Frankel last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Frankel

A surname of German origin, derived from the Middle High German word "vranc" meaning "frank" or "honest."

Frankel, 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 Frankel surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Frankel in America

Frankel is the 4860th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Frankel surname appeared 7,253 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 2 people would have the surname Frankel.

We can also compare 2010 data for Frankel 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 4860 4855 0.10%
Count 7,253 6,633 8.93%
Proportion per 100k 2.46 2.46 0.00%

The history of the last name Frankel

The surname Frankel originates from Germany and is of Ashkenazic Jewish descent, deriving from the Yiddish personal name "Fraenkel," which means "little Frank" or "little Frenchman." The name's origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages when Jews adopted surnames based on their place of origin, occupation, or personal characteristics.

The earliest recorded instance of the name Frankel can be found in the 14th century, when it appeared in various Jewish records and documents across Germany. One notable figure bearing this surname was Rabbi Moshe ben Shmuel Frankel, a prominent Talmudic scholar who lived in the 16th century and authored several works on Jewish law and ethics.

During the Middle Ages, the Frankel surname was often associated with Jewish communities in cities such as Frankfurt, Cologne, and other areas of the Rhineland region. The name's spelling variations included Frankel, Frenkel, and Fränkel, reflecting the local dialects and phonetic adaptations.

In the 18th century, the Frankel surname gained prominence with the birth of David Frankel (1779-1865), a renowned Jewish scholar and leader who played a pivotal role in the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) movement. He advocated for religious reforms and modernization within the Jewish community.

Another notable figure bearing the Frankel surname was Zecharias Frankel (1801-1875), a German Jewish scholar and theologian who was a leading figure in the emergence of Conservative Judaism. He founded the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), which became a prominent center for Jewish learning.

In the 20th century, the Frankel surname gained further recognition with individuals like Max Frankel (1930-2022), an American journalist and former executive editor of The New York Times, who played a significant role in shaping modern journalism.

Throughout history, the Frankel surname has been associated with various professions, including scholars, rabbis, writers, and artists. While its origins can be traced back to Germany, the name has since spread across various parts of the world due to migration and diaspora.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Frankel

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

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 Frankel was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 95.12% 6,899
Non-Hispanic Black Only 0.66% 48
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.76% 55
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.08% 6
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.45% 105
Hispanic Origin 1.93% 140

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 95.12% 95.37% -0.26%
Black 0.66% 0.77% -15.38%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.76% (S)% (S)%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.08% (S)% (S)%
Two or More Races 1.45% 1.58% -8.58%
Hispanic 1.93% 1.52% 23.77%

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

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

Reference this page

We spend a lot of resources 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!

"Frankel last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 22, 2024.

"Frankel last name popularity, history, and meaning"., Accessed 22 July, 2024

Frankel last name popularity, history, and meaning. Retrieved from

Search for a name

Search for a first or last name to learn more about its origin, meaning, and more.

Simple as that.