Davis Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Davis, 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 Davis surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname Davis is directly connected to the common first name David, which in Hebrew means “Beloved.” As a common Welsh surname it is subject to the patronymic naming practices of Wales which follow that adding an "s" turns a common forename into “son of.” The name Davis, therefore, means “son of David.”

Influences from the Bible in the form of King David of Israel made David a very popular name in the Medieval period. Additionally, in Wales whose patron saint also bore the name David, the name became very popular.

The earliest recorded instance of the name Davis was found in Flintshire in the northeast of Wales. The Davis family of this region are thought to descend from Cynrig Efell, Lord of Eglwysegle. Cynrig was a great-grandson of Bleddyn ap Cynvin, Prince of Powys who governed all of Wales for 13 years before his death in 1075.

In Wales, the practice of patronymic naming did not come into full effect until the 1500s in response to new rules enforced on them by the English. Davis families who left Wales to live in England would likely have been using the surname earlier than those who remained in Wales.

John Davis (1550-1605) was an early notable Davis whose voyages of exploration led to the discovery of the Falkland Islands. Davis also sailed with Sir Walter Raleigh during his career on Raleigh’s expeditions to Cadiz and the Azores. His final voyages took him to the East Indies, the last of which saw him tragically murdered by pirates.

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

According to the data, Davis is ranked #8 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Davis surname appeared 1,116,357 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 378.45 would have the surname Davis.

We can also compare 2010 data for Davis 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 8 7 13.33%
Count 1,116,357 1,072,335 4.02%
Proportion per 100k 378.45 397.51 -4.91%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Davis

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

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 Davis was:

  • 62.20%, or 694,374 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 31.60%, or 352,769 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.49%, or 5,470 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.82%, or 9,154 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.45%, or 27,351 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.44%, or 27,239 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 Davis has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 62.20% 64.73% -3.99%
Black 31.60% 30.77% 2.66%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.49% 0.40% 20.22%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.82% 0.79% 3.73%
Two or More Races 2.45% 1.73% 34.45%
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.

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  • "Davis Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". NameCensus.com. Accessed on December 8, 2022. https://namecensus.com/last-names/davis-surname-popularity/.

  • "Davis Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/davis-surname-popularity/. Accessed 8 December, 2022

  • Davis Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from https://namecensus.com/last-names/davis-surname-popularity/.