Garay last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Garay

Derived from a Basque topographical name meaning "above the water," likely referring to a high ground near a river.

Garay, 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 Garay surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Garay in America

Garay is the 2515th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Garay surname appeared 14,393 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 Garay.

We can also compare 2010 data for Garay 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 2515 3236 -25.07%
Count 14,393 10,142 34.65%
Proportion per 100k 4.88 3.76 25.93%

The history of the last name Garay

The surname Garay is of Spanish and Basque origin, with roots dating back to the medieval era in the Iberian Peninsula. It is believed to have derived from the Basque word 'gara,' meaning 'high' or 'elevated,' and may have originally referred to someone living in a high or elevated location.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the name Garay can be found in the famous Codex Calixtinus, a 12th-century manuscript that documents the history and traditions of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. The manuscript mentions a nobleman named Gonzalo Garay, who lived in the region of Galicia in the late 11th century.

In the 13th century, the name Garay was associated with the town of Garay, located in the province of Álava in the Basque Country. This town's name is thought to have originated from the Basque word 'gara,' further reinforcing the connection between the surname and its potential Basque roots.

Notable individuals bearing the surname Garay include Juan de Garay (1528-1583), a Spanish conquistador and founder of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1580. Another prominent figure was Blasco Núñez de Garay (c. 1490-1528), a Spanish explorer and conquistador who led expeditions to the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico in the early 16th century.

In the literary realm, Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695), a renowned Mexican poet and scholar of the Baroque period, was born to parents with the surname Garay. Her full name at birth was Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramírez de Santillana, with Garay being her mother's maiden name.

The name Garay can also be found in historical records from the Basque Country, such as the Fueros de Vizcaya, a compilation of laws and customs from the medieval period. Several individuals with the surname Garay are mentioned in these documents, reflecting the name's long-standing presence in the region.

Throughout its history, the surname Garay has undergone various spellings and variations, including Garray, Garai, and Garaia, among others. These variations often reflect regional dialects and linguistic influences within the Spanish-speaking world and the Basque Country.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Garay

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

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 Garay was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 9.48% 1,364
Non-Hispanic Black Only 0.77% 111
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 1.45% 209
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.09% 13
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 0.28% 40
Hispanic Origin 87.92% 12,654

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 9.48% 11.32% -17.69%
Black 0.77% 0.85% -9.88%
Asian and Pacific Islander 1.45% 1.32% 9.39%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.09% 0.12% -28.57%
Two or More Races 0.28% 0.74% -90.20%
Hispanic 87.92% 85.65% 2.62%

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

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

Reference this page

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

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