Anderson Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

In this article we'll look at the origin and meaning of the surname Anderson and how popular it is in the United States. We'll also look at the race and ethnic origin of people in the United States who are named Anderson.

Anderson, like all of the names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Anderson surname is from the 2010 census data.

Unlocking Your Past (On Sale!)

Discover the untold stories of your family and feel the heartwarming connection to your ancestors.

My new eBook is a comprehensive guide to family history research that helps you turn the complex task of tracing your family tree into a manageable and rewarding journey.

Experience the joy of piecing together the puzzle using historical records, online tools, and DNA research and the pride of preserving these stories for future generations of your family!

Buy Now (50% Discount) →

What is the Origin and Meaning of the Last Name Anderson?

The surname Anderson is a patronymic name that derives from the given names Anders or Andrew. Naming tradition in Scandinavia and in Scotland, likely from early Viking settlers, caused the creation of surnames that essentially meant “son of Anders or Andrew." Both of these names derive from the Greek name Andreas which means “strong or manly.”

Scotland’s patron saint is the apostle Andrew which is likely a big reason that as a given name Andrew is very popular in the country. As naming practices became more common this resulted in the popularity of the Anderson name.

The Anderson name was widely recorded in Scottish records during the 13th century but didn’t become officially established as a clan until the 16th century. Large concentrations of Andersons seem to originate from the Northwest of Scotland although the family name is found throughout the country.

As with Scotland’s Andrew, Anders historically was a popular given name in Sweden. This is likely also due to St. Andrew. The Swedish naming practices led to the creation of the slightly differently spelled surname Andersson.

Although Scotland and Sweden have likely produced a sizable portion of the world's Anderson families, there are other European countries such as Germany and Denmark with similar naming practices. Versions of the name Andrew are also found in most Christian countries.

Henry Anderson (1545-1605) was a notable bearer of the name. Anderson was an English politician who represented Newcastle upon-tyne in the parliamentary house of commons. This was a post that his father Bertram also held before him.

Where Does Anderson Rank in the Most Common U.S. Names?

According to the data, Anderson is ranked #15 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Anderson surname appeared 784,404 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 265.92 would have the surname Anderson.

We can also compare 2010 data for Anderson to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 15 12 22.22%
Count 784,404 762,394 2.85%
Proportion per 100k 265.92 282.62 -6.09%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Anderson

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Anderson.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups: "White only", "Black only", "American Indian and Alaskan Native only", "Asian and Pacific Islander only", "Two or More Races", and "Hispanic".

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Anderson was:

  • 75.17%, or 589,636 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 18.93%, or 148,488 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.61%, or 4,785 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.74%, or 5,805 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.11%, or 16,551 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.44%, or 19,139 total occurrences, were "Hispanic Origin".

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Anderson has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 75.17% 77.60% -3.18%
Black 18.93% 18.06% 4.70%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.61% 0.48% 23.85%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.74% 0.70% 5.56%
Two or More Races 2.11% 1.59% 28.11%
Hispanic 2.44% 1.58% 42.79%

Data Source(s)

All of the data on this page is sourced from the Decennial Census survey, from the United States Census Bureau.

Link To or Reference This Page

We spent a lot of time downloading, cleaning, merging, and formatting the data that is shown on the site.

If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

  • "Anderson Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". Accessed on February 29, 2024.

  • "Anderson Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin"., Accessed 29 February, 2024

  • Anderson Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from