Provost last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Provost

An occupational surname for an official in charge of a prison, college, or religious community.

Provost, 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 Provost surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Provost in America

Provost is the 4062nd most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Provost surname appeared 8,742 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 3 people would have the surname Provost.

We can also compare 2010 data for Provost 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 4062 3840 5.62%
Count 8,742 8,497 2.84%
Proportion per 100k 2.96 3.15 -6.22%

The history of the last name Provost

The surname Provost is of French origin, derived from the Old French word "provost," which means "an appointed officer" or "a representative of authority." This word can be traced back to the Latin word "praepositus," meaning "one placed in charge" or "a prefect."

The earliest recorded use of the surname Provost dates back to the 12th century in France, where it was initially used to refer to various administrative or ecclesiastical officials. These officials were often responsible for managing the affairs of a particular region, town, or institution.

One of the earliest known references to the surname Provost can be found in the "Cartulaire de l'Église Notre-Dame de Paris," a collection of charters and documents related to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries.

In England, the surname Provost appeared in historical records as early as the 13th century, likely introduced by Norman settlers after the Norman Conquest in 1066. One notable individual with this surname was Sir John Provost, who served as the Lord Mayor of London in 1359.

In Scotland, the surname Provost has been recorded since the 15th century. One of the earliest known bearers of this name was William Provost, who was mentioned in the "Exchequer Rolls of Scotland" in 1455.

Throughout history, several notable individuals have borne the surname Provost, including:

  1. Marie Provost (1898-1937), an American film actress during the silent film era.
  2. Robert Provost (c. 1170-1225), a French poet and trouvère from Arras.
  3. Eugène Provost (1839-1909), a French architect and urban planner, known for his works in Paris and Brussels.
  4. Jean Provost (c. 1460-1529), a French poet and translator during the Renaissance period.
  5. Antoine François Provost (1768-1826), a French mathematician and physicist, best known for his contributions to probability theory.

The surname Provost has also been associated with various place names, such as Provost, a small town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and Provost, a community in Alberta, Canada, named after a prominent local family.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Provost

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

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 Provost was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 84.20% 7,361
Non-Hispanic Black Only 9.55% 835
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.40% 35
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.85% 162
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.42% 124
Hispanic Origin 2.57% 225

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 84.20% 86.11% -2.24%
Black 9.55% 8.93% 6.71%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.40% 0.42% -4.88%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.85% 1.67% 10.23%
Two or More Races 1.42% 1.35% 5.05%
Hispanic 2.57% 1.51% 51.96%

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

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

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

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

Provost 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.