Explore the Family Name Cox

The meaning of Cox

1. English: variant of Cocke and Cook, with genitival or post-medieval excrescent -s. 2. Irish (Ulster): mistranslation of Mac Con Coille (‘son of Cú Choille’, a personal name meaning ‘hound of the wood’), as if formed with coileach ‘cock, rooster’. 3. Dutch and Flemish: genitivized patronymic from the personal name Cock, a vernacular short form of Cornelius. 4. Dutch: variant of Kok, an occupational name for a cook. 5. Amerindian (Mexico and Guatemala): Mayan name, from a Castilianized form of a term denoting a species of pheasant-like bird.

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

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

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Cox has seen a slight decrease in popularity over a decade. In 2000, it was ranked 72nd, however, by 2010, it fell to 78th, marking an 8.33% decrease in rank. Despite this fall in ranking, the actual count of people with the surname Cox increased from 253,771 in 2000 to 261,231 in 2010, indicating an increase of 2.94%. The proportion per 100,000 residents also decreased from 94.07 to 88.56, showing a 5.86% decline.

Proportion per 100k94.0788.56-5.86%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Cox

The ethnic identity associated with the surname Cox, as reported in the Decennial U.S. Census, reflects a variety of backgrounds. The largest group identifying with this surname is White, making up 82.62% of the population in 2010, down 2.20% from 84.48% in 2000. The Black community using the surname rose slightly from 11.55% in 2000 to 12.07% in 2010. Additionally, there was an increase in individuals identifying as Hispanic (from 1.52% to 2.33%), Asian/Pacific Islander (from 0.39% to 0.50%) and American Indian and Alaskan Native (from 0.64% to 0.67%). There was also a notable rise in those identifying with two or more races which increased from 1.42% to 1.82%.

Two or More Races1.42%1.82%28.17%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.64%0.67%4.69%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.39%0.5%28.21%

Cox 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 Cox is British & Irish, which comprises 57.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (22.8%) and Eastern European (3.3%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, Nigerian, and Indigenous American.

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British & Irish57.8%
French & German22.8%
Eastern European3.3%

Possible origins of the surname Cox

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 Cox have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom91.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom91.10%
Merseyside, United Kingdom91.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom90.80%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom90.60%

What Cox 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 Cox is R-M167, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-M167 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-CTS241 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Hall, Clark, Gray, Poole, Newman, Wilson, Smith, Brown, Richards, Carey.

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

coxPaternal 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 Cox 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.

"Cox" Surname 42.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Cox" Surname 27.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Cox" Surname 24.4%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Cox" Surname 18.5%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Cox?

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 Cox 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%