Rankin last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Rankin

A Scottish and Northern Irish surname derived from a diminutive of the given name Rand, meaning "shield-bearer."

Rankin, 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 Rankin surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Rankin in America

Rankin is the 1229th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Rankin surname appeared 28,821 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 10 people would have the surname Rankin.

We can also compare 2010 data for Rankin 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 1229 1148 6.82%
Count 28,821 27,989 2.93%
Proportion per 100k 9.77 10.38 -6.05%

The history of the last name Rankin

The surname Rankin originates from Scotland and is believed to have derived from the Gaelic word "rangan" or "raineach", meaning fern or bracken. It is likely that the name was initially given as a nickname to someone who lived near an area abundant with ferns or bracken.

The earliest recorded instances of the name can be traced back to the 12th century. In the Ragman Rolls of 1296, which contains the names of Scottish landowners and nobles who swore allegiance to King Edward I of England, several variations of the name, such as Rankin, Rankyn, and Ranken, are mentioned.

The name Rankin is also found in historical records from the 14th century, including the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland from 1364, where a Thomas Rankyn is mentioned. This suggests that the name was well-established in Scotland by this time.

One of the earliest known individuals with the surname Rankin was Robert Rankin, who lived in the 15th century and was a prominent landowner in Ayrshire, Scotland. Another notable figure was William Rankin (c. 1510-1590), a Scottish clergyman and reformer who played a significant role in the Scottish Reformation.

In the 16th century, the Rankin family had established themselves in various parts of Scotland, including Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, and Ayrshire. The name was also associated with the parish of Rankinston, which is now part of the town of Ayr.

Other notable individuals with the surname Rankin include:

  1. Thomas Rankin (1738-1810), an English Methodist minister and abolitionist who campaigned against slavery.
  2. Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973), an American politician and suffragist who was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
  3. Arthur Rankin Jr. (1924-2014), an American producer and director best known for creating the stop-motion animated television specials "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town".
  4. Ian Rankin (born 1960), a Scottish crime writer best known for his Inspector Rebus novels.
  5. Dexter Rankin (born 1974), a British boxer and former super bantamweight world champion.

While the Rankin surname has its roots in Scotland, it has since spread to other parts of the world, particularly through Scottish immigration to North America and other regions.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Rankin

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

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 Rankin was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 78.47% 22,616
Non-Hispanic Black Only 15.80% 4,554
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.53% 153
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.49% 141
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.06% 594
Hispanic Origin 2.65% 764

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 78.47% 80.76% -2.88%
Black 15.80% 15.17% 4.07%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.53% 0.48% 9.90%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.49% 0.45% 8.51%
Two or More Races 2.06% 1.41% 37.46%
Hispanic 2.65% 1.73% 42.01%

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

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

"Rankin last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com. Accessed on July 14, 2024. http://namecensus.com/last-names/rankin-surname-popularity/.

"Rankin last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/rankin-surname-popularity/. Accessed 14 July, 2024

Rankin last name popularity, history, and meaning. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/rankin-surname-popularity/.

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