Scott Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Scott, 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 Scott surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Scott derives from the ancient Gaels who originated in Ireland. As a name, it comes from the Old English (pre โ€“ 7th century) word Scotti, a name given to the Irish conquerors of western Scotland, around the 5th century. Although originally intended to describe the invaders, it eventually came to describe all inhabitants of Scotland.

It was initially intended as a term of insult but over time it was embraced by the population and eventually actually became a family name. Early versions of the name likely came about as a locational description for a person from Scotland. In order to better identify a person, it was common practice to use their given name with the addition of โ€œofโ€ and then the place they came from. In the case of the surname Scott the individual would be termed Scotti.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott (6 June 1868 โ€“ c. 29 March 1912) was probably best known as Scott of the Antarctic. An explorer and Royal Navy officer, Scott led two expeditions to the Antarctic region in a bid to be the first to reach the South Pole. Scott's first expedition was as part of a research mission between 1901 and 1903.

The second fateful expedition was between 1910 to 1913 and was beset with problems and tragedy. In 1911 Scott and a small group from the expedition made an attempt on the South Pole. After an exhausting month and a half of walking, the group discovered they had been beaten to the pole by another explorer. On the march home, the entire group was deflated as evidenced from Scott's diary entries. The bodies of the small group of explorers were discovered in November 1912 by a search party, they had all succumbed to the cold.

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

According to the data, Scott is ranked #36 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Scott surname appeared 439,530 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 149.00 would have the surname Scott.

We can also compare 2010 data for Scott 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 36 36 0.00%
Count 439,530 420,091 4.52%
Proportion per 100k 149.00 155.73 -4.42%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Scott

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

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 Scott was:

  • 60.21%, or 264,641 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 32.92%, or 144,693 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 0.51%, or 2,242 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 1.18%, or 5,186 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.59%, or 11,384 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.58%, or 11,340 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 Scott has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 60.21% 62.60% -3.89%
Black 32.92% 32.26% 2.03%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.51% 0.41% 21.74%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.18% 1.15% 2.58%
Two or More Races 2.59% 1.90% 30.73%
Hispanic 2.58% 1.68% 42.25%

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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