The history of your name

The BELL surname in the USA

Frequency Comparisons
Total Rank Frequency % Per million people
United States
United States (Current snapshot) 264,752 67 0.098 981
United States (1880 census) 66,478 51 0.133 1,330
Change since 1880 +198274 -16 -0.035 -349
Other Countries
Australia 18,382 48 0.112 1,124
United Kingdom 76,635 48 0.167 1,669
Top States for BELL by Total
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
Texas 22,116 85 0.106 1,061
California 19,047 131 0.056 562
Florida 17,348 66 0.109 1,085
Georgia 13,061 44 0.160 1,595
Ohio 11,876 59 0.105 1,046
Top States for BELL by Frequency
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
Mississippi 5,479 48 0.193 1,926
Alabama 7,919 56 0.178 1,781
Georgia 13,061 44 0.160 1,595
Tennessee 9,038 59 0.159 1,589
South Carolina 6,288 67 0.157 1,567


'A figure of zero indicates that we don't have data for this name (usually because it's quite uncommon and our stats don't go down that far). It doesn't mean that there's no-one with that name at all!

For less common surnames, the figures get progressively less reliable the fewer holders of that name there are. This data is aggregated from several public lists, and some stats are interpolated from known values. The margin of error is well over 100% at the rarest end of the table!

For less common surnames, the frequency and "per million" values may be 0 even though there are people with that name. That's because they represent less than one in a million of the population, which ends up as 0 after rounding.

It's possible for a surname to gain in rank and/or total while being less common per million people (or vice versa) as there are now more surnames in the USA as a result of immigration. In mathematical terms, the tail has got longer, with a far larger number of less common surnames.

Figures for top states show firstly the states where most people called BELL live. This obviously tends to be biased towards the most populous states. The second set of figures show where people called BELL represent the biggest proportion of the population. So, in this case, there are more people called BELL in Texas than any other state, but you are more likely to find a BELL by picking someone at random in Mississippi than anywhere else.

Classification and Origin of BELL

Region of origin: British Isles

Country of origin: England

Language of origin: English

Ethnic origin: English

Religious origin: Christian

Name derivation: Occupational Name

Data for religion and/or language relates to the culture in which the BELL surname originated. It does not necessarily have any correlation with the language spoken, or religion practised, by the majority of current American citizens with that name.

Data for ethnic origin relates to the region and country in which the BELL surname originated. It does not necessarily have any correlation with the ethnicity of the majority of current American citizens with that name.

Ethnic distribution of BELL in the USA

Classification Total Percent
White (Caucasian) 168,303 63.57
Black/African American 84,138 31.78
Mixed Race 4,766 1.8
White (Hispanic) 4,104 1.55
Native American/Alaskan 2,383 0.9
Asian/Pacific 1,085 0.41

Ethnic distribution data shows the number and percentage of people with the BELL surname who reported their ethnic background as being in these broad categories in the most recent national census.

Meaning of BELL in historical publications

A name taken from the sign of an inn or shop. The sign of a bell was frequently used. "John at the Bell" became "John Bell." Bel, French, beautiful, handsome, fine.

Arthur, William (1857) An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain.

BELL. This common surname is doubtless le Bel, 0. Fr. for fine, handsome ; and in this form it is found in the H.R. The chief habitation of the Bells has long been on the Scottish border. In a MS. of 1590, relating to the defences of that district, we find in Cumberland, under Bridekirk, this entiy : " About them is a great surname of Bells and Cavlisles, who have been long in feud Avith the Irwyns." Again : " In Gilsland is no great surname : the Belles is the most." Archffiolog. XXII. p. 169—70.

Lower, Mark A (1860) Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom. London: J.R. Smith. Public Domain.

Similar names to BELL

The following names have similar spellings or pronunciations as BELL.

This does not necessarily imply a direct relationship between the names, but may indicate names that could be mistaken for this one when written down or misheard.

Matches are generated automatically by a combination of Soundex, Metaphone and Levenshtein matching.

Potential typos for BELL

The following words are slight variants of BELL that are likely to be possible typos or misspellings in written material.