Most Popular Surnames in Sydney

Most popular surnames in Sydney by council area.

Click image for full-size map of the most popular surnames in Sydney by council area.

The map above shows the most popular homeowners’ surnames (purchased in the last two decades [approximately]) by council area in 2015.  For a more detailed breakdown, showing the top 20 homeowners’ surnames, click the council area of interest below:

Ashfield | Auburn | Bankstown | Blacktown | Botany Bay | Burwood | Camden | Campbelltown | Canada Bay | Canterbury | Fairfield | Hawkesbury | Holroyd | Hornsby | Hunters Hill | Hurstville | Kogarah | Ku‑ring‑gai | Lane Cove | Leichhardt | Liverpool | Manly | Marrickville | Mosman | North Sydney | Parramatta | Penrith | Pittwater | Randwick | Rockdale | Ryde | Strathfield | Sutherland | (City of) Sydney | The Hills | Warringah | Waverley | Willoughby | Woollahra

The Overall Top 50 Surnames

The table below shows the overall top 50 surnames for the Sydney metropolitan area when all the surnames from the councils listed above are added together.



Of the top 50, European names remain the most common, followed by Chinese surnames, then Indian and Vietnamese.

Analysis of Geographical Distribution

The map shows a geographical clustering of surnames based on surname origin. European surnames (namely, Smith, but Paul in Leichhardt) rank first in outer Sydney, as well as in the more affluent areas of the North Shore, the Inner West (Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville) and Eastern Suburbs.

Chinese surnames (Chen, Li, Wang) rank first in the St George area and, arguably, in the inner/central western areas (Ryde, Parramatta, Auburn, Canada Bay, Strathfield and Burwood). It is arguable given the surname “Lee” is used by people of both European and Chinese origins; however, comparing this data with Census responses for ancestry in those LGAs suggest a significant portion would be Chinese.

In the south west (Canterbury, Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool), the Vietnamese surname Nguyen ranks first. This can potentially be linked to the fact that many Vietnamese who arrived in 1970s following the Vietnam War were sent to the refugee centre at Villawood, which is located within this area.

Indian surnames rank first in the more outer western council areas (Blacktown and Campbelltown).

It should be noted that this map does not necessarily give a correct indication of the predominant ancestry of people in particular LGAs. This data is based on homebuyers of the past two decades and, typically, European homeowners who bought their properties prior to this are not represented in this map. Additionally, there is a lot more variety in European surnames compared to, for example, Vietnamese surnames, where the surname Nguyen represents almost 40% of the Vietnamese population. Additionally, European surnames are often adopted by those in countries which have been colonised by European countries (e.g. Latin America, the Philippines, etc.), even if they are not of European origin themselves.

For a more accurate representation of ethnicity, refer to our dot map “Map of Race and Ethnicity in Sydney“.

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