Morales Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Morales, 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 Morales surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname Morales is both a locational and topographical name. It derives from the plural term for the Spanish word Mora which means mulberry or blackberry. It may have originally been used as a nickname for someone who lived near an area with many mulberry or blackberry bushes.

It was common in Europe to add topographical detail to someone’s name as an identifier so as to differentiate between individuals with the same given name. This may lead to someone being named Juan de Morales, which would translate as "Juan of the mulberries."

This could also be a name given to people who were born in a town that bears the name Morales. In this instance, it would be a locational name used in the same way as the topographical version. The only difference is that the meaning of the name would be more focused on the person being from a place called Morales.

In Spain, there are several towns that bear the Morales name including Morales del Vino in the Province of Zamora. This town was founded during the middle ages sometime after the Christians reclaimed the region from the Moors.

Juan Bautista Morales (b. about 1597 - 17 September 1664) was a Spanish born Dominican missionary. Entering the order of St. Dominic at a young age, Morales' early missionary work was in the Philippines. It was later in 1633 that Morales then joined up with other missionaries to travel to China. It was in China that Juan Bautista took an active role in the Chinese Rites controversy.

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

According to the data, Morales is ranked #63 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Morales surname appeared 311,777 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 105.69 would have the surname Morales.

We can also compare 2010 data for Morales 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 63 90 -35.29%
Count 311,777 217,642 35.56%
Proportion per 100k 105.69 80.68 26.84%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Morales

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

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 Morales was:

  • 4.63%, or 14,435 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 0.57%, or 1,777 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 1.18%, or 3,679 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.17%, or 530 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 0.21%, or 655 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 93.23%, or 290,670 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 Morales has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 4.63% 5.60% -18.96%
Black 0.57% 0.60% -5.13%
Asian and Pacific Islander 1.18% 1.24% -4.96%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.17% 0.25% -38.10%
Two or More Races 0.21% 0.44% -70.77%
Hispanic 93.23% 91.88% 1.46%

Data Source(s)

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

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