Saturday, November 17, 2007

130k+ Chens, 400k+ Nguyens in the United States

New York Times reported on a Census Bureau analysis of last names in the United States. (Side note: The International Herald Tribune is also owned by the New York Times, so this makes two posts about NYT articles in the same day.) It was interesting to me to see the statistics behind some names.

For instance, if I make the assumption that there are about 350 million people in the United States, there are the following number of people with these respective family names:
Nguyen: 400,000
Kim: 250,000
Patel: 190,000
Chen: 130,000
Park: 105,000

I know there are a lot of Vietnamese living in the US, according to wikipedia (via since I can't actually access wikipedia in China) there were 1.2 million in 2000. That would mean 1/3 of all Vietnamese have the last name Nguyen.

As a consultant, I wish I had the raw census data historically as well so I could do comparison of trends. Potential changes include the popularity of Chinese pinyin spellings of Chinese surnames. For now, older Wade-Giles spellings (look it up on wikipedia, I can't paste the link) are still more popular. Here is the prevalence per 100,000 names.

Chang 26 vs. Zhang 12
Hsu 6 vs. Xu 5
Wong 37 vs. Wang 25
Ho 15 vs. He 3

No comments: