Explore the Family Name Anderson

The meaning of Anderson

1. Scottish and northern English: patronymic from the personal name Ander(s), a northern Middle English form of Andrew, + son ‘son’. The frequency of the surname in Scotland is attributable, at least in part, to the fact that Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, so the personal name has long enjoyed great popularity there. Legend has it that the saint’s relics were taken to Scotland in the 4th century by a certain Saint Regulus. In North America, this surname has absorbed many cognate or like-sounding surnames in other languages, notably Scandinavian (see 3 and 4 below), but also Ukrainian Andreychenko etc. 2. German: patronymic from the personal name Anders, hence a cognate of 1 above. 3. Americanized form (and a less common Swedish variant) of Swedish Andersson, a cognate of 1 above. 4. Americanized form of Norwegian, Danish, and North German Andersen or Anderssen, cognates of 1 above. History: The surname Anderson (see 1) was particularly common among 18th-century Scotch-Irish settlers in PA and VA.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Anderson in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Anderson has seen a slight decline in rank from 2000 to 2010, moving from 12th place to 15th place, indicating a drop of 25%. However, despite this decrease in rank, the actual count of individuals with the Anderson surname increased by 2.89%, from 762,394 to 784,404. The proportion of the surname per 100,000 people decreased by 5.91%, going from 282.62 to 265.92.

Proportion per 100k282.62265.92-5.91%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Anderson

Analyzing the ethnic identity of those with the surname Anderson, using the Decennial U.S. Census data, it's evident that there have been shifts between 2000 and 2010. The largest ethnicity associated with this surname is White, which decreased slightly from 77.60% to 75.17%. The Black ethnicity saw a moderate increase from 18.06% to 18.93%. Those identifying as Hispanic showed the most significant growth, increasing by 54.43% to 2.44%. People identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander also increased from 0.48% to 0.61%. The group of two or more races grew by 32.70%, while American Indian and Alaskan Native representation rose from 0.70% to 0.74%.

Two or More Races1.59%2.11%32.7%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.7%0.74%5.71%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.48%0.61%27.08%

Anderson ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Anderson is British & Irish, which comprises 43.5% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (22.0%) and Scandinavian (13.9%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean.

Ready to learn more about your ancestry? Get the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown on the market by taking our DNA test. Shop 23andMe

British & Irish43.5%
French & German22.0%

Possible origins of the surname Anderson

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Anderson have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom80.70%
Greater London, United Kingdom80.70%
West Midlands, United Kingdom80.50%
Merseyside, United Kingdom80.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom80.50%

What Anderson haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Anderson is R-P311, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P311 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include I-L205.1 and I-P109, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Nelson, Peterson, Johnson, Hansen, Jensen, Smith, Olson, Wilson, Hanson, White.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Anderson surname are: H1, T2b, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

andersonPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Anderson have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Anderson" Surname 41.4%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Anderson" Surname 26.4%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Anderson" Surname 21.4%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Anderson" Surname 18.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Anderson?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Anderson are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%