security and Medicare payroll deductions, he says.

“We have a young population that adds energy to our workforce,” says Frey. “They are children and grandchildren of immigrants. This means they are more globally oriented. This will help them to be open and receptive to the global connections we need.


Peter A. Morrison, a former Rand demographer and now director of Morrison & Associates, says immigrants and the diverse populations that came from them are part of American history.

Morrison says that while the origins of Americans change, there is a common theme in the stories of many Americans: they or their ancestors had “ambitions to leave their place of origin and seek a better life elsewhere.”

Moreover, says Secretary of State Antony Blinkentoday’s more than 60 million Hispanic Americans “strengthen our nation every day”.