We're still a nation of Smiths 2007.11.21

Written by David Green.

What’s the most popular last name in the Morenci area?

Using the telephone book as a guide, Smith is tops with nearly twice as many families as the next challenger, the Williams families.

That makes sense. According to the U.S. name count released last week by the Census Bureau, Smith is still the most popular surname in America.

Morenci falls a little short on Johnson, the second most popular name in the country, but Williams comes in third nationwide, just as it did 10 years earlier in the 1990 census.

There aren’t many changes at all in the top seven names, but after that the Wilsons, the Andersons and the Taylors move aside for the growing number of Hispanic names making their way into the top 10.

Garcia moved up 10 places to number eight and Rodriguez jumped 13 places to number nine. Martinez moves from number 19 to the 11th spot and Hernandez rises from 29 to 15. Lopez and Gonzales aren’t far behind.

An article in the New York Times points out that the number of Hispanics living in the United States grew by 58 percent in the 1990s. By the time of the 2000 census, 13 percent of the population claimed Hispanic ancestry.

That influx hasn’t yet caught up in Morenci.

The city does have a lot of Clarks—25th most popular nationwide—and also a lot  of Blakers and Bortons, but those two names don’t even make the list of the top 5,000 names.

Sallows doesn’t make the list, either, but Davis remains strong as the seventh most popular, Wilson holds on to the 10th spot and Taylor stands at number 13.

Morenci has several Valentines—834th and falling, stuck now between Arroyo and Meza—and a few families of Sutherland—1,128th, just ahead of Fink.

Equally popular here is Jarrell—2,504th, ahead of Certa and Ellsworth—and Ries—4,658th, right behind Peeples.

Reading down the list of the most popular, every name might sound familiar around here until you reach number 57 where Nguyen now stands. The southeast Asia name jumped up 172 places since 1990.

A few of the other rising names that haven’t reached this area include Patel (172nd), Chen (260th), Wong (182) and Maldonado (316).

The 2000 U.S. Census led to a list of about six million surnames. Despite the diversity of nomenclature, a fourth of the population shares only 275 names. There are about 2.4 million Smiths—still number one despite a decline of a million compared to 1984 Social Security Administration data—and there are 1.8 million Johnsons.

On the other hand, four million names are used by only one person each.

• To check out your name on the New York Times interactive chart, visit the Observer’s website (http://statelineobserver.com) and type “census” into the search bar. The post titled “A Nation of Smiths” includes the link to the Times article.

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