Boston last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Boston is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Boston.

Meaning of Boston

A toponymic surname referring to someone who lived in or came from the town of Boston, England.

Boston, like all of the last 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 Boston surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Boston in America

Boston is the 2309th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Boston surname appeared 15,814 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 5 people would have the surname Boston.

We can also compare 2010 data for Boston 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 2309 2223 3.80%
Count 15,814 15,003 5.26%
Proportion per 100k 5.36 5.56 -3.66%

The history of the last name Boston

The surname Boston originated in England, with records dating back to the 13th century. It is believed to be a locational name derived from the city of Boston in Lincolnshire, which itself takes its name from the River Witham, formerly known as the Botten or Bothen, meaning "the deep tidal river."

One of the earliest known references to the surname Boston appears in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1273, where a person named Robert de Boston is mentioned. The name is also found in various medieval manuscripts, including the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire in 1347, which mentions a Thomas de Boston.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, the surname Boston appeared in various spellings, such as Bostone, Bostoun, and Bostun, reflecting the regional variations in pronunciation and spelling practices of the time. Some notable individuals bearing this surname include John Boston (c. 1330-1400), a prominent merchant and alderman of Boston, Lincolnshire, and William Boston (c. 1425-1490), a Member of Parliament for the same town.

As the name spread across England, it also became associated with other place names containing the word "Boston," such as Boston in Cambridgeshire and Boston in Norfolk. One of the earliest recorded instances of this is Thomas Boston (1676-1732), a Scottish Presbyterian minister and theologian, who was born in Duns, Berwickshire, but whose family likely originated from the Boston area in England.

Another notable figure with the surname Boston was Thomas Boston (1713-1767), an English clergyman and author who published several works on religious and philosophical topics. He was born in Hertfordshire and was a graduate of the University of Cambridge.

In the 19th century, the name gained prominence in the United States, where individuals such as John Boston (1797-1859), a prominent abolitionist and educator from Maryland, and Sarah Boston (1823-1891), a pioneering African American educator and activist from New York, made significant contributions to their respective fields.

While the surname Boston has its roots in England, it has since spread across the world, with individuals bearing this name making their mark in various spheres of life throughout history.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Boston

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

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:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

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

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 52.66% 8,328
Non-Hispanic Black Only 40.86% 6,462
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.52% 82
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.79% 125
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.78% 440
Hispanic Origin 2.40% 380

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 Boston has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 52.66% 54.80% -3.98%
Black 40.86% 40.72% 0.34%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.52% 0.49% 5.94%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.79% 0.83% -4.94%
Two or More Races 2.78% 1.63% 52.15%
Hispanic 2.40% 1.53% 44.27%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Boston was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Boston, please contact us.

Reference this page

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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!

"Boston last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com. Accessed on July 13, 2024. http://namecensus.com/last-names/boston-surname-popularity/.

"Boston last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/boston-surname-popularity/. Accessed 13 July, 2024

Boston last name popularity, history, and meaning. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/boston-surname-popularity/.

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