Chinese Surnames

What are Chinese surnames?

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    The Chinese surname or family name, different from the western surname name is usually placed before a person's given name. For a Chinese people, it’s in most of the cases the same as his father’s surname. In most cases, a Chinese surname is of one Chinese word. There are also few compound ones consisting of two words, such as Zhuge, Si Tu and Ouyang etc. There is no definite answer about how many surnames in China now. It’s said there are over 5000 surnames appeared from all the Chinese historical documents. However, the most common ones we see now are about 200. In history, there is a book called Hundred Family Surnames created in Song Dynasty with the records of over 500 Chinese surnames among them 60 are compound surnames.


    Although China has a large population, you will see there are many people with the same surname. Following are the latest statistics in 2016 about the top 100 Chinese surnames offered by the Census Office of the State Council. You may easily meet a Chinese people with one of the following surnames while you are in China. If you plan to get a Chinese name, you’d better choose from the most common ones instead of creating by yourself so as not to make a stupid mistake.

    2016 Top 10 Chinese Surnames

    Following are the top ten Chinese surnames with their detailed numbers, percentages they take of the number of Han Nationality and distribution areas.
    Rank Surname (Pinyin) Numbers of the People Percentage of the Number of Han Nationality Distribution Area
    1 李 (Lǐ) 95,300,000 7.94% Mostly distributed in Northern China
    2 王(Wáng) 88,900,000 7.41% Most in Shanxi, Hebei and Henan
    3 张(Zhāng) 84,800,000 7.07% Most in Shandong, Henan, Hebei, and Sichuan
    4 刘(Liú) 64,600,000 5.38% Most in Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Beijing, and Tianjin
    5 陈(Chén) 54,400,000 4.53% Mostly distributed in Southern China; In Tiawan and Guangdong, it takes up over 10% of the whole population.
    6 杨(Yáng) 37,000,000 3.08% Mainly distributed among the provinces and cities along the Yangtze River
    7 赵(Zhào) 27,500,000 2.29% Most in Shandong, Henan and Hebei
    8 黄(Huáng) 26,800,00 2.23% Mainly in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze river;
    Most in Guangdong, Sichuan, Hunan, Guangxi and Jiangxi
    9 周(Zhōu) 25,400,000 2.12% Mainly distributed among the provinces and cities along the Yangtze River
    10 吴(Wú) 24,600,000 2.05% Mainly in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze river;
    Most in Fujian

    2016 Top 100 Chinese Surnames

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    (Lǐ)
    王(Wáng) 张(Zhāng)
    (Liú)
    陈(Chén) 杨(Yáng) 赵(Zhào) 黄(Huáng) 周(Zhōu)
    (Wú)
    11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

    (xú)
    孙 (sūn)
    (hú)

    (zhū)
    高(gāo)
    (lín)

    (hé)

    (guō)

    (mǎ)

    (luó)
    21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

    (liáng)
    宋(sòng) 郑(zhèng)
    (xiè)
    韩(hán) 唐(táng) 冯(féng)
    (yú)
    董(dǒng) 萧(xiāo)
    31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
    程(chéng)
    (cáo)
    袁(yuán) 邓(dèng)
    (xǔ)

    (fù)
    沈(shěn) 曾(zēng) 彭(péng)
    (lǚ)
    41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

    (sū)

    (lú)
    蒋(jiǎng)
    (cài)
    贾(jiǎ) 丁(dīng) 魏(wèi)
    (xuē)

    (yè)

    (yán)
    51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

    (yú)

    (pān)

    (dù)

    (dài)
    夏(xià) 钟(zhōng) 汪(wāng) 田(tián)
    (rèn)
    姜(jiāng)
    61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70

    (fàn)

    (fāng)

    (shí)
     

    (yáo)
    谭(tán) 廖(liào) 邹(zōu) 熊(xióng)
    (jīn)

    (lù)
    71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80

    (hǎo)
    孔(kǒng)
    (bái)

    (cuī)
    康(kāng)
    (máo)
    邱(qiū)
    (qín)
    江(jiāng)
    (shǐ)
    81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90

    (gù)
    侯(hóu) 邵(shào) 孟(mèng) 龙(lóng)
    (wàn)
    段(duàn)
    (cáo)
    钱(qián) 汤(tāng)
    91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

    (yǐn)

    (lí)

    (yì)
    常(cháng)
    (wǔ)
    乔(qiáo)
    (hè)

    (lài)
    龚(gōng)
    (wén)

    2016 Top 10 Surnames in Each Chinese Province and City

    1 Guangdong Province 陈、李、黄、张、梁、林、刘、吴、罗、杨
    2 Hainan Province 陈、王、李、吴、符、林、黄、张、周、郑
    3 Chongqing City 李、张、陈、刘、王、杨、周、黄、罗、唐
    4 Shandong Province 王、张、李、刘、孙、赵、杨、陈、徐、马
    5 Fujian Province 陈、林、黄、张、吴、李、王、郑、刘、杨
    6 Zhejiang Province 陈、王、林、张、李、叶、郑、吴、徐、刘
    7 Jiangxi Province 刘、李、陈、张、黄、王、吴、周、胡、徐
    8 Inner Mongolia 王、张、李、刘、赵、杨、郭、孙、高、陈
    9 Hunan Province 李、刘、陈、张、王、周、黄、杨、唐、罗
    10 Henan Province 王、张、李、刘、杨、赵、陈、郭、孙、马
    11 Beijing 王、张、李、刘、赵、杨、陈、孙、高、马
    12 Jiangsu Province 王、张、陈、李、徐、周、朱、刘、吴、杨
    13 Shanxi Province 王、张、李、刘、赵、郭、杨、陈、武、高
    14 Hubei Province 李、刘、张、陈、杨、胡、黄、王、徐、周
    15 Tianjin 王、张、李、刘、杨、赵、陈、孙、高、马。
    16 Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 王、张、李、刘、杨、陈、赵、吴、马、孙
    17 Liaoning Province 王、李、张、刘、赵、孙、杨、陈、于、高
    18 Shanghai 张、王、陈、李、朱、徐、周、沈、吴、陆
    19 Hebei Province 张、王、李、刘、赵、杨、高、陈、马、郭
    20 Anhui Province 王、张、李、陈、刘、杨、吴、周、徐、孙
    21 Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 王、张、李、刘、杨、徐、吴、朱、郭、黄
    22 Heilongjiang Province 王、张、李、刘、赵、孙、杨、陈、于、徐
    23 Sichuan Province 李、张、王、刘、陈、杨、周、黄、罗、吴
    24 Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 黄、李、梁、韦、陈、陆、杨、刘、卢、张。

    For Zhuang Nationality:
    黄、莫、韦、覃、农、蒙、蓝、赵、罗、梁
    25 Yunnan Province 李、张、杨、王、陈、刘、赵、马、周、朱
    26 Guizhou Province 王、李、陈、张、杨、刘、周、罗、吴、黄
    27 Shaanxi Province 张、王、李、赵、刘、马、杨、陈、吴、郭
    28 Gansu Province 王、张、李、刘、杨、马、陈、赵、魏、周
    29 Qinghai Province 李、张、王、刘、赵、杨、陈、马、郭、吴
    30 Jilin Province 王、李、张、刘、赵、孙、杨、陈、于、高
    31 Taiwan 陈、林、黄、张、李、王、吴、刘、蔡、杨