Mahan last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Mahan

An Irish surname derived from the Gaelic "Ó Mathghamhna," meaning "descendant of Mathghamhain," a personal name meaning "bear."

Mahan, 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 Mahan surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Mahan in America

Mahan is the 2371st most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Mahan surname appeared 15,375 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 5 people would have the surname Mahan.

We can also compare 2010 data for Mahan 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 2371 2231 6.08%
Count 15,375 14,937 2.89%
Proportion per 100k 5.21 5.54 -6.14%

The history of the last name Mahan

The surname Mahan has its origins in Ireland, where it first emerged in the 12th century. It is derived from the Irish Gaelic word "mathghamhain," meaning "bear." The name likely referred to someone with a bear-like appearance or demeanor.

Historically, the Mahan surname was concentrated in County Mayo, located in the northwestern part of Ireland. It is believed to have been an anglicized version of the Irish name "O'Madaghain," which was common in that region.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the Mahan surname can be found in the Annals of Ulster, a chronicle of medieval Irish history. The annals mention a certain "Maghnus O'Madaghain" in the year 1253, who was involved in a conflict with the O'Conors of Connacht.

In the 16th century, the Mahans were among the Irish families who were dispossessed of their lands during the Plantation of Ulster, a state-sponsored colonization of the northern Irish provinces by English and Scottish settlers. Many Mahans were forced to seek refuge in other parts of Ireland or emigrate to other countries.

Notable individuals bearing the Mahan surname throughout history include:

  1. Dennis Hart Mahan (1802-1871), an American military officer and civil engineer who served as a professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

  2. Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), a renowned American naval officer and historian whose works, such as "The Influence of Sea Power upon History," had a significant impact on naval strategy and maritime doctrine.

  3. John Mahan (1624-1676), an English Puritan minister and writer who emigrated to New England and served as the first pastor of the church in Eastham, Massachusetts.

  4. Asa Mahan (1799-1889), an American minister, educator, and philosopher who served as the president of Oberlin College in Ohio and was an early advocate for the abolition of slavery.

  5. Milo Mahan (1899-1970), an American football player and coach who played for the Chicago Cardinals and later served as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills in the All-America Football Conference.

While the Mahan surname has evolved over time, with various spellings appearing in historical records, such as Mahon, Mahaun, and Mahoune, its roots can be traced back to the ancient Irish Gaelic language and the distinctive traditions of County Mayo.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Mahan

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

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 Mahan was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 85.78% 13,189
Non-Hispanic Black Only 7.23% 1,112
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 1.35% 208
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.68% 105
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.16% 332
Hispanic Origin 2.82% 434

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 85.78% 87.95% -2.50%
Black 7.23% 6.88% 4.96%
Asian and Pacific Islander 1.35% 0.70% 63.41%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.68% 0.78% -13.70%
Two or More Races 2.16% 1.79% 18.73%
Hispanic 2.82% 1.89% 39.49%

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 Mahan was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Mahan, 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!

"Mahan last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 22, 2024.

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