Gonzalez Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Gonzalez, 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 Gonzalez surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname Gonzalez is a patronymic name deriving from the given name Gonzalo. Spanish naming tradition during the Medieval period added the suffix “ez” to the end of given names. The effect of this was to give the surname the meaning “son of.” Therefore, Gonzalez becomes “son of Gonzalo.”

The given name Gonzalo itself seems to derive from the Medieval Germanic word Gundisalvus which is broken down into two parts. Gund means war or battle. Sadly, though, the meaning of the “salv” element of the name has been lost to time.

It is thought that the name Gonzalez may originate from the Castile region of Spain and that it may date back to the 5th to 8th century occupation of Spain by the Germanic tribe known as the Visigoths. The Germanic language roots of the name Gonzalo seem to support this.

One of the earliest persons of note to carry the Gonzalez moniker is Fernan Gonzalez, the first count of Castile. In around 930 Gonzalez was the count of Burgos. Taking advantage of political strife and ongoing wars with the Moors he was able to essentially make Castile independent from Leon. In doing so from 950 onwards Fernan made himself count of Castile. His legacy and exploits live on today in classic Castilian poetry.

Gil Gonzalez Davila (1490-1550) was a Spanish explorer in the new world. His travels led him to explore and conquer Nicaragua in 1522. Spain’s claim on the country was short-lived, however, as just weeks after Gil claimed Nicaragua for the crown a neighboring tribal chief attacked and drove the Spanish out.

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

According to the data, Gonzalez is ranked #13 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Gonzalez surname appeared 841,025 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 285.11 would have the surname Gonzalez.

We can also compare 2010 data for Gonzalez 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 13 23 -55.56%
Count 841,025 597,718 33.82%
Proportion per 100k 285.11 221.57 25.08%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Gonzalez

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

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 Gonzalez was:

  • 4.03%, or 33,893 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 0.35%, or 2,944 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.38%, or 3,196 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.14%, or 1,177 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 0.13%, or 1,093 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 94.97%, or 798,721 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 Gonzalez has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 4.03% 4.76% -16.61%
Black 0.35% 0.37% -5.56%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.38% 0.38% 0.00%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.14% 0.18% -25.00%
Two or More Races 0.13% 0.33% -86.96%
Hispanic 94.97% 93.99% 1.04%

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

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