Explore the Family Name Richter

The meaning of Richter

1. German: occupational or status name for an arbiter or judge, Middle High German rihtære (from rihten ‘to make right’). The term was used in the Middle Ages mostly to denote a part-time legal official. Such communal conciliators held a position of considerable esteem in rural communities; in eastern Germany the term came to denote a village headman, which was often a hereditary office. It is in this part of Germany that the surname is most frequent. The surname Richter is also common in many other European countries, most notably Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and the Netherlands, and also in South Africa. See also 3 below. 2. Jewish (Ashkenazic): occupational name for a rabbinic judge, from German Richter ‘judge’ (see 1 above). See also Dayan. 3. Germanized form of Slovenian Rihtar and Rihter: occupational or status name from rihtar, a term of Middle High German origin (see 1 above) denoting an arbiter or judge, later also a village headman. Some characteristic forenames: German Kurt, Otto, Hans, Fritz, Helmut, Horst, Erwin, Heinz, Juergen, Gerhard, Siegfried, Wolfgang.

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

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

The popularity of the surname Richter, based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, saw a slight dip in rank from 1096 in 2000 to 1178 in 2010. This represents a negative change of 7.48%. However, the actual count of people with the Richter surname increased by 2.21% during the same period, rising from 29,233 to 29,880. Similarly, the proportion per 100,000 people dropped slightly from 10.84 to 10.13, marking a decline of approximately 6.55%.

Proportion per 100k10.8410.13-6.55%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Richter

Focusing on the ethnic identity associated with the Richter surname, the data from the Decennial U.S. Census indicates some shifts between 2000 and 2010. The largest group remains those identifying as White, although this percentage decreased slightly from 96.37% in 2000 to 94.78% in 2010. Both Asian/Pacific Islander and Black groups saw an increase in representation, with percentages growing from 0.48% to 0.65% and 0.29% to 0.45%, respectively. The Hispanic demographic showed significant growth, increasing from 1.67% in 2000 to 2.74% in 2010. The proportion of Richters identifying with two or more races also rose from 0.96% to 1.15%, while the American Indian and Alaskan Native category remained stable at 0.22%.

Two or More Races0.96%1.15%19.79%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.48%0.65%35.42%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.22%0.22%0%

Richter 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 Richter is French & German, which comprises 35.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are British & Irish (29.8%) and Eastern European (11.3%). Additional ancestries include Ashkenazi Jewish, Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Indigenous American.

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French & German35.0%
British & Irish29.8%
Eastern European11.3%

Possible origins of the surname Richter

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 Richter have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom68.00%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom67.90%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom67.70%
Merseyside, United Kingdom67.50%
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom67.30%

What Richter 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 Richter is E-V13, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup E-V13 is descended from haplogroup E-M96. Other common haplogroups include R-U152 and R-L1029, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Schmidt, Hoffman, Mueller, Schultz, Wolf, Schulz, Meyers, Fischer, Hoffmann, Schneider.

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

richterPaternal Haplogroup Origins E-M96
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to early Balkan migrants

Haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a migrated in large numbers from the Balkans into Europe about 4,500 years ago, triggered by the beginning of the Balkan Bronze Age. During this migration, members of haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a mainly followed rivers connecting the southern Balkans to northern-central Europe. Technological leaps often cause lineages to grow dramatically in numbers and in geographic range. The development of Bronze technology may have given men in haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a a competitive advantage over other men, causing haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a to proliferate and become widespread.

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 Richter 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.

"Richter" Surname 42.3%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Richter" Surname 23.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Richter" Surname 23.8%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Richter" Surname 18.1%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Richter?

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 Richter 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

French & German 60.8%

23andMe Users 57.2%