Keeping one's maiden name

What percentage of women in the various English-speaking countries (US, Canada, UK, etc.) keep their maiden name upon marriage?

I was interested to know this also. I want to know has there been any effect from immigration from places where every married woman keeps maiden name. I think this is the case for Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian. (Correct me if I am wrong).
Have the presense of these married people in Western countries convinced other women in Western countries to keep maiden name ?

Which of the following are you asking about?

  1. Keep maiden name legally and professionally/publicly

  2. Keep maiden name professionaly/publicly and change legal name

  3. Keep maiden name legally but change professional/public name

  4. Hyphenate maiden and husband’s name

I’ve known all of the above to occur.

Any of #1 to #3.

It isn’t an east-versus-west issue. It’s common, or even standard, in many European cultures for the woman to keep her maiden name upon marriage.

In Québec, ALL women who are married as of April 2, 1981 must use their maiden names legally. As a result, most seem to keep their maiden names socially as well, since having two names is inconvenient. That was my reasoning for not changing my name (i’m currently a resident of Ontario, so I could have, but then, I would have had to change it back when I moved to Quebec anyways).

With regards to name changes, Québec will approve changing the name to that of your spouse under certain circumstances, such as if you have children and want to all share the same name, but I believe that needs to undergo the full legal-name-change process, and for a cost. There is also a requirement to show that the new name has been used for some time (although that’s hard to prove, seeing as how you can’t change the name in the first place). It’s a time-consuming process. My understanding is that this has to do with the fact that Québec has a civil law system, and not a common law one, and somehow, that makes a difference (IANAL!)

It’s not just that. You still have to use your maiden name for medical records, even if you were using a married name when you moved to Canada after WWII.

In the US, it appears to be just under 20 percent for college-educated women, but the figures may be skewed towards the Northeastern and higher-socioeconomic-status populations:

I’d guess that the percentage would be smaller for US women as a whole, but another survey found it was about 18% for a sample (a rather small sample, though) not selected for geographical region or education level.

Fun fact:

Interesting. I’ve never heard this. Does Quebec allow residents to legal change their names for other reasons? Or are you “stuck” with your birthname forever?

Also, do you know what reasoning was given for this when it was originally instated?

I’ve never tried to change my name, so I don’t know what the procedure would be, but I’m sure it can be done, and mnemosyne’s post says that it can be done, although a fee and paperwork is required. As she says, Quebec uses a civil law system, which might be part of the reason why changing one’s name requires some paperwork since in common law systems, your name is usually the one you choose to use, which makes changing it theoretically easy, while in a civil law system, your name is more fixed. On the other hand, I’ve heard on this board people complaining about government clerks refusing to accept their identity papers if the names on them differ even very slightly, so I guess the difference isn’t that big in practice. I’m sure a lawyer could shed more light on this.

As to the original reason why newly married women weren’t automatically given the option of changing their names anymore, I don’t know, but I think it makes sense: why should it be otherwise? If they want to change their name, they can, but why should it be specifically offered to them when they marry? Of course, I’m young, so to me a woman changing her name when she marries isn’t as natural as it would be to someone older.

Just as a bit of trivia, when someone becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States, he or she is given another “free” name change opportunity.

At least in Spanish-speaking nations, the way it works is First Name Second Name Paternal Name/Maiden Name (de/of) Husband’s Paternal Name. For example. Single lady by name of Maria Teresa Gonzalez Ramirez. FirstName SecondName Paternal LastName MaternalLast Name. Marries Jose Agustin Rodriguez Rodriguez. She then becomes Maria Teresa Gonzalez de Rodriguez. “De” in this case is translated as “of” (Maria Teresa Gonzalez of Rodriguez). Sometime a woman may elongate it. Using our example: Maria Teresa Gonzalez Ramirez de Rodriguez.

You also get a free one if you want to go back to your maiden name after divorce (at least in California.) It’s just a box that you check on one of the many forms that you have to file.