Garcia Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Garcia, 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 Garcia surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

Early Spanish surnames were formed either by patronymic (father) or metronymic (mother) means. The surname would either feature the first name of the mother or father of the child and this would be passed down as a family name.

The name Garcia is thought to pre-date the Latin era and possibly have originated in the Basque language. This is the oldest existing language in Europe and dates back into prehistory. Garcia is believed to be a patronymic surname that derives from a now long-forgotten first name. The essential meaning of Garcia then would be “son of Garcia.”

Garcia as a surname was first recorded in the Navarre region of Northern Spain. This region has two official languages: Spanish and Basque. It is thought that the word Garcia may derive from the Basque term "Gazte Hartz" which means young bear.

Early Basque region Garcias may have been known as Gaztea. Those who moved away from the Basque regions into the surrounding Latin areas of Spain may have become known by the Latinized version Garsea. Over time the name has become more anglicized and is known more commonly as Garcia.

King Garcia I was one of the earliest recorded with the name. Garcia was the self-styled king of the Pamplona region of Navarre who died in 860. His heir and son Fortun was imprisoned by the Moors when his father died and was not released for another 20 years. Upon his release, he proclaimed himself king of Pamplona.

One of the earliest Garcias to travel to the new world was Alejo Garcia a Portuguese explorer. Alejo was a member of the 1514 Juan Diaz de Solis Expedition which sought to find a sea passage around South America from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was an ill-fated expedition that saw Alejo visit Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.

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

According to the data, Garcia is ranked #6 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Garcia surname appeared 1,166,120 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 395.32 would have the surname Garcia.

We can also compare 2010 data for Garcia 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 6 8 -28.57%
Count 1,166,120 858,289 30.41%
Proportion per 100k 395.32 318.17 21.63%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Garcia

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

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 Garcia was:

  • 5.38%, or 62,737 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 0.45%, or 5,248 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 1.41%, or 16,442 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.47%, or 5,481 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 0.26%, or 3,032 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 92.03%, or 1,073,180 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 Garcia has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 5.38% 6.17% -13.68%
Black 0.45% 0.49% -8.51%
Asian and Pacific Islander 1.41% 1.43% -1.41%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.47% 0.58% -20.95%
Two or More Races 0.26% 0.51% -64.94%
Hispanic 92.03% 90.81% 1.33%

Data Source(s)

All of the data on this page is sourced from the Decennial Census survey, from the United States Census Bureau.

Link To or Reference This Page

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  • "Garcia Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". Accessed on May 19, 2024.

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