Explore the Family Name Young

The meaning of Young

1. English, Scottish, and northern Irish: nickname from Middle English yong ‘young’ (Old English geong), used to distinguish a younger man from an older man bearing the same personal name (typically, father and son). In Middle English this name is often found with the Anglo-Norman French definite article, for example Robert le Yunge. In Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland this was widely used as an English equivalent of the Gaelic nickname Og ‘young’; see Ogg. This surname is also very common among African Americans. 2. Americanized form (translation into English) of various European surnames meaning ‘young’ or similar, notably German Jung, Dutch Jong and De Jong, and French Lejeune and Lajeunesse. 3. Americanized form of Swedish Ljung: topographic or an ornamental name from ljung ‘(field of) heather’, or a habitational name from a placename containing this word, e.g. Ljungby. 4. Americanized form of French Guyon, reflecting the specific former French Canadian pronunciation of the initial G-, followed by a vowel, or of one of its altered forms, such as Yon 3. 5. Native American: translation into English and shortening of a personal name composed of a word meaning ‘young’ or ‘little’, such as Lakota Sioux Mato Čikala ‘Little Bear’ or ‘Young Bear’ (see Youngbear). 6. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 楊 and 陽, see Yang 1 and 2. 7. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 容, see Rong 2. 8. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 翁, see Weng 2. History: Some of the American bearers of the surname Young are descendants of Jean Guyon du Buisson from France, one of the earliest settlers on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in New France (see Guyon).

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

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

The surname Young, according to the Decennial U.S. Census data, has seen a slight decrease in popularity over a decade, moving from rank 31 in 2000 to rank 32 in 2010. This represents a change of -3.23 in ranking. However, the total count of individuals with the Young surname increased by 3.97 percent during the same period, growing from 465,948 in 2000 to 484,447 in 2010. Interestingly, despite this increase in count, the proportion per 100,000 people decreased by -4.92, indicating that the overall growth in population outpaced the growth of the Young surname.

Proportion per 100k172.73164.23-4.92%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Young

In terms of ethnic identity, the Decennial U.S. Census data shows some shifts within the Young surname bearers between 2000 and 2010. While the largest group remained those identifying as White (decreasing slightly from 68.91 percent to 66.26 percent), all other ethnic identities saw increases. The percentage of Young surname holders identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander increased by 2.71 percent, Two or More Races by 37.82 percent, Hispanic by a significant 52.66 percent, Black by 3.70 percent, and American Indian and Alaskan Native by 8.22 percent. Please note that the percentages for each ethnicity reflect their share of the total Young surname bearers, not their representation in the general population.

Asian/Pacific Islander2.95%3.03%2.71%
Two or More Races1.93%2.66%37.82%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.73%0.79%8.22%

Young 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 Young is British & Irish, which comprises 47.6% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (22.9%) and Eastern European (3.8%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Chinese, Nigerian, Italian, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

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British & Irish47.6%
French & German22.9%
Eastern European3.8%

Possible origins of the surname Young

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 Young have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom78.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom77.90%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom77.90%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom77.70%
West Midlands, United Kingdom77.30%

What Young 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 Young 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 R-CTS241 and R-L21, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Smith, Brown, Wilson, Taylor, Thompson, Mitchell, Clark, White, Johnson, Miller.

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

youngPaternal 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 Young 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.

"Young" Surname 42.4%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Young" Surname 26.8%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Young" Surname 23.4%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Young" Surname 18.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Young?

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 Young 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%