Matos last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Matos

A surname of Spanish and Portuguese origin, derived from the word "mato," meaning "thicket, brush, or scrubland."

Matos, 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 Matos surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Matos in America

Matos is the 1696th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Matos surname appeared 21,258 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 7 people would have the surname Matos.

We can also compare 2010 data for Matos 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 1696 1968 -14.85%
Count 21,258 16,819 23.32%
Proportion per 100k 7.21 6.23 14.58%

The history of the last name Matos

The surname Matos originated in Portugal, with its earliest recorded use dating back to the late 15th century. It is believed to be derived from the Latin word "mattus," meaning "insane" or "foolish," suggesting that it may have been initially used as a nickname for someone perceived as eccentric or unconventional.

One of the earliest known references to the Matos surname can be found in a Portuguese census record from 1497, where a certain João de Matos is listed as a resident of Lisbon. This suggests that the name was already established in the region during the late medieval period.

In the 16th century, the Matos surname began to spread across the Portuguese empire, with notable individuals bearing the name appearing in various parts of the world. One such person was Gaspar de Matos, a Portuguese explorer and navigator who participated in the conquest of Brazil in the early 1500s.

As Portugal's influence expanded, the Matos surname also found its way to other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia. In the 17th century, a Portuguese soldier named Manuel de Matos served as the governor of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique in East Africa.

The Matos surname has also been historically associated with various place names in Portugal. For example, the village of Matos in the northern region of Portugal likely derives its name from the surname itself, suggesting that it may have been a settlement established by individuals bearing the Matos name.

Throughout history, several notable individuals have borne the Matos surname. These include:

  1. Gregório de Matos (1636-1696), a Brazilian poet and satirist known for his biting criticism of colonial society and the Portuguese aristocracy.

  2. José Vieira Couto de Matos (1782-1839), a Portuguese military officer who served as the governor of Macau from 1831 to 1839.

  3. Andrés Matos (1923-2003), a Cuban painter and sculptor renowned for his abstract expressionist works.

  4. Gilberto Matos (1929-2014), a Brazilian composer and guitarist who played a significant role in the development of bossa nova music.

  5. Luiz Eduardo Matos (born 1953), a Brazilian journalist and writer who has authored several books on Brazilian history and culture.

While the Matos surname may have had humble beginnings as a nickname, it has since become a respected and widely recognized name, reflecting the diverse and far-reaching influence of Portuguese culture and exploration throughout the centuries.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Matos

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

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 Matos was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 16.83% 3,578
Non-Hispanic Black Only 1.53% 325
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.45% 96
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.14% 30
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 0.32% 68
Hispanic Origin 80.73% 17,162

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 16.83% 17.14% -1.83%
Black 1.53% 1.46% 4.68%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.45% 0.27% 50.00%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.14% 0.15% -6.90%
Two or More Races 0.32% 1.43% -126.86%
Hispanic 80.73% 79.55% 1.47%

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

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

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

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