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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Think you have a popular last name? A new study found that most Americans have one of six last names, almost regardless of where they live.
In the study, Ancestry.com reviewed telephone directory listings from across the country to determine the three most popular surnames in each state. The company found that Smith is by far the most common.
In fact, Smith only managed to land in the top three last names in just five states: California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Dakota.
Smith was an occupational name, meaning a worker who specialized in metal as a blacksmith or farrier, according to its English and Scottish roots, Ancestry explains. As of 2004, the average life expectancy for people with the surname Smith was 73 years, compared to the national average of 74.
Other popular surnames included Johnson, Miller, Jones, Williams and Anderson.
Regionally, Ancestry found a handful of differences. For example, Andersons are more common in the Northwest—states like Washington, Idaho, Utah, and into the Dakotas—than elsewhere in the country.
Miller is most commonly found in the Midwest and Appalachian Mountain regions—Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Kansas—while Garcia is popular in southwestern states such as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.
The interactive map below shows the most common surname in each state, according to Ancestry:
Hawaii was the only state where the surnames Lee, Wong and Kim were the most popular. California also had two names — Hernandez and Lopez — that no other state had in its top three.
These names were among the most common in just one state:
- Sullivan: Massachusetts
- Nelson: Minnesota
- Chavez: New Mexico
- Olson: North Dakota
You can see Ancestry’s full report here, as well as the meanings and origins behind many common surnames.