Carmichael last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Carmichael

A Scottish surname derived from a place name meaning "fort of Michael" or "Michael's fort."

Carmichael, 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 Carmichael surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Carmichael in America

Carmichael is the 1825th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Carmichael surname appeared 19,628 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 7 people would have the surname Carmichael.

We can also compare 2010 data for Carmichael 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 1825 1729 5.40%
Count 19,628 19,011 3.19%
Proportion per 100k 6.65 7.05 -5.84%

The history of the last name Carmichael

The surname Carmichael has its origins in Scotland, with its earliest recorded instances dating back to the 12th century. The name is believed to be derived from the Gaelic words "cair" meaning "fort" and "mìcheil" meaning "Michael," thus translating to "Michael's fort" or "Fortified village of Michael."

Carmichael is a territorial name, referring to various locations in Scotland, particularly in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire. The earliest known record of the name appears in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, where John de Carmychael is mentioned as swearing fealty to King Edward I of England.

In the 13th century, the Carmichaels were a prominent family in the Scottish Borders region, with their ancestral seat located at the village of Carmichael near Lanark. They played a significant role in the conflicts between Scotland and England during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

One of the earliest notable figures bearing the Carmichael name was Sir John Carmichael, who served as a diplomat and ambassador for King Robert III of Scotland in the early 15th century. Another prominent member of the family was James Carmichael, also known as "Mickle Sir James," who fought alongside Robert the Bruce and was rewarded with lands in Fife for his loyalty.

In the 16th century, the Carmichaels were involved in numerous feuds and conflicts with other powerful Scottish families, such as the Douglases and the Hamiltons. Sir John Carmichael of that Ilk, who lived from the late 15th to the early 16th century, is recorded as leading his clan in various battles and skirmishes.

The name Carmichael has also been associated with several notable individuals throughout history, including Gershom Carmichael (1672-1729), a Scottish philosopher and theologian who was a prominent figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. Another noteworthy bearer of the name was Andrew Carmichael (1790-1838), a Scottish explorer and naturalist who made significant contributions to the study of flora and fauna in the West Indies.

Other historical figures with the surname Carmichael include Sir Thomas Carmichael (1591-1672), a Scottish judge and politician who served as Lord Advocate of Scotland, and Stokely Carmichael (1941-1998), an American civil rights activist who coined the term "Black Power" and played a pivotal role in the African-American civil rights movement.

The Carmichael name has also been associated with various place names, such as Carmichael in Lanarkshire, which served as the ancestral seat of the Carmichael clan, and Carmichaels in Pennsylvania, a town named after the Scottish family who were among its early settlers.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Carmichael

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

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 Carmichael was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 72.33% 14,197
Non-Hispanic Black Only 22.18% 4,353
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.59% 116
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.47% 92
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.20% 432
Hispanic Origin 2.24% 440

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 72.33% 74.95% -3.56%
Black 22.18% 20.96% 5.66%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.59% 0.56% 5.22%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.47% 0.50% -6.19%
Two or More Races 2.20% 1.58% 32.80%
Hispanic 2.24% 1.45% 42.82%

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 Carmichael was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

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

Reference this page

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"Carmichael last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 14, 2024.

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