Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Most Common First Letter for Last Names

I realize this is pretty uninteresting information for most of my blog readers. But I am placing it within my blog for my own future reference and also for the reference of the world wide web.

I found the most common Last Names quite easily at About.com BUT Smith being the most popular last name does not necessarily mean that S is the most popular letter. For example -- Johnson and Jones are both in the top 5 popular names totaling about 1.2 million more then Smith (2.7m vs 3.9 (2.2 and 1.7m)).So what this all means is that I had to do some extra work-and count for myself.

These are my results:
#1: W - 5.854 million
#2: J - 5.347 million
#3: M - 4.854 million
#4: S - 4.53 million
#5: B - 4.131 million
#6: R - 3.774 million
#7: H - 3.397 million
#8: T - 3.17 million
#9: C - 3.066 million
#10: P - 2.573 million
#11: G - 2.422 million
#12: A - 2.118 million
#13: L - 1.996 million
#14: D - 1.553 million
#15: K - 804,000
#16: E - 765,000
#17: Y - 531,000
#18: F - 503,000
#19: N - 446,000

Now, please keep in mind that you may want to double check my math. My source is About.com and I don't know how accurate it is but for my own purposes, it was accurate enough.


  1. I cannopt thank you enougg for this info! I am puttingon an event and need to know how to break down the will call, last name lines. I found this blog invaluable!

    Alicia, Seattle

  2. Alicia, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad someone found that tid bit of random information helpful!

  3. I also found this SOOOOOO helpful! Thank you for your effort!

  4. Thanks for putting this here: I had a sudden bust of curiosity (seeing most of my phone Contacts had a last name beginning with 'S') and, frankly, did not expect to find this sort of list. But my curiosity is satisfied!

  5. Thanks for the info, it sure saved me some time!! Awesome.

  6. Very interesting to me!! I am embroidering some monogramed keyfobs to sell at a craft show and wondered what letters were most commonly used to help me decide how many to make. This information is very helpful to me....Thanks Pamelia

  7. Well, we think this is interesting information because we are putting together our hold shelf boxes at my store....needed to know how to arrange the boxes.


  8. Thank you! Very useful!!

  9. exactly what I was looking for! I love the internet

  10. List I had only went to 19 and I tried all I could to get to remainder of list. I need this info for a project with a deadline of 5/23. If I missed a way to get to the rest of the list, please advise. LOL. I really appreciate

  11. List I had only went to 19 and I tried all I could to get to remainder of list. I need this info for a project with a deadline of 5/23. If I missed a way to get to the rest of the list, please advise. LOL. Thanks so much in advance. Also, this site was a life-saver!!!!

  12. Thank you. I'm creating a reading journal, and this will help me determine how many pages to allocate to authors' last names.

  13. Thanks so much for posting this! Helpful for monogramming!

  14. This info is very helpful. I do quilled monogram art and I am doing a craft fair in a month and wanted to have some pre-made. Now I know what letters to do.

  15. Just what i needed to know. Thanks

  16. I didn't actually think I would find this info! Thanks for posting! My work is done!

  17. I had to break down a list of over 1650 names and divide it fairly evenly between 15 colleagues. This information helped my process immensely. Thank you for contributing and sharing this research, Vannessa! Hope Cole is doing great in Kindergarten :)

  18. Like John S. This important to me b/c of work...my employer just divided my workload up with my peer by using the alphabet. She's always paranoid with thinking she is assigned the bulk of the work in the office...researched visitor I'd have proof in advance that her letters would potentially generate less or more work. I think this list will prove I have more and considering the letters missing are mostly hers I think I'll have an argument! I don't mind having more to do as I actually understand the work.:) thanks for posting!

  19. Fascinating! I sampled surnames of 330 thousand australian soldiers (from 1st world war) & the letter M is by far the most common for a surname to start with, w being the 6th most prevalent.
    Kind regards, Mark from Canberra

  20. Thanks. You never know what tidbit is just the one somebody is looking for. I do funeral programs and want to personalize them with an embossed letter for either the first or last name of the deceased. Embossers are expensive, and I wanted to order as few as possible. So far an "S" works for most of my "clients." I think I'll order an "S," "W," "J" and "B" to start.

  21. Here are all of the letters...
    A 3.97%
    B 7.73%
    C 5.74%
    D 2.91%
    E 1.43%
    F 0.94%
    G 4.53%
    H 6.36%
    I 0.14%
    J 10.01%
    K 1.51%
    L 3.74%
    M 9.09%
    N 0.83%
    O 1.35%
    P 4.82%
    Q 0.07%
    R 7.07%
    S 8.48%
    T 5.93%
    U 0.05%
    V 1.11%
    W 10.96%
    X 0.05%
    Y 0.99%
    Z 0.20%

    1. Thank you for giving all 26. I don't know why there were 7 letters left out in the article.

  22. Very useful. I share a call list with 2 co-workers of 400+ people and wondering how to divide the list as evenly as possible. We discussed dividing the alphabet by 3, a-h, i-q and r-z, but I believe the person taking the middle part of the alphabet would end up with a much larger list.. This certainly helps. Thank you.

  23. I did a similar survey of all the Major League baseball players from the beginning,around 1880's; source ESPN.
    From a population of about 19,000 the top ten are:
    1. M-1972
    2. S-1839
    3. B-1804
    4. C-1471
    5. H-1369
    6. W-1049
    7. R-1037
    8. G-1022
    9. D-925
    10. P-899

    On the player list J-16, T-14.

  24. Thank you for this. I'm trying to get my classes to fill in a bunch of different surveys, wanted to break them up by register order, and realised that different points in the register will be weighted differently. Excellent having this information just sitting on the internet, waiting to be found.

  25. Was at a carnival years ago and a barker in the midway said he could guess the first initial of my mothers maiden name. When he guessed E,(correctly),I thought well 1 in 26 chance. the list above proves it was much lower than that!!!! the dude was good.

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  27. Invaluable aid for organizing my Rotary Club badges box, including the permanent badge numbers, but leaving appropriate space for new members. Thank you so much for doing this and for posting it.


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