Baker Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

In this article we'll look at the origin and meaning of the surname Baker 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 Baker.

Baker, 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 Baker surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Baker derives from the Old English (pre-7th century) word boeccure. It is a purely occupational name that derives from several different but related professions. In its early origins, it denoted an official who was in charge of the ovens in a monastery or castle.

Baker was also a name given to the keeper of a communal kitchen. This was often the only way that the common people would be able to bake bread and other foods as most households lacked a kitchen. It was an important and lucrative role that was often held by someone of feudal influence. It is due to this that the Baker name is listed 42 times in the “Dictionary of National Biography."

The Baker name is also associated with the non-food related profession of pottery. Those who tended the kiln would also be referred to as bakers. It was common practice that those involved in a baking profession would add “the Baker” to their given name as an identifier. The name would also pass down to any son who entered the same profession. It would then pass to successive generations regardless of their chosen profession creating the family name.

In 1177 William le Bakere was found in the “Pipe Rolls of Norfolk.” This is one of the first recordings of the spelling of this family name.

Sir Samuel White Baker, (8 June 1821 – 30 December 1893) was a British explorer and hunter who was an associate of the African explorers Stanley and Livingston. Baker began his exploration of Africa in 1861 with the aim of finding the source of the Nile. A proud Englishman, Sir Samuel was also staunch in his disapproval of slavery.

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

According to the data, Baker is ranked #44 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Baker surname appeared 419,586 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 142.24 would have the surname Baker.

We can also compare 2010 data for Baker 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 44 38 14.63%
Count 419,586 413,351 1.50%
Proportion per 100k 142.24 153.23 -7.44%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Baker

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

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 Baker was:

  • 79.83%, or 334,956 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 14.44%, or 60,588 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.56%, or 2,350 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.87%, or 3,650 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.02%, or 8,476 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.28%, or 9,567 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 Baker has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 79.83% 82.08% -2.78%
Black 14.44% 13.63% 5.77%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.56% 0.45% 21.78%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.87% 0.83% 4.71%
Two or More Races 2.02% 1.54% 26.97%
Hispanic 2.28% 1.47% 43.20%

Data Source(s)

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

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