Explore the Family Name Green

The meaning of Green

1. English: either a nickname for someone who was fond of dressing in this color (Old English grēne) or was young or immature, or who had played the part of the ‘Green Man’ in the May Day celebrations, or a topographic name for someone who lived near a village green (Middle English grene, a transferred use of the color term). This is one of the most common and widespread of English surnames. In North America, it has assimilated cognates from other languages, notably German Grün (see Gruen) and Dutch Groen; compare 7 below. This surname is also very common among African Americans. 2. English: alternatively, from a Middle English personal name Grene. 3. Irish: adopted for Ó hUainín ‘descendant of Uainín’, a personal name from a pet form of uaine ‘green’, see Honan. 4. Irish: adopted for Ó Fathaidh or Ó Fathaigh through erroneous association with faithche ‘lawn’, see Fahey. 5. German: habitational name from Green (Rhineland-Palatinate) or Greene (Lower Saxony), or a topographic name from Middle Low Saxon grēn ‘grain, sand’ for someone living in a sandy place. 6. Danish: habitational name from placenames beginning with Gre(e)n-, like Greene, Grenbole (compare 5 above). 7. Americanized form of Jewish (Ashkenazic) Grün (see Gruen 2) or Grin, artificial names meaning ‘green’ in German and Yiddish, respectively, or a short form of any of numerous compound names with this element.

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

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

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Green has seen some changes in popularity over the years. In 2000, the surname was ranked 37th in terms of prevalence but slipped to the 41st position in 2010, marking a decrease of 10.81%. Despite the drop in rank, the actual count of people with the surname Green increased by 4.04% from 413,477 in 2000 to 430,182 in 2010. However, when considering the proportion per 100k, there's been a slight reduction of 4.85%, shifting from 153.27 in 2000 to 145.83 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k153.27145.83-4.85%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Green

When it comes to the ethnic identity associated with the surname Green, variations can be observed as per the Decennial U.S. Census data. The white demographic represented the majority holding this surname, although it fell slightly from 59.33% in 2000 to 56.84% in 2010. The black demographic remained relatively stable at around 36%, while the Hispanic representation saw an increase of 54.39%. Minorities such as Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian and Alaskan Native also showed increases, albeit smaller. The group identifying with two or more races marked a notable hike, from 1.78% in 2000 to 2.47% in 2010.

Two or More Races1.78%2.47%38.76%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.61%0.64%4.92%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.34%0.44%29.41%

Green 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 Green is British & Irish, which comprises 48.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.0%) and Ashkenazi Jewish (5.4%). Additional ancestries include Nigerian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, and Italian.

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British & Irish48.0%
French & German20.0%
Ashkenazi Jewish5.4%

Possible origins of the surname Green

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 Green have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Glasgow City, United Kingdom76.20%
Greater London, United Kingdom76.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom75.70%
Merseyside, United Kingdom75.60%
West Midlands, United Kingdom75.60%

What Green 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 Green is R-CTS241, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS241 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-P311 and R-M467, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Brown, Greene, Taylor, White, Smith, Cooper, Wilson, Thompson, Robinson, Hill.

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

greenPaternal 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 Green 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.

"Green" Surname 42.2%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Green" Surname 28.9%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Green" Surname 23.4%

23andMe Users 21.1%



Cat Allergy

An allergic reaction to cats, characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and difficulty breathing.

"Green" Surname 37.5%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Green?

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 Green 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%