Keeping up with the Olsons! Map reveals most distinctive surnames from each state (with no Smith or Jones in sight)
- Jensen is the most common distinctive last name in six states: Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming
- Washington is the most distinctive in three: Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina
- Writer Simon Davis says he 'calculated the difference between the state and national prevalence of each of the top 250 last names nationwide'
A map of the United States reveals what the most distinctive surnames are for each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia.
Jensen is the most common distinctive last name in six states: Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
Washington is the most distinctive in three states: Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. It is also the most distinctive in the District of Columbia.
The findings were unveiled by Mental Floss writer Simon Davis.
Did your last name make the cut? A map of the United States reveals what the most distinctive surnames are for each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia
Davis wrote online: 'I calculated the difference between the state and national prevalence of each of the top 250 last names nationwide, based on Social Security Administration data.
'The highest value gives the last name that is most distinctive to that state.'
He explained that 'By and large, the results are reflective of each state's demographics and immigration history.
'In New England and Appalachia, Irish and English names dominate (Walsh, Sullivan, Payne). In the Midwest and Mountain States, German and Scandinavian names are common (Jensen, Snyder, Carlson).'
In New York state, the most distinctive last name was Cohen. Pictured is New York City (file)
Harvard University's Open Collections Program says online: 'The Homestead Act of 1862, which gave free land to settlers who developed it for at least five years, was a particular magnet for Norwegians, Danes, and Swedes.'
It explains: 'Norwegians favored Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Danes settled primarily in the agricultural regions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas, while Swedes settled across the entire upper Midwest.
'Finns built their new lives on the farms and lumber mills of the upper Midwest, the mines of the West, and the factories of the industrial Northeast.'
Mental Floss writer Simon Davis said 'By and large, the results are reflective of each state's demographics and immigration history' (stock)
According to Davis with Mental Floss, 'In California, Florida, and the Southwest, it's Latino names (Lopez, Hernandez, Gonzalez). New York and New Jersey's Jewish communities also show up (Cohen, Schwartz, Hoffman).'
The US Census Bureau says on its website that in California, 38.8 per cent of the population was estimated to be Hispanic or Latino as of July 2015, while 30.7 per cent were estimated to be Hispanic or Latino in Arizona.
In Florida, 24.5 per cent were estimated to be Hispanic or Latino as of July 2015, and 38.8 per cent were estimated to be Hispanic or Latino in Texas.
A study revealed about four per cent of the New York population identified as Jewish adherents, making the Empire State the most Jewish in the US, the Huffington Post reported in 2012.
The most common last names from the Census 2000 are Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller, Davis, Garcia, Rodriguez, and Wilson in descending order, the US Census Bureau says.
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