The history of your name

The CLAY surname in the USA

Frequency Comparisons
Total Rank Frequency % Per million people
United States
United States (Current snapshot) 46,264 677 0.017 172
United States (1880 census) 12,589 469 0.025 252
Change since 1880 +33675 -208 -0.008 -80
Other Countries
Australia 1,037 1591 0.006 63
United Kingdom 7,048 890 0.015 153
Top States for CLAY by Total
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
Texas 4,329 613 0.021 208
Ohio 2,883 440 0.025 254
California 2,819 1240 0.008 83
Georgia 2,602 409 0.032 318
Florida 2,188 989 0.014 137
Top States for CLAY by Frequency
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
West Virginia 1,156 208 0.064 639
Mississippi 1,669 252 0.059 587
Alabama 1,638 468 0.037 368
Arkansas 961 365 0.036 359
Louisiana 1,450 455 0.032 324


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

Classification and Origin of CLAY

Region of origin: British Isles

Country of origin: England

Language of origin: English

Ethnic origin: English

Religious origin: Christian

Name derivation: Location or Geographical Feature

Data for religion and/or language relates to the culture in which the CLAY 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 CLAY 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 CLAY in the USA

Classification Total Percent
Mixed Race 958 2.07
White (Hispanic) 657 1.42
Native American/Alaskan 440 0.95
Asian/Pacific 148 0.32
White (Caucasian) 25,630 55.4
Black/African American 18,427 39.83

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

Meaning of CLAY in historical publications

(origin: Local) A town of France in Seine. A lake on the isle of Lewis, Scotland. Clee, hills in Wales. Cle, left-handed, a place lying to the left, in relation to another place. Cledh, cloid, and cladd, in the Gaelic, Welsh, and British, signify a ditch, a trench, a wall; cladh, a church-yard; cledd, Welsh, a sword; Gaelic, claiheamb, from which we have Claymore, a large sword. The same word in Welsh and Gaelic that signifies a river is often applied to a sword, from their resemblance in glittering brightness.

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

CLAY. Several localities bear this name, but the surname must sometimes have been adopted from residence in a clayey district. The forms in the H.R. are Cley, Clai, in le Clay, del Clay, and de la Cleje. Le Clayere may be synonymous, although a Cleymanne was, according to the Promptorium Parvulorum, a dauber or plasterer.

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 CLAY

The following names have similar spellings or pronunciations as CLAY.

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 CLAY

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