Explore the Family Name Khan

The meaning of Khan

Muslim (also common among African Americans): from khan, an English spelling of a status name based on Mongolian khaan ‘(military) ruler, sovereign’. This was originally a hereditary title among Tartar and Mongolian tribesmen (in particular Genghis Khan, 1162–1227), but is now very widely used throughout the Muslim world as a surname. In Iran and parts of the Indian subcontinent it is used as an honorific title after a person’s name. Some characteristic forenames: Arabic/Muslim Mohammad, Mohammed, Abdul, Muhammad, Mohamed, Bibi, Tariq, Ali, Asif, Khalid, Amir, Saeed.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Khan has shown a significant increase in popularity between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Khan was the 665th most common surname with a count of 46,713. However, by 2010, it had jumped to the 427th spot with a count of 76,171. This represents an impressive growth of about 35.79% in rank and roughly 63.06% in count over the decade. The proportion of people with the Khan surname per 100,000 also increased by approximately 49.08%, from 17.32 in 2000 to 25.82 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k17.3225.8249.08%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Khan

When it comes to ethnicity, the data from the Decennial U.S. Census indicates that the majority of individuals with the Khan surname identify as Asian/Pacific Islander. In 2000, about 70.50% identified as such, and this figure rose by 15.25% to 81.25% in 2010. The next largest ethnic identity group was those identifying with two or more races, although this saw a decrease of 66.28% from 15.63% in 2000 to 5.27% in 2010. White individuals accounted for about 7.92% in 2000, decreasing slightly by 13.01% to 6.89% in 2010. There were minimal changes in the proportions of Hispanics and Blacks with the Khan surname, while American Indian and Alaskan Natives experienced a minor growth of 14.89%.

Asian/Pacific Islander70.5%81.25%15.25%
Two or More Races15.63%5.27%-66.28%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.47%0.54%14.89%

Khan 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 Khan is Northern Indian & Pakistani, which comprises 52.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Bengali & Northeast Indian (12.7%) and Central Asian (7.9%). Additional ancestries include British & Irish, Southern Indian & Sri Lankan, French & German, Iranian, Caucasian & Mesopotamian, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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Northern Indian & Pakistani52.8%
Bengali & Northeast Indian12.7%
Central Asian7.9%

Possible origins of the surname Khan

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 Khan have recent ancestry locations spanning a few countries, mostly in Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Punjab, Pakistan50.10%
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan37.30%
Kabul, Afghanistan23.00%
Kandahar, Afghanistan17.60%
Punjab, India16.10%

What Khan 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 Khan is R-Z93, which is predominantly found among people with Central & South Asian ancestry. Haplogroup R-Z93 is descended from haplogroup R-M420. Other common haplogroups include R-Y7 and R-M417, which are predominantly found among people with Central & South Asian and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Sharma, Ahmad, Kumar, Hussain, Ahmed, Rahman, Shah, Singh, Malik, Rao.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Khan surname are: H, M30, U7. These most commonly trace back to individuals of Central & South Asian and European ancestry.

khanPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M420

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Yu Hong

During the 6th century AD the Persian Empire controlled trade along the Silk Road through its Central Asian province of Sogdiana, providing a vital trade link between China and Europe. Evidence suggests there was a genetic connection as well. Researchers extracted DNA from the remains of a chieftain named Yu Hong, who was buried about 200 miles southwest of Beijing in 592 AD. His burial epitaph indicated that Yu Hong had Central Asian ancestry — and his DNA revealed an even more exotic background. Yu Hong's mitochondrial DNA belonged to the U5 haplogroup, a branch of U that is concentrated in Europe. This haplogroup assignment is a sure sign that he had European ancestors on his mother's side, and demonstrated the vast range of haplogroup U from the west to the east.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Khan 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.

"Khan" Surname 39.9%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Khan" Surname 31.9%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Khan" Surname 23.2%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Khan" Surname 12.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Khan?

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 Khan 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

Northern Indian & Pakistani 52.7%

23andMe Users 57.2%