Robinson Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Robinson, 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 Robinson surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Robinson is a patronymic name that derives from the given name Robin. Pre-Medieval naming practices often use son as a suffix to a given name to create the meaning “son of.” The given name Robin is itself a minimized nickname for the common name Robert. Robert is made up of two pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon words hrothi (fame) and bertha (bright).

It was likely a character of folklore that popularized the common name Robin. In British folklore, Robin Goodfellow was considered a mischievous native spirit who was personified in the medieval character of the Puck. When a name such as Robin becomes popular as a given name the next step is for that name to pass down to denote the “son of Robin” or Robinson.

Helen Ring Robinson (1878–1923), who was born in Eastport, Maine was a suffrage supporter and politician. Robinson grew up in New England attending the private women’s liberal arts college Wellesley. In 1895 Robinson moved to Denver, Colorado where she first taught at Wolfe Hall and then the Wolcott School for Girls.

Helen began her political career after first leading a crusade against the poor quality of water service in Denver. She was convinced to run for office, winning a Colorado Senate seat in 1912, becoming only the second woman to do so. Robinson was very progressive in her views and passed new laws which included a minimum wage for women. She also passed abatement laws on property being used for prostitution. The ultimate goal was to move women away from that profession.

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

According to the data, Robinson is ranked #30 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Robinson surname appeared 529,821 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 179.61 would have the surname Robinson.

We can also compare 2010 data for Robinson 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 30 27 10.53%
Count 529,821 503,028 5.19%
Proportion per 100k 179.61 186.47 -3.75%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Robinson

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

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 Robinson was:

  • 48.70%, or 258,023 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 44.93%, or 238,049 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.46%, or 2,437 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.53%, or 2,808 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.77%, or 14,676 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.61%, or 13,828 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 Robinson has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 48.70% 51.34% -5.28%
Black 44.93% 44.10% 1.86%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.46% 0.37% 21.69%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.53% 0.51% 3.85%
Two or More Races 2.77% 1.99% 32.77%
Hispanic 2.61% 1.68% 43.36%

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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