The history of your name

The KENNEDY surname in the USA

Frequency Comparisons
Total Rank Frequency % Per million people
United States
United States (Current snapshot) 171,636 130 0.064 636
United States (1880 census) 40,566 113 0.081 811
Change since 1880 +131070 -17 -0.017 -175
Other Countries
Australia 14,276 71 0.087 873
United Kingdom 35,335 131 0.077 769
Top States for KENNEDY by Total
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
California 12,373 217 0.037 365
Texas 10,900 207 0.052 523
Florida 10,456 132 0.065 654
Pennsylvania 9,558 67 0.078 778
New York 9,057 116 0.048 477
Top States for KENNEDY by Frequency
State Total Rank in State Frequency % Per million people
South Carolina 4,193 111 0.105 1,045
Mississippi 2,885 120 0.101 1,014
Maine 1,241 133 0.097 973
Alabama 4,310 125 0.097 969
Massachusetts 5,554 78 0.087 875


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

Classification and Origin of KENNEDY

Region of origin: British Isles

Country of origin: Scotland

Language of origin: Gaelic

Ethnic origin: Celtic

Religious origin: Christian

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

Classification Total Percent
Asian/Pacific 790 0.46
White (Caucasian) 142,406 82.97
Black/African American 22,278 12.98
Mixed Race 2,403 1.4
White (Hispanic) 2,695 1.57
Native American/Alaskan 1,064 0.62

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

Meaning of KENNEDY in historical publications

From the Gaelic or Celtic words Kean-na-ty; the head of the house, or chief of the clan. Ceannaide signifies also a shopkeeper, a merchant.

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

KENNEDY. Celtic. Cean-7ia-tighe, meaning, it is said, the head of a sept or clan. The family descend from the ancient earls of Carrick in Ayrshire, and seem to have changed their name from Carrick to Kennedy in the XIV. cent. The chief was K. of Dunure, afterwards Earl of Cassilis (now Marquis of Ailsa). In the XVI. cent, the power of tliis great house in the shires of Ayr and Galloway was set forth in a popular rhyme : —

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 KENNEDY

The following names have similar spellings or pronunciations as KENNEDY.

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 KENNEDY

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