The history of your name

The KELLY surname in the USA

Frequency Comparisons
Total Rank Frequency % Per million people
United States
United States (Current snapshot) 260,385 69 0.097 965
United States (1880 census) 72,857 44 0.146 1,457
Change since 1880 +187528 -25 -0.049 -492
Other Countries
Australia 25,014 19 0.153 1,530
United Kingdom 74,527 50 0.162 1,623
Top States for KELLY by Total
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
New York 20,384 32 0.107 1,074
California 18,559 135 0.055 548
Florida 18,322 63 0.115 1,146
Pennsylvania 17,623 26 0.143 1,435
Texas 13,343 160 0.064 640
Top States for KELLY by Frequency
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
Massachusetts 10,626 18 0.167 1,674
South Carolina 6,349 63 0.158 1,583
Pennsylvania 17,623 26 0.143 1,435
Mississippi 3,991 77 0.140 1,403
New Jersey 11,509 24 0.137 1,368


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

Classification and Origin of KELLY

Region of origin: British Isles

Country of origin: Ireland

Language of origin: Gaelic

Ethnic origin: Celtic

Religious origin: Christian

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

Classification Total Percent
White (Caucasian) 209,324 80.39
Black/African American 40,308 15.48
White (Hispanic) 4,505 1.73
Mixed Race 3,515 1.35
Asian/Pacific 1,276 0.49
Native American/Alaskan 1,432 0.55

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

Meaning of KELLY in historical publications

KELLY. KELLEY. The Kelleys were in old times resident in the parish of that name in Devonshire, and the Irish Kellys, now very numerous, bear the same arms. According to the genenlogy in B.L.G., the Kellys of Kelly " may look back beyond the Conquest and derive themselves from the ancient Britons !" Mr. Shirley says: " Kelly is a manor in the hundred of Lifton, about six miles from Tavistock. The manor and advowson have been in the family at least from the thue of Henry II, and here they have uninterruptedly resided since that very early period." Noble and Gentle Men, p. 59. Tlie similar name Kellie is a diminutive of Charles. See Kell.

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

(origin: Gaelic and Welsh.) A grove, generally of hazel. Kill or Cille, in the Gaelic and Celtic, denotes a church.

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

Similar names to KELLY

The following names have similar spellings or pronunciations as KELLY.

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 KELLY

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