Explore the Family Name Rowe

The meaning of Rowe

1. English: from Middle English rowe (Old English rāw) ‘row’. The surname may be topographic for someone who lived by a hedgerow or in a row of houses in a street, or habitational, for someone who lived in a place so named. Compare Rawe and Rew. 2. English (of Norman origin): variant of Rolfe, Ralph, or Rough. Compare Rowson. 3. East German: habitational name from any of the places called Rowe, Rowa, Rowe(n). Compare Rowen.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Rowe has seen a shift in its popularity over the years. In 2000, it ranked as the 452nd most common surname, but by 2010, it had dropped slightly to 478th place, indicating a decrease of 5.75% in its ranking. Despite this drop in ranking, the actual count of individuals with the Rowe surname increased from 66,205 in 2000 to 69,879 in 2010, an increase of 5.55%. However, when considering the proportion per 100,000 people, the presence of the Rowe surname decreased by 3.46%, from 24.54 in 2000 to 23.69 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k24.5423.69-3.46%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Rowe

The Decennial U.S. Census data also reveals trends about the ethnic identity of those bearing the surname Rowe. In 2000, the majority of Rowes identified as White (82.19%), followed by Black (13.53%). By 2010, while the percentage of Rowes identifying as White had fallen slightly to 79.26%, there was an increase in those identifying as Black to 15.06%. Smaller proportions of Rowes identified as Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander, but these groups saw significant increases from 2000 to 2010, with the Hispanic group increasing by 49.70% and the Asian/Pacific Islander group by 25.49%. The proportion of Rowes identifying with two or more races rose by 28.21% between the two census years. Meanwhile, the percentage of American Indian and Alaskan Natives remained relatively stable, with only a slight increase of 1.79%.

Two or More Races1.56%2%28.21%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.51%0.64%25.49%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.56%0.57%1.79%

Rowe 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 Rowe is British & Irish, which comprises 52.5% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (24.6%) and Eastern European (3.9%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

Ready to learn more about your ancestry? Get the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown on the market by taking our DNA test. Shop 23andMe

British & Irish52.5%
French & German24.6%
Eastern European3.9%

Possible origins of the surname Rowe

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 Rowe have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom84.90%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom84.90%
West Midlands, United Kingdom84.60%
Merseyside, United Kingdom84.40%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom84.00%

What Rowe 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 Rowe is R-L21, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-L21 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: Wilson, Taylor, White, Clark, Smith, Roberts, Hill, Thompson, Thomas, Clarke.

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

rowePaternal 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 Rowe 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.

"Rowe" Surname 44.9%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Rowe" Surname 26.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Rowe" Surname 27.2%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Rowe" Surname 18.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Rowe?

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 Rowe 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%