Hill Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Hill, 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 Hill surname is from the 2010 census data.

Research the Hill Surname History

Find out where your family name is from, what your ancestors did for a living, and who they were, using Ancestry.com records.

With over 30 billion (seriously!) records in their database, you can research your family name and discover amazing details you may never have known about your ancestors.

With a 14-day free trial, it's very easy to get started and discover your past!

Get Started →

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

The surname of Hill has two potential origins - the most likely of which is as a topographical nickname. Deriving from the Old English (pre-7th century) word hyll, the name was often given as a nickname or identifying name to people who lived near or on a hill. As an example, John of the Hyll would refer to a man named John who lived on a hill.

A second origin for the Hill surname may come from the medieval period where the common given name Hille could be connected. Often used as a nickname for Germanic names such as Hildebrand (Hild “strife” + brand “sword”), Hilliard (hild “strife” + gard “fortress”) and Hilaire (derived from hilaris “cheerful”), Hille could have also morphed into the surname of Hill over time.

One of the first mentions of the Hill name as a surname occurred in 1191 when Gilbert del Hil is mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, England.

Georgiana Hill (8 December 1858 – 29 March 1924) was born in Lambeth, London, the daughter of George Hill, a master printer and journalist. Along with her older sister Emily, Georgina worked extensively for her father as a journalist and was active in a number of social and philanthropic endeavors. A staunch suffragist, Georgina wrote enlightening books such as “A History of English Dress from the Saxon Period to the Present Day” and “Women in English Life from Medieval to Modern Times.” Georgina’s writings until recently were mistakenly attributed to her namesake Georgina Hill who wrote cookery books.

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

According to the data, Hill is ranked #39 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Hill surname appeared 434,827 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 147.41 would have the surname Hill.

We can also compare 2010 data for Hill 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 39 41 -5.00%
Count 434,827 411,770 5.45%
Proportion per 100k 147.41 152.64 -3.49%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Hill

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

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 Hill was:

  • 64.36%, or 279,855 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 29.12%, or 126,622 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.53%, or 2,305 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.97%, or 4,218 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.51%, or 10,914 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.51%, or 10,914 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 Hill has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 64.36% 66.83% -3.77%
Black 29.12% 28.42% 2.43%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.53% 0.42% 23.16%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.97% 0.91% 6.38%
Two or More Races 2.51% 1.78% 34.03%
Hispanic 2.51% 1.64% 41.93%

Data Source(s)

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