McGregor last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of McGregor

A Scottish surname meaning "son of Gregor," with Gregor being a given name derived from the Latin "Gregorius."

McGregor, 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 McGregor surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of McGregor in America

McGregor is the 2333rd most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The McGregor surname appeared 15,614 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 McGregor.

We can also compare 2010 data for McGregor 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 2333 2227 4.65%
Count 15,614 14,969 4.22%
Proportion per 100k 5.29 5.55 -4.80%

The history of the last name McGregor

The surname McGregor is of Scottish origin, derived from the Gaelic "Gregor" meaning "watchful" or "vigilant". The name is thought to have originated in the Highlands of Scotland, specifically in the areas of Perthshire and Argyll.

The earliest recorded instance of the name dates back to the 13th century, when a Gillecrist McGrigor is mentioned in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland in 1263. This early spelling variation, McGrigor, highlights the name's evolution over time.

In the 14th century, the McGregor clan played a significant role in Scottish history, particularly during the Wars of Scottish Independence. One notable figure was John McGregor, who fought alongside Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the McGregors were engaged in feuds with other clans, such as the Campbells and Colquhouns. This period saw the proscription of the clan name by King James VI, leading many McGregors to adopt alternative surnames like Murray or Grant.

The name McGregor has been associated with several prominent individuals throughout history. Gregor Roy McGregor (c. 1570-1623) was a famous clan chief known for his defiance of the proscription laws. Rob Roy MacGregor (1671-1734) was a notorious cattle rustler and folk hero whose exploits have been immortalized in literature and film.

Other notable figures include Sir Evan John Murray McGregor (1785-1841), a British army officer who served in the Napoleonic Wars, and John McGregor (1834-1892), a Canadian politician and lawyer who served as the seventh Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

John Marshall McGregor (1892-1952) was a British soldier and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration awarded for valor in the British armed forces, for his actions during World War I.

Lastly, Ewan McGregor (born 1971) is a renowned Scottish actor known for his roles in films such as Trainspotting, Star Wars, and Moulin Rouge!, among others.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name McGregor

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

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 McGregor was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 81.03% 12,652
Non-Hispanic Black Only 13.46% 2,102
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.51% 80
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.63% 98
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.72% 269
Hispanic Origin 2.65% 414

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 81.03% 83.46% -2.95%
Black 13.46% 12.49% 7.48%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.51% 0.36% 34.48%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.63% 0.53% 17.24%
Two or More Races 1.72% 1.59% 7.85%
Hispanic 2.65% 1.56% 51.78%

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

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

Reference this page

We spend a lot of resources downloading, cleaning, merging, and formatting the data that is shown on the site.

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!

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

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

McGregor last name popularity, history, and meaning. Retrieved from

Search for a name

Search for a first or last name to learn more about its origin, meaning, and more.

Simple as that.