Most common surnames of 2020 in Scotland revealed

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23 March 2021
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The most common last names in birth, marriage and death registers of 2020 in Scotland have been revealed by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

National Records of Scotland (NRS) revealed the most common surnames of 2020 in new data published on 23 March 2021.

The paper on which the data is based, Surnames in Scotland over the last 140 years, was originally published in 2003. The names Smith, Brown and Wilson have been the top three most common surnames from 1975 through to 2020.

Scotland's most common surname

The lists of the surnames that occur most often in Scotland’s registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths count the surnames of each child for births, of both parties (e.g. bride and groom) for marriages, and of the deceased for deaths. Different spellings are counted separately. Surnames which occurred fewer than ten times (in total) in a year do not appear in the list for that year.

The surnames from the birth, marriage and death registers may not be representative of the surnames of the population of Scotland as a whole, as:

  • they include the surnames of non-residents who were born / married / died here
  • they exclude the surnames of residents who were born / married / died elsewhere
  • some age-groups have very low birth, marriage and death rates, whereas others account for most births, marriages and deaths

Scotland's top 10 most common surnames 

The 2020 list is (with 2020 occurrences in brackets):

  1. Smith (2,719)
  2. Brown (1,970)
  3. Wilson (1,886)
  4. Robertson (1,796)
  5. Campbell (1,749)
  6. Stewart (1,675)
  7. Thomson (1,658)
  8. Anderson (1,511)
  9. Scott (1,194)
  10. MacDonald (1,146)

Read the full surname data on the National Records of Scotland website.

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(report courtesy National Records of Scotland)