Rooney last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Rooney

Descendant of Ruadhán, an Irish given name meaning "little red-haired one" or "little red one."

Rooney, 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 Rooney surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Rooney in America

Rooney is the 2156th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Rooney surname appeared 16,823 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 6 people would have the surname Rooney.

We can also compare 2010 data for Rooney 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 2156 2450 -12.77%
Count 16,823 13,527 21.72%
Proportion per 100k 5.70 5.01 12.89%

The history of the last name Rooney

The surname Rooney is of Irish origin, deriving from the Gaelic Ó Ruanaidh or Ó Rónáin, meaning "descendant of Rónán". Rónán was a popular personal name in ancient Ireland, derived from the word "rón", meaning a seal or sea lion.

The name is believed to have originated in County Donegal, particularly in the Rosses area and the Inishowen peninsula. It was among the principal families of the Cenél Conaill dynasty that ruled this region from the 5th to the 12th century.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the name can be found in the Annals of the Four Masters, a chronicle of medieval Irish history. In the year 1143, it mentions the death of "Annadh Ua Ruanaidh, chief of Muintir-Ruanaidh".

The surname Rooney is also found in various historical documents from the 16th century onwards, such as the Fiants of the Tudor Sovereigns and the Hearth Money Rolls of the 17th century.

Notable historical figures with the surname Rooney include:

  1. Sir Andrew Rooney (c. 1500-1558), an Irish judge and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.
  2. Andrew Rooney (1919-2011), an American radio and television writer and commentator.
  3. John Rooney (c. 1590-1650), an Irish Catholic bishop and theologian.
  4. Patrick Rooney (1779-1858), an Irish-American businessman and landowner in Pennsylvania.
  5. Dan Rooney (1932-2017), an American sports executive and former United States Ambassador to Ireland.

The surname has also been associated with various place names in Ireland, such as Rooneystown (County Donegal) and Rooneyville (County Mayo), reflecting the historical presence of families bearing this name in these areas.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Rooney

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

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 Rooney was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 93.71% 15,765
Non-Hispanic Black Only 1.56% 262
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.66% 111
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.24% 40
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.30% 219
Hispanic Origin 2.53% 426

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

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 93.71% 95.59% -1.99%
Black 1.56% 1.21% 25.27%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.66% 0.43% 42.20%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.24% 0.35% -37.29%
Two or More Races 1.30% 0.89% 37.44%
Hispanic 2.53% 1.54% 48.65%

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

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

Reference this page

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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!

"Rooney last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 14, 2024.

"Rooney last name popularity, history, and meaning"., Accessed 14 July, 2024

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