Low last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Low is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Low.

Meaning of Low

An English toponymic surname referring to someone who lived on or near a hill or mound.

Low, like all of the last 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 Low surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Low in America

Low is the 2979th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Low surname appeared 12,032 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 4 people would have the surname Low.

We can also compare 2010 data for Low 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 2979 2873 3.62%
Count 12,032 11,475 4.74%
Proportion per 100k 4.08 4.25 -4.08%

The history of the last name Low

The surname LOW originated in Scotland during the 12th century. It is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word 'loch', meaning 'lake' or 'inlet'. The name likely referred to someone who lived near a lake or body of water.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the name can be found in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, which lists Thomas Low as a landowner in Berwickshire, Scotland. The surname also appears in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland in 1365, mentioning a John Low from Ayrshire.

During the Middle Ages, the Low surname was particularly prevalent in the Scottish Lowlands, which may have contributed to its origins. Some variations of the spelling included Lowe, Lowis, and Lowrie.

In the 16th century, the Low surname became more widespread across Scotland and England. Notable bearers of the name include Reverend Robert Low (1572-1616), a Scottish minister and author of the book "The Whole Course of Scripture".

As the name spread, it was sometimes associated with place names such as Lowton in Lancashire, England, derived from the Old English words 'hlaw' and 'tun', meaning a 'hill settlement'.

Other notable individuals with the Low surname include:

  1. Sir John Low (1788-1873), a British naval officer who served in the Napoleonic Wars and later became a Member of Parliament.
  2. David Low (1891-1963), a New Zealand-born political cartoonist known for his satirical work in British publications like the Evening Standard.
  3. Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927), the founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
  4. Malcolm Low (1926-2015), a British engineer and inventor who developed the first compact disc (CD) player.
  5. Mary Stuart Low (1857-1946), an American philanthropist and social reformer who advocated for women's rights and education.

The Low surname has a rich history spanning several centuries, with its roots firmly planted in Scotland and associations with various place names and notable individuals throughout the years.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Low

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

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:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Low was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 61.77% 7,432
Non-Hispanic Black Only 1.70% 205
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 28.82% 3,468
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.36% 43
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 4.31% 519
Hispanic Origin 3.03% 365

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 Low has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 61.77% 63.83% -3.28%
Black 1.70% 2.07% -19.63%
Asian and Pacific Islander 28.82% 28.37% 1.57%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.36% 0.37% -2.74%
Two or More Races 4.31% 3.16% 30.79%
Hispanic 3.03% 2.19% 32.18%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Low was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Low, please contact us.

Reference this page

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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!

"Low last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com. Accessed on July 12, 2024. http://namecensus.com/last-names/low-surname-popularity/.

"Low last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/low-surname-popularity/. Accessed 12 July, 2024

Low last name popularity, history, and meaning. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/low-surname-popularity/.

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