Hernandez Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Hernandez, 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 Hernandez surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname Hernandez is derived from several first names, these include Hernan, Hernando and Fernando. All of these names have similar meanings which essentially indicate bravery, daring and a thirst for adventure. These Spanish versions of the name likely derive from the Germanic name Ferdinand.

Hernandez is a patronymic name that features the suffix “ez.” This suffix indicates that the person bearing this surname is the “son of Hernando.” It is a common naming practice in Spain which arose most prominently in the mid to late 1500s. The use of Hernandez, however, does predate this period.

During the 5th to 8th centuries, a Germanic tribe called the Visigoths controlled Spain, likely bringing with them names like Ferdinand. This in turn likely gave rise to the variant names which include Hernando. The Hernandez surname was likely first found around the Castile region of Spain.

The popularity of the name likely increased thanks to King Ferdinand III of Castile (1201-1252). His success in conquering the Muslim held Spanish cities of Cordoba, Jaen and Sevilla bought him great acclaim and was awarded sainthood 1671.

Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba was a Spanish Conquistador and navigator. Francisco was given the task of attempting to defeat the Mayaon the Yucatan Peninsula in 1517. The invasion was a failure and Hernandez was gravely injured and would die from his wounds. His attempt, however, did raise new interest in Mexico leading eventually to Cortes' expedition in 1519.

Another Francisco Hernandez (1517-1587) was more successful in his exploits. Francisco was a medical doctor and botanist who made his way to becoming the court physician for Phillip II of Spain. His work with medicinal plants in the Americas can still be found in books today.

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

According to the data, Hernandez is ranked #11 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Hernandez surname appeared 1,043,281 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 353.68 would have the surname Hernandez.

We can also compare 2010 data for Hernandez 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 11 15 -30.77%
Count 1,043,281 706,372 38.51%
Proportion per 100k 353.68 261.85 29.84%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Hernandez

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

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 Hernandez was:

  • 3.79%, or 39,540 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 0.36%, or 3,756 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.60%, or 6,260 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.19%, or 1,982 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 0.16%, or 1,669 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 94.89%, or 989,969 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 Hernandez has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 3.79% 4.55% -18.23%
Black 0.36% 0.38% -5.41%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.60% 0.65% -8.00%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.19% 0.27% -34.78%
Two or More Races 0.16% 0.35% -74.51%
Hispanic 94.89% 93.81% 1.14%

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

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