Needham last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Needham

From the Old English "newe" meaning new and "ham" meaning home, referring to someone living at a new house.

Needham, 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 Needham surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Needham in America

Needham is the 3289th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Needham surname appeared 10,983 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 4 people would have the surname Needham.

We can also compare 2010 data for Needham 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 3289 3074 6.76%
Count 10,983 10,809 1.60%
Proportion per 100k 3.72 4.01 -7.50%

The history of the last name Needham

The surname Needham has its origins in England, where it first emerged in the 12th century. It is believed to be derived from the Old English words "nedre" and "ham," meaning "a valley where nettles grow."

The earliest recorded instances of the name can be found in the Domesday Book, a comprehensive survey of English landholdings commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086. The name appeared as "Nedreham" and referred to various settlements located in nettle-filled valleys.

During the medieval period, the surname was associated with several notable figures. One such individual was Sir Robert Needham, a prominent English soldier and landowner who lived in the late 14th century. He served as a knight under King Edward III and participated in the Hundred Years' War against France.

Another historical figure bearing the Needham name was John Needham, a 17th-century English naturalist and microscopist. Born in 1638, he is best known for his pioneering work in the field of microscopy and his observations of microorganisms, which he termed "little living creatures."

In the 18th century, the Needham family established itself as a prominent landowning family in Derbyshire, England. One notable member was Robert Needham, 1st Earl of Kilmorey (1711-1786), a British peer and politician who served as the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire.

The 19th century saw the rise of the Needham family in the literary and academic spheres. Alfred Needham (1825-1892) was a renowned English historian and writer, best known for his works on the history of the English Reformation.

Another notable figure from this period was Walter Needham (1847-1924), a distinguished English chemist and professor at the University of Cambridge. He made significant contributions to the field of organic chemistry and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1900.

While the Needham surname has its roots in England, it has since spread to other parts of the world, particularly through migration and colonization. However, this historical account focuses solely on the surname's origins and notable individuals from its early years in England.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Needham

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

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 Needham was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 90.39% 9,928
Non-Hispanic Black Only 3.48% 382
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.97% 107
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.40% 154
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.53% 168
Hispanic Origin 2.23% 245

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 90.39% 92.30% -2.09%
Black 3.48% 2.94% 16.82%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.97% 0.77% 22.99%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.40% 1.38% 1.44%
Two or More Races 1.53% 1.06% 36.29%
Hispanic 2.23% 1.55% 35.98%

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

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

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"Needham last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 17, 2024.

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