Hills Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Hills, 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 Hills surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Hills is a topographic name that was often bestowed on someone who lived on or near a hill. Originating from the Old English (Pre – 7th century) work “hyll” meaning hill, the addition of the "s" indicates an Old English genitive case changing the meaning to “of the hill”. As an example, an early bearer of the surname may have been known as John Hills which would mean John of the Hill.

Another possible origin for the name may come from the English medieval personal name Hill. This personal name itself derives from the Germanic name Hild which means “strife.” Patronymic naming practices that add an "s" to the end of a common name such as Hill would denote the new meaning “son of Hill.”

In 1191 the first recorded mention of the surname Hill was found in “The Pipe Rolls of Norfolk” during the reign of King Richard I of England, Gilbert del Hil is mentioned. A Matilda Hilles is also mentioned in early records as living in Somerset in 1327.

Robert Hills (26 June 1769 – 14 May 1844) was a painter and etcher who was born in Islington, England. A painter of rural scenes and farm animals, Hills studied under John Alexander Gresse. Including his own works Hills also assisted other artists by painting animals in their own rural pieces. A small collection of Hills' work is on display in the British Museum.

Stephen Hills (August 10, 1771 – October 17, 1844) who was born in Ashford, Kent, England was a notable architect. In 1794 Hills and his new wife moved to Boston, Massachusetts, before in 1801 moving to Lancaster Pennsylvania to take a job designing houses. After building his reputation over almost two decades Hills submitted a bid to design the new capitol building in Harrisburg PA. Completed in 1821 the structure stood until 1897.

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

According to the data, Hills is ranked #2,608 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Hills surname appeared 13,829 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 4.69 would have the surname Hills.

We can also compare 2010 data for Hills 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 2608 2589 0.73%
Count 13,829 12,867 7.21%
Proportion per 100k 4.69 4.77 -1.69%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Hills

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

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 Hills was:

  • 63.95%, or 8,844 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 30.34%, or 4,196 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.77%, or 106 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.58%, or 80 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.13%, or 295 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.23%, or 308 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 Hills has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 63.95% 66.82% -4.39%
Black 30.34% 29.18% 3.90%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.77% 0.54% 35.11%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.58% 0.61% -5.04%
Two or More Races 2.13% 1.47% 36.67%
Hispanic 2.23% 1.38% 47.09%

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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  • "Hills Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". NameCensus.com. Accessed on May 17, 2022. http://namecensus.com/last-names/hills-surname-popularity/.

  • "Hills Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/hills-surname-popularity/. Accessed 17 May, 2022

  • Hills Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/hills-surname-popularity/.