Explore the Family Name Wang

The meaning of Wang

1. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 王, meaning ‘king’ or ‘royal’: (i) in some families, the surname is traced back to Crown Prince Jin, son of King Ling of Zhou (died 545 BC) of the Eastern Zhou dynasty. Jin incurred his father’s displeasure (for criticizing plans to divert the Gu and Luo rivers) and was disinherited. His descendants adopted the surname Wang (王) in commemoration of his royal status. (ii) in other cases, the name is traced back to Tian He (died around 384 BC), who usurped the throne of the state of Qi in 391 BC. After the annihilation of Qi by the state of Qin in 221 BC, some descendants of nobles of Qi adopted the surname Wang (王) in memory of the royal status of their ancestors. (iii) the surname is also borne by descendants of royal families in certain other states, for example Wei, during the Warring States period (475–221 BC). (iv) in other families, the surname is traced back to Bi Gan, who was murdered by his nephew Zhou, last king of the Shan dynasty (1600–1046 BC). Descendants of Bi Gan also adopted the surname Wang (王). (v) the surname has also been adopted by some families of minority ethnic groups, for example the Ke Yi (可頤) families of the Xianbei ethnic group. (vi) in some families, this surname is traced back to ancestors who either were endowed with it by an emperor or changed their original surname, claiming royal status. 2. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 汪, a word applied to water and meaning both ‘deep’ and ‘puddle’ in ancient Chinese: (i) shortened form of Wang Mang (汪芒), also called Wang Wang (汪罔), the name of a state in present-day Wukang, in Zhejiang province. After the extinction of this state, at an uncertain date, its inhabitants fled to other places and the surname was shortened to Wang (汪). (ii) for some families, the surname is traced back to the royal family of the state of Lu (1024 BC–256 BC) during the Warring States period. The 21st ruler of the state of Lu, the Duke Cheng of Lu, endowed one of his sons (Man) with lands in Wang (in present-day Shandong province), where they adopted the surname Wang. (iii) from the name of Wang Chuxiu (汪處休). In the earlier Song Dynasty (960–1127 AD), in Quanzhou in Fujian province, Weng Qiandu had six sons and gave different surnames to each of them. His sixth son, Weng Chuxiu, was given the surname Wang. He and his brothers all became important officials, known as ‘the Six Laureates’. 3. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 黃, see Huang 1. 4. Chinese: Cantonese form of the surname 弘, see Hong 2. 5. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 袁, possibly based on its Teochew or Hakka pronunciations, see Yuan 1. 6. Korean: written 왕, in Chinese characters 王, meaning ‘king’. This is the only Chinese character for the surname Wang. Some sources indicate that there are fifteen Wang clans, but only two can be identified: the Kaesŏng Wang clan and the Chenam Wang clan. The Kaesŏng Wang clan, which originated in China, ruled the Korean peninsula for almost five hundred years as the ruling dynasty of the Koryŏ period (918–1392). There are some indications that the Kaesŏng Wang clan was present in the ancient Chosŏn Kingdom (c.194 BC). When the Chŏnju Yi clan seized power in 1392 and established the Chosŏn kingdom, many of the members of the Kaesŏng Wang clan changed their names and went into hiding to avoid being persecuted by the new ruling dynasty. The Chenam Wang clan is also of Chinese origin. The Chenam Wang clan is much smaller than the Kaesŏng Wang clan. 7. Southeast Asian (Hmong): variant of Vang 1. 8. German and Dutch: from Middle German wang, Middle Dutch waenge, literally ‘cheek’, but also in southern German having the transferred sense ‘grassy slope’ or ‘field of grass’. It was thus either a topographic name for someone who lived on sloping grassland or a descriptive nickname for someone with noticeable cheeks (for example, round or rosy). 9. Jewish (Ashkenazic): either a borrowing of the German name (see 8 above), or else a habitational name for a Jew from Hungary (compare Russian Vengria ‘Hungary’). 10. Norwegian and Danish; Swedish (Wång): variant of Vang 3 or Vång (see Vang 4). Some characteristic forenames: Chinese Wei, Hong, Jian, Li, Yi, Jing, Ping, Ming, Yang, Ying, Jin, Yan, Chung, Min, Chang, Chong, Shen, Yiping, Hu, Tian, Yiming, Jang, Myong, Neng.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the Wang surname has seen a substantial increase in popularity between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, it was ranked as the 438th most popular surname with a count of 67,570, equivalent to about 25.05 per 100,000 people. By the time of the 2010 census, the rank had improved to 282nd, reflecting an impressive 35.62% change. The overall count of individuals with the Wang surname also grew by a notable 62.62% to 109,883, or 37.25 per 100,000 people.

Proportion per 100k25.0537.2548.7%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Wang

The ethnic identity associated with the Wang surname is predominantly Asian/Pacific Islander, according to the Decennial U.S. Census data. In 2000, approximately 94.47% of people with this surname identified as Asian/Pacific Islander, a percentage that slightly rose to 95.24% in 2010. There have been changes in other ethnic identities too. For instance, those identifying as White declined from 3.25% to 2.59%, while those identifying as Black saw an increase from 0.19% to 0.29%. Meanwhile, the number of people with the Wang surname who identify with two or more races dropped by 13.29%, and those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native decreased by 33.33%. On the contrary, those identifying as Hispanic saw a 6.06% increase over the decade.

Asian/Pacific Islander94.47%95.24%0.82%
Two or More Races1.73%1.5%-13.29%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.03%0.02%-33.33%

Wang 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 Wang is Chinese, which comprises 88.2% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Korean (3.4%) and Manchurian & Mongolian (3.1%). Additional ancestries include British & Irish, French & German, Vietnamese, Chinese Dai, and Filipino & Austronesian.

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Manchurian & Mongolian3.1%

Possible origins of the surname Wang

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 Wang have recent ancestry locations in China and Taiwan.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Guangdong, China26.00%
Jiangsu, China25.70%
Fujian, China25.60%
Zhejiang, China25.50%
Shandong, China25.10%

What Wang 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 Wang is O-F8, which is predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Haplogroup O-F8 is descended from haplogroup O-M1359. Other common haplogroups include O-F46 and N-L665, which are predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American and East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Zhang, Li, Chen, Chang, Wu, Liu, Sun, Lu, Yang, Zhao.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Wang surname are: F2, A4, M7b. These most commonly trace back to individuals of East Asian & Indigenous American and European ancestry.

wangPaternal Haplogroup Origins O-M1359
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to the Han Chinese

Haplogroup O-Page23 has been found in several populations of the Han Chinese ethnic group. The ancestors of the Han, called the Huaxia, lived in the upriver basin of the Yellow River 5,000-6,000 years ago. As agricultural technology improved, the Huaxia spread east and south, and became the Han Chinese. Over the last 2,000 years, there have been three major migrations of the Han southward. The first of these migrations occurred during the Jin Dynasty from 317 to 420 CE, when nearly one million people moved south. A second migration occurred during the Tang Dynasty, after the An-Shi Rebellion, between 755 and 762 CE. The last migration occurred during the Southern Song Dynasty, from 1127 to 1297 CE, when nearly 5 million people migrated southward. The Pinghua, a branch of Han in which haplogroup O2a2b1a1 is particularly common, may be descendants of indigenous minority groups that adopted Han culture during one such major migration event.

Your maternal lineage may be linked to the builders of the Terracotta Army

Qin Shi Huang, who unified warring states to become the First Emperor of China and founded the Qin Dynasty, ruled the Chinese state of Qin from 247 BC to 210 BC. In addition to his political feats, his reign is known for the massive construction projects, including his mausoleum in the Shaanxi province of central China, which began construction in 246 BC. To aid him in the afterlife, 8,000 perfectly life-like soldiers were crafted out of molds and clay and placed at guard over his tomb: his own Terracotta Army.An estimated 700,000 workers were involved in the mausoleum construction alone, and in 2003, hundreds of skeletal remains were unearthed near the mausoleum. Curious about the ethnic origins of these men, a group of Chinese scientists decided to examine their maternal haplogroups. They found that some of these workers belonged to haplogroup A, and that the group had come from a variety of places across East Asia.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Wang 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.

"Wang" Surname 28.5%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Wang" Surname 25.4%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Wang" Surname 14.7%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Wang" Surname 6.0%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Wang?

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 Wang are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

ε4 variant

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and personality changes. Late-onset Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of Alzheimer's disease, developing after age 65. Many factors, including genetics, can influence a person's chances of developing the condition. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the most common genetic variant associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease: the ε4 variant in the APOE gene. Learn more about Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

Chinese 18.2%

23andMe Users 25.5%