Roberts Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Roberts, 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 Roberts surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Roberts derives from the common given name Robert. It is based on the pre-7th century Germanic word Hrodbeorht which is made up of hrod (renown) and beorht (bright). In early use Robert was commonly used in Christianity as a ceremonial baptismal name. This was a name given at baptism that may or may not be used as a given name.

Popular in Wales the name Roberts is patronymic and based on Welsh naming practices. Historically, the addition of the suffix “s” at the end of a given name in Wales denotes the meaning “son of.” Therefore, based on Welsh naming practices the name Roberts translates as “son of Robert.”

In the late 13th century there are recorded instances of the name Robert used as a family name. It wasn’t until 1327 that the first instance of a Roberts-like name was recorded. Richard Roberdes is mentioned in the Subsidiary Rolls of Worcestershire, England.

Sir William Roberts (1605–1662), was knighted by James I of England in 1624 and served for Charles I. Despite his royal connections, however, at the onset of the English Civil War Sir William sided with the parliamentarians. Taking an important clerical role during the war and beyond, Sir William used his skills to raise funds for the army and sell off Royalist properties after the Parliamentarians won.

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

According to the data, Roberts is ranked #50 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Roberts surname appeared 376,774 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 127.73 would have the surname Roberts.

We can also compare 2010 data for Roberts 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 50 45 10.53%
Count 376,774 366,215 2.84%
Proportion per 100k 127.73 135.75 -6.09%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Roberts

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

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 Roberts was:

  • 77.27%, or 291,133 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 16.72%, or 62,997 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.61%, or 2,298 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.85%, or 3,203 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.15%, or 8,101 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.40%, or 9,043 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 Roberts has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 77.27% 79.56% -2.92%
Black 16.72% 15.86% 5.28%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.61% 0.47% 25.93%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.85% 0.85% 0.00%
Two or More Races 2.15% 1.67% 25.13%
Hispanic 2.40% 1.58% 41.21%

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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  • "Roberts Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin". Accessed on February 26, 2024.

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