Young Last Name Popularity, Meaning and Origin

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

Young, 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 Young surname is from the 2010 census data.

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

The surname of Young is a descriptive name that was often used as a way to denote a difference between two individuals with the same given name. As it was not unusual in Medieval England to give two male children the same name, Young was often attributed to the younger of two brothers or also to a son who shared his father's given name. It essentially became a nickname.

As it was not uncommon for nicknames to become family names this is likely what occurred in the case of the Young surname. Those who looked young or were “young at heart” may also be nicknamed young and may potentially originate the Young surname.

The earliest known spelling of the Young name was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Walter Yonge is mentioned in these rolls in 1292. An earlier record mentions Wilfred the son of Young in the 744 AD Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.

Brigham Young (June 1, 1801 – August 29, 1877) who was born in Vermont, USA was an American religious leader and politician. Associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) Young originally was a reformed Methodist but upon reading the Book of Mormon became intrigued. Upon the assassination of church leader Joseph Young in 1844 and the ensuing succession crisis, Young, who looked and sounded like Smith, rose to become the second president of the church.

Edward Young (3 July 1683 – 5 April 1765) was the son of a clergyman and notable English poet. Educated at Winchester College, Young was a prolific poet whose most memorable work is likely Night-Thoughts. This was a series of philosophical writings written in blank verse. It was a testament to his state of mind following a series of difficult bereavements.

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

According to the data, Young is ranked #32 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

The Young surname appeared 484,447 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 164.23 would have the surname Young.

We can also compare 2010 data for Young 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 32 31 3.17%
Count 484,447 465,948 3.89%
Proportion per 100k 164.23 172.73 -5.05%

Race and Ethnic Origin of People with the Last Name Young

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

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 Young was:

  • 66.26%, or 320,995 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic White Only".
  • 24.67%, or 119,513 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Black Only".
  • 3.03%, or 14,679 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only".
  • 0.79%, or 3,827 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native".
  • 2.66%, or 12,886 total occurrences, were "Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races".
  • 2.58%, or 12,499 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 Young has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 66.26% 68.91% -3.92%
Black 24.67% 23.79% 3.63%
Asian and Pacific Islander 3.03% 2.95% 2.68%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.79% 0.73% 7.89%
Two or More Races 2.66% 1.93% 31.81%
Hispanic 2.58% 1.69% 41.69%

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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