Martin Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Martin, 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 Martin surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Martin is a derivative of the Latin name Martinus which itself derives from the name of the Roman God of fertility and war, Mars. Versions of the Martin name exist throughout Christian Europe.

It is thanks to St. Martin of Tours, a 4th century saint, that the popularity of the Martin name came about. St. Martin was the third Bishop of Tours and led a colorful life prior to joining the church. In his younger days, he served in the Roman army in Gaul. Upon leaving the army he launched into life with the church which ultimately led to him achieving sainthood. St. Martin lived out his days in France.

The veneration of St. Martin in France likely means that the Martin surname may find its roots in Normandy. It is recorded that in 1066 Martin sire of Tour accompanied William the conqueror to England as part of the Norman army. It is believed that Martin received lands in Pembrokeshire for his service and that some Martin families may descend from his line.

Sir William Martin (1446-1503/4) is a bearer of this surname. Born and raised near Dorchester, Dorset, Sir William became an MP for the county in 1478. The Great Hall of Athelhampton which still stands today was built by Sir William around 1485.

During the reign of Elizabeth I Sir Richard Martin (1517-1617) served as Sheriff of London before twice serving as Lord Mayor of London. A goldsmith by trade Sir Richard was deeply involved with the royal treasury.

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

According to the data, Martin is ranked #20 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Martin surname appeared 702,625 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 238.19 would have the surname Martin.

We can also compare 2010 data for Martin 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 20 17 16.22%
Count 702,625 672,711 4.35%
Proportion per 100k 238.19 249.37 -4.59%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Martin

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

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 Martin was:

  • 74.80%, or 525,564 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 15.76%, or 110,734 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.90%, or 6,324 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.98%, or 6,886 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.02%, or 14,193 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 5.56%, or 39,066 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 Martin has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 74.80% 77.47% -3.51%
Black 15.76% 15.30% 2.96%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.90% 0.71% 23.60%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.98% 0.94% 4.17%
Two or More Races 2.02% 1.59% 23.82%
Hispanic 5.56% 3.99% 32.88%

Data Source(s)

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

Link To or Reference This Page

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