Nguyen, Kim Top AA Surnames

ietnamese and Corean surnames lead the list of top Asian surnames among U.S. residents.
     It comes as little surprise that the most common surname in the U.S. (as of the 1990 census) was Smith, claiming 1.006% of the population, followed by Johnson (.810%), Williams (.699%), Jones (.0621%), Brown (.621%), Davis (.480%), Miller (.424%), Wilson (.339%), Moore (.312%) and in 10th place, Taylor (.311%). Some Asian Americans may be surprised to learn that no exclusively Asian surname figures in the top 200 surnames though Lee -- which could be Corean or Chinese but is more likely to be English -- is number 24 and is attached to .220% of the population, just behind Lewis and ahead of Walker. The only other surnames with Asian constituents among the top 100 are Young at number 28 and Long at number 86.
     A clearly Asian surname doesn't surface until Nguyen at number 229 with .046% of the population. Fully 26.608% of the U.S. population have surnames more common than Nguyen, the most common Vietnamese surname. Corean Kim follows closely at number 233 with .045% of the population -- about one in 2,100 people -- but ahead of waspy Jennings at 274. Given the fact that among Coreans Lee is nearly as common as Kim, and that quite a few Chinese use that spelling, the Asian Lee well might have figured ahead of Kim and Nguyen.
     The third most common Asian surname among the U.S. population is Tran, another Vietnamese name, at 476, claiming .024% of the U.S. population, well ahead of whitebread names like Horn (number 581), Conway (654), Nixon (661), Weiss (662) and Ellison (664). Then follow Chang (687), Chen (720), Chan (764), Yang (810), Le (975), Wang (1026), Lam (1217) and Ho (1275), just ahead of Greenwood (1276).
     The first Indian name to appear is Singh at 1306, ahead of waspy mainstays Bower (1383) and Nicholas (1384). It's followed by Chung (1385), Lin (1448), Pham (1455), Ham (1617), Xiong (1731), Yu (1734), Chin (1746), Wu (1789), with .007% of the U.S. population, ahead of Kimble (1818) and Presley (1825). The top 2000 U.S. surnames are rounded out by Cho (1903), Lim (1958) and Chu (1962), which figures just ahead of Prescott (1965).
     A major surprise is that Wong, often thought the most common Chinese surname, doesn't even figure in the top 2000. The results of this year's Census, when it becomes available, may correct that apparent anomaly. (6/28/00)


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