Explore the Family Name Santos

The meaning of Santos

Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician: 1. from a personal name typically bestowed on a child born on All Saints’ Day (Spanish Todos los Santos, Portuguese and Galician Todos os santos ‘All Saints’). Compare Spanish De Los Santos, Portuguese and Galician Dos Santos. 2. habitational name from any of the places called (Los) Santos, from the dedication of a local church or shrine to all the saints. Compare Spanish De Santos. Some characteristic forenames: Spanish Jose, Manuel, Carlos, Juan, Francisco, Luis, Mario, Pedro, Roberto, Jesus, Ramon, Miguel. Portuguese Joao, Paulo, Joaquim, Agostinho, Amadeu, Henrique, Marcio, Serafim, Ademir, Aderito, Albano, Ligia.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Santos has seen a significant rise in popularity over the decade from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, Santos was ranked as the 279th most popular surname, but by 2010 it had risen to the 206th position, marking a rise of 26.16%. In raw numbers, this increase is even more striking with the count of people bearing the Santos surname growing from 98,993 in 2000 to 137,232 in 2010, which represents a growth of 38.63%. This growth in popularity was reflected in the proportion of the population carrying this surname per 100k, which increased from 36.7 in 2000 to 46.52 in 2010, indicating a rise of 26.76%.

Proportion per 100k36.746.5226.76%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Santos

The ethnic identity associated with the Santos surname also saw some shifts between 2000 and 2010, according to the Decennial U.S. Census. The largest group identified as Hispanic, which grew from 58.32% in 2000 to 62.20% in 2010, demonstrating an increase of 6.65%. However, not all groups saw a rise. Those identifying as white fell from 21.93% to 20.06%, a drop of 8.53%, while those claiming two or more races decreased dramatically from 4.38% to 1.85%, a fall of 57.76%. Meanwhile, those identifying as Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaskan Native represented smaller proportions, but apart from the last group, they too saw increases over the decade.

Asian/Pacific Islander13.21%13.32%0.83%
Two or More Races4.38%1.85%-57.76%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.33%0.27%-18.18%

Santos 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 Santos is Spanish & Portuguese, which comprises 43.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Filipino & Austronesian (11.7%) and Indigenous American (11.7%). Additional ancestries include British & Irish, French & German, Italian, Angolan & Congolese, and Nigerian.

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Spanish & Portuguese43.0%
Filipino & Austronesian11.7%
Indigenous American11.7%

Possible origins of the surname Santos

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 Santos have recent ancestry locations in Portugal and Mexico.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Azores, Portugal31.20%
Madeira, Portugal31.10%
Aveiro District, Portugal29.80%
Lisbon, Portugal29.70%
Coimbra District, Portugal27.90%

What Santos 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 Santos 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 J-CTS5368 and Q-M3, which are predominantly found among people with European and East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Silva, Fernandez, Diaz, Miranda, Rodriguez, Romero, Castro, Torres, Alvarez, Vega.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Santos surname are: A2, H1, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

santosPaternal 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 Santos 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.

"Santos" Surname 37.5%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Santos" Surname 29.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Santos" Surname 19.3%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Santos" Surname 13.0%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Santos?

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 Santos 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%