You probably know America’s most common last names: Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones and Brown. According to U.S. Census data, those names are the most prevalent in America. But that doesn’t apply to each state. As you well know, each state has a distinct culture.
Mental Floss writer Simon Davis took on the task of determining the most distinctive names by state.
“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,” writes Davis. “The highest value gives the last name that is most distinctive to that state.”
You’ll find some interesting patterns in his findings. Latino names are common in the Southwestern states that border Mexico. In the Northwest, the most typical last names end in some variation of “son.” Overall, the surnames Washington and Jensen appear the most.