Explore the Family Name Morales

The meaning of Morales

Spanish: topographic name from the plural of moral ‘mulberrytree’. Some characteristic forenames: Spanish Jose, Juan, Carlos, Luis, Manuel, Jesus, Jorge, Miguel, Francisco, Pedro, Raul, Roberto. Portuguese Ligia, Paulo, Catarina, Anabela, Armanda, Godofredo, Henrique, Omero, Wenceslao.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Morales has seen a significant surge in popularity from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, Morales was ranked as the 90th most popular surname, but by 2010, it had jumped to the 63rd spot, indicating a growth rate of 30 percent. The count of individuals with the Morales surname also rose from 217,642 in 2000 to 311,777 in 2010, an increase of over 43 percent. Moreover, the proportion of individuals bearing this surname per 100,000 people elevated from 80.68 to 105.69 during the same period, marking a rise of 31 percent.

Proportion per 100k80.68105.6931%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Morales

When evaluating the ethnic identity associated with the Morales surname according to the Decennial U.S. Census, the largest group in both 2000 and 2010 were those identifying as Hispanic. In 2000, 91.88 percent identified as Hispanic, increasing slightly to 93.23 percent in 2010. The proportion of individuals who identify as White decreased from 5.60 percent in 2000 to 4.63 percent in 2010. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and American Indian and Alaskan Native also saw decreases. Interestingly, the proportion of individuals identifying with two or more ethnicities dropped considerably from 0.44 percent in 2000 to 0.21 percent in 2010.

Asian/Pacific Islander1.24%1.18%-4.84%
Two or More Races0.44%0.21%-52.27%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.25%0.17%-32%

Morales 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 Morales is Spanish & Portuguese, which comprises 40.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Indigenous American (27.5%) and British & Irish (9.3%). Additional ancestries include French & German, Italian, Senegambian & Guinean, Filipino & Austronesian, and Angolan & Congolese.

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Spanish & Portuguese40.8%
Indigenous American27.5%
British & Irish9.3%

Possible origins of the surname Morales

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 Morales have recent ancestry locations all within Mexico.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Tamaulipas, Mexico49.60%
Sinaloa, Mexico49.60%
Sonora, Mexico49.60%
Nuevo Leon, Mexico49.60%
Nayarit, Mexico49.60%

What Morales 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 Morales 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 Q-M3 and R-Z225, which are predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Sanchez, Ramos, Garcia, Lopez, Rodriguez, Perez, Castillo, Herrera, Guerrero, Martinez.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Morales surname are: A2, H, B2. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

moralesPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to some of the first Americans

Though the Ice Age was beginning to retreat when your A2 ancestors first entered North America, there were still massive barriers blocking their way. Glaciers and inhospitable climate covered much of the continent, blocking entry into the interior. Nonetheless, researchers have found evidence that a wave of American founders migrated over 13,000 kilometers to reach southern Chile in only 2,000 years, a blink of an eye in the story of human migration! Their highway to the south was the coast of the Pacific, stocked with fish, diverse marine mammals, and other valuable resources in the rich kelp forests of the upper latitudes and in the abundant fresh-water rivers near the equator. Because of this rapid movement south, the A2 haplogroup and its diverse branches are found throughout North and South America.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Morales 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.

"Morales" Surname 38.4%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Morales" Surname 32.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Morales" Surname 22.4%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Morales" Surname 15.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Morales?

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 Morales 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

Spanish & Portuguese 56.3%

23andMe Users 57.2%