What Are The Most Common Surnames In The World?

A surname is a family name that is added to a given name and is a part of a personal name. Your surname is the family name, you add to your first name. Surnames give us identification in the society. We are often known by our surnames in the social circle.

The Most Common Surnames In The World

Some surnames are unique in the world while others are so common that millions of people can be found with the same surname. In this article, we will explore, the most common surnames in the world, to know which one they are, read the article till the end.


Lee is the most commonly used surname in China, with almost 7.9 percent of the Chinese population comprising this as their last name.

the lee

Especially, for the Hakka Chinese, Li is the most common name. It is also interesting to share that Li is also a common surname for Koreans too but they use it with a different spelling as “Lee”. The same surname is shared in Vietnam with a different spelling as “Ly” by the Vietnamese.

Note: Collectively, these surnames with more than 100 million people make Li the most common surname in the world.


It is obvious that the Chinese population is the largest among the world’s population so the most common surnames will be the Chinese surname.

the Zhang

Another most shared Chinese family name is Zhang. In the 1990 edition of the Guinness Book of Records, Zhang was recorded as the world’s most common surname with over 100 million people across the world having this surname.

Also, in early 2006, in the People’s Republic of China by the Chinese Academy, it was ranked 3rd common surname. The history of use of this surname dates back to about four thousand years ago.



Wang is positioned as the most common surname is the mainland China with around 93 million people having this surname. Wang in English means “monarch” or “king”. Not just China, This surname is also used in some Non-Chinese countries such as Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.


Nguyễn is a Vietnamese family name and with about 36 million users it has achieved a rank in the most common surnames in the world.


It is estimated that 40 percent of the population of Vietnamese have this surname. In Vietnam, the prevalence of Nguyễn as a family name extends to outside of the country where many Vietnamese have dodged.

Note: In Australia, the 7th most common surname is Nguyễn and in France, it is the 54th most common surname. According to the 2000 Census, In the United States, it is the 57th most common surname as well as the most common exclusively Asian family name.


This family name is the most common around the Philippines, Spain, and the Americas. Most probably this name has its origin from Basque but this family name has several theories of origins and history.


It is the most shared family name by the people of Spain with around 3.5 percent of the population has owned this name. It is also the most shared surname in Cuba. It is estimated that around four million people in Mexico also share this name.

Note: It is worth reminding here that in the Latin world, González and Hernández share the rank with Garcia as the most common family names.


Originated in England, Smith is an English word. This family name is commonly shared by the people of US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Ireland.


Among the Irish people or English descent, it is a prevalent family name but it is also a common name among the people of America and Africa.

During the slavery era, many black slaves adopted this surname. In the US, more three million people have Smith as their surname and in the UK more than 5 million people have this family name.


In the old English language, Brown is the surname that describes a person having brown complexion, hair, and clothing.


Gradually, it became one of the most common surnames in many English speaking nations. In Scotland, Australia, Canada, England, and in the US, it is the most popular family name. Not just in these countries, you will also find this family name popular in Scotland too.



This surname was originated in England and Wales during the medieval period. In English, Will means desire and Helm means helmet or protection. With times, it became a popular name in Wales, along within US, New Zealand, and Australia.



Smirnov or Smirnova is the most common family name in Russia according to the 2002 population census. There is a variation is the name as Smirnoff or smyrnov, all of these names are derived from an adjective smirnyy which means gentle, quiet, still, meek.



Müller is a German word which means “Miller” (Miller is a profession). It is the most common last name in the Switzerland and Germany.

It is the fifth most common family name is Austria and the ranks first in the French departments Bas-Rhin and Moselle as the most common family name.


Sing is common Indian name which is used as a last or first name. Singh is originated from Sanskrit which means “lion”.


In India, some warrior castes adopted this word as their title, after that several Indian communities and castes adopted this as their family name.

Several variations of the family name Singh can be seen in the different communities of India such as Bengali use it as Shingho, In Marathi, it is used as Sinha, in Gujrati it is Sinhji, in Telugu it is as Simham, in Manipuri it is as Singha and in Burmese, it is as Siha. People with Singh surname are also found in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Canada.

Note: There are some other names in the list of the most common surnames in the world. You can also share with us in the comments section.

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