Most common full name in USA?

I’m trying to find out what are the most common full names (first and last together) in the USA. I can see from the U.S. Census that Smith is the most common last name and that Mary and James are the most common first names. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Mary Smith and James Smith are the most common full names. It could be that a name like Joe Black or something is the most common full name. So does anyone know of a resource which would give information about the common full names?

And, as a related question, does anyone know how many unique, full names are used in the USA?

I don’t know the answer to your questions, but to clarify, are you ignoring middle name(s) and suffixes in both questions?

The US Census should know the answers, in that the necessary data exists within the census; however, access to the data at an individual record level isn’t available for 70 years. The 1930 census won’t do you much good.

This would be ignoring middle names. Just first and last name.

I couldn’t find a place on the census site which had this information. I imagine the many white pages lookup sites could also figure this out, but I didn’t find anything there.

BTW, I did find what the most common full names were in Nova Scotia in case anyone was wondering. They are John MacDonald and Mary MacDonald. Coincidentally, MacDonald is also the most common surname.

There’s one more reference I found. The Monash University has done some analysis on the names of the students and faculty. For students, the most common surname is Wong (580), first name is David (899) and full name is Wai Chan (24). For faculty, the most common surname is Smith (55), first name is John (198) and full name is Michael Lee (4).

My guess would be John Smith. Just grab a phone book from any big city and you will see more John Smiths in there than anything.

Except El Paso. I don’t know what the most common name is hereabouts, but I betcha it ain’t John Smith.

I wonder how many farms there are in Nova Scotia …?


Not necessarily true, even in areas without large Hispanic or other minority populations.

For instance, the local phone book here (west suburbs of Portland) has 17 listings for John Smith, only one more than for James Smith. But it has 22 Richard Smiths, 25 Michael Smiths, and 33 David Smiths. Numbers for women’s names were much lower, but that’s a result of many women being jointly listed with their husbands or just using initials.


I have to insert this here or I will burst!

I used to teach at a community college, with a particularly pathetic colleague named John Smith (no, really!). The guy was a total bigot, and we had a very large number of international students who came to our college to improve their English while they accumulated credits to transfer to the nearby university. Anyway, the instructor had a few Middle Eastern students in his class most semesters. At the beginning of one semester in particular, he was taking role the first day of class. One Arabic student’s first name was Mohammad, and the instructor asked, “Why is it that all you A-rabs are named Muh-hammid?” Without missing a beat, the student looked him square in the eye and said, “I don’t know, but why are all you Americans named John Smith?”

True story! Many of the students in that class that day just HAD to stop by my office to tell me someone finally got their come-uppance with the business instructor!


72 years..