Green Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Green, 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 Green surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Green derives from the Old English (pre-7th century word grene or “green.” It is associated with the color and could have been given as a nickname for a number of reasons. Someone who, for example, wore a lot of green may be given the nickname. It is also possible that a young man who portrayed the pre-Christian Green man in festivals may have had this nickname bestowed upon them.

There is most likely a locational aspect to the Green name as well in that people who lived near a village green may have had the name associated with them. It could often be used as an identifier to clarify the difference between people with the same given name. John of the Green, for example, would be so called because he lived near the village green.

In the 1188 “Pipe Rolls” of Kent England Geoffrey de Grene is mentioned, this is likely one of the earliest mentions of the family name. Richard de la Grene is listed 12 years later in Norfolk among rolls showing the spread of the name.

Herschel Harper Green (July 3, 1920 – August 16, 2006) was an American-born flying ace who made his name during the Second World War. Between 1943 and 1944 Green flew 100 missions earning the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, Silver Star, and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. Herschel shot down 18 enemy aircraft and destroyed a further 10 that were still on the ground.

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

According to the data, Green is ranked #41 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Green surname appeared 430,182 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 145.83 would have the surname Green.

We can also compare 2010 data for Green 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 41 37 10.26%
Count 430,182 413,477 3.96%
Proportion per 100k 145.83 153.27 -4.97%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Green

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

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 Green was:

  • 56.84%, or 244,515 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 36.97%, or 159,038 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.44%, or 1,893 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.64%, or 2,753 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.47%, or 10,625 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.64%, or 11,357 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 Green has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 56.84% 59.33% -4.29%
Black 36.97% 36.23% 2.02%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.44% 0.34% 25.64%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.64% 0.61% 4.80%
Two or More Races 2.47% 1.78% 32.47%
Hispanic 2.64% 1.71% 42.76%

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

We spent a lot of time 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!

  • "Green Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". Accessed on December 3, 2023.

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