Jones Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Jones, 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 Jones surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname Jones is derived from the name John which itself comes from the Hebrew word Yohanan which translates to “Jehovah is favored or graced by God.” Originating in England and Wales, Jones also comes from the Welsh first names of Sion and Ieuan which are both versions of John.

The common patronymic name practice in Wales is that by adding an s to the end of a first name it indicates “son of.” Therefore, Jones means “son of John/Sion/Ieuan.”

It is thought that in the 10th century three Welsh nobles had a hand in starting the Jones line. These were Gwaithvoed, Lord of Cardigan, Bleddyn Ap Cynfyn, King of Powys and Dyffryn Clwyd Jones who was a local chieftain. The ancestral lines of these men converged in Denbighshire where the surname Jones was first recorded.

Which of these three lines is the main branch that originated the Jones line is unclear. What is clear is that the line grew and migrated out of Wales into England where it began to grow in popularity.

The use of the Jones name, however, did not become widespread in Wales at this time because it was more common to use only a first name. It was later in the mid 16th century that new laws from England forced changes. The “Acts of Union” of 1536 led to a more common practice of a first and last name. It was easiest to merely adopt the “son of” patronymic and John was a very common name in Wales. As a result, a large number of families chose the surname Jones.

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

According to the data, Jones is ranked #5 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Jones surname appeared 1,425,470 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 483.24 would have the surname Jones.

We can also compare 2010 data for Jones 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 5 5 0.00%
Count 1,425,470 1,362,755 4.50%
Proportion per 100k 483.24 505.17 -4.44%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Jones

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

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 Jones was:

  • 55.19%, or 786,717 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 38.48%, or 548,521 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.44%, or 6,272 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 1.00%, or 14,255 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.61%, or 37,205 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.29%, or 32,643 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 Jones has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 55.19% 57.69% -4.43%
Black 38.48% 37.73% 1.97%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.44% 0.35% 22.78%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.00% 0.94% 6.19%
Two or More Races 2.61% 1.85% 34.08%
Hispanic 2.29% 1.44% 45.58%

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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