The most common surname in each UK province

London, the South East and the East of England have greater surname heterogeneity than the rest of the United Kingdom. Big urban areas attract foreign and domestic migration and produce a large and ethnically diverse society, with high population mixing, and consequently form a higher diversity of surnames.

Areas with a lower level of surname heterogeneity include Northern Ireland, Scotland and, especially, Wales. Parts of these regions are highly rural, have smaller populations, and present significant natural obstacles to demographic and cultural interaction. Over time this has produced a lower diversity in their surname pool.

The most common surname in Scotland
The most common surname in England and Wales

The predominance of the most prevalent surnames has not changed between 1881 and 2001. Over time the overall number of various surnames has increased although the rank ordering of the most widespread has remained almost static.

Top 20 most common surnames by country (figures in parentheses are percentages)

England

  1. Smith (1.26)
  2. Jones (0.75)
  3. Taylor (0.59)
  4. Brown (0.56)
  5. Williams (0.39)
  6. Wilson (0.39)
  7. Johnson (0.37)
  8. Davies (0.34)
  9. Robinson (0.32)
  10. Wright (0.32)
  11. Thompson (0.31)
  12. Evans (0.30)
  13. Walker (0.30)
  14. White (0.30)
  15. Roberts (0.28)
  16. Green (0.28)
  17. Hall (0.28)
  18. Wood (0.27)
  19. Jackson (0.27)
  20. Clarke (0.26)

Northern Ireland

  1. Wilson (0.75)
  2. Campbell (0.75)
  3. Kelly (0.74)
  4. Johnston (0.69)
  5. Moore (0.62)
  6. Thompson (0.61)
  7. Smyth (0.60)
  8. Brown (0.59)
  9. O’Neill (0.57)
  10. Doherty (0.54)
  11. Stewart (0.54)
  12. Quinn (0.51)
  13. Robinson (0.50)
  14. Murphy (0.49)
  15. Graham (0.48)
  16. Martin (0.45)
  17. McLaughlin (0.45)
  18. Hamilton (0.44)
  19. Murray (0.43)
  20. Hughes (0.41)

Wales

  1. Jones (5.75)
  2. Williams (3.72)
  3. Davies (3.72)
  4. Evans (2.47)
  5. Thomas (2.43)
  6. Roberts (1.53)
  7. Lewis (1.53)
  8. Hughes (1.23)
  9. Morgan (1.16)
  10. Griffiths (0.96)
  11. Edwards (0.93)
  12. Smith (0.85)
  13. James (0.82)
  14. Rees (0.81)
  15. Jenkins (0.69)
  16. Owen (0.67)
  17. Price (0.67)
  18. Phillips (0.65)
  19. Morris (0.63)
  20. Richards (0.55)

Scotland

  1. Smith (1.28)
  2. Brown (0.94)
  3. Wilson (0.89)
  4. Robertson (0.78)
  5. Thomson (0.78)
  6. Campbell (0.77)
  7. Stewart (0.73)
  8. Anderson (0.70)
  9. Scott (0.55)
  10. Murray (0.53)
  11. MacDonald (0.52)
  12. Reid (0.52)
  13. Taylor (0.49)
  14. Clark (0.47)
  15. Ross (0.43)
  16. Young (0.42)
  17. Mitchell (0.41)
  18. Watson (0.41)
  19. Paterson (0.40)
  20. Morrison (0.40)

Fiona McElduff, Pablo Mateos, Angie Wade, Mario Cortina Borja

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