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The United States Of Last Names [Infographic]

The USA is comprised of the Jones and Williams, but also the Garcias and Lees and this infographic shows which are most common in each state.

Kyana Gordon
Kyana Gordon on January 19, 2011. @Tropikyana

The United States of Last Names provides a new perspective of the country, as each state is made up of the most common surnames, displaying a location based visual of America’s settler and immigration history. Information culled from phone books provided geographers at the University College of London with the data points for the above infographic and software aided in identifying the 181 names that emerged. Interesting factors arose after delving into the map. One, the large number of names that originate from England, reflecting the British’s head start in colonization. Another point echoing history relates to the last name Smith. Slaves frequently took their owners’ names, which is probably why one in five Americans now named Smith are African-American. Project member, James Cheshire’s statement addresses the issue of the map’s scale:

“If we did a map of New York like this, the diversity would be phenomenal”—a testament to that city’s role as a once-and-present gateway to America.”

Click for a larger version of the map

University College of London

[via National Geographic Magazine blog]

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