In southeast Iowa where I grew up, I thought the state was filled with people with last names like Hammes, Greiner, Lee, and Sieren. Turns out only one of those is actually in the top 100.

Forebears tells us that Smith is the most common last name in Iowa. It's also the most popular last name in the entire United States with more than 2.5 million Smith's around the 50 states. It's also the most common last name in over a dozen countries including England, Australia, Scotland, and Canada.

Here's what Forebears says about Smith:

Descendant of the metal worker. The most common of all surnames, and might of itself furnish matter enough for a volume. The word is derived from the Anglo—Saxon Smitan, to smite or strike.

"From whence comes Smith, all be he knight or squire,

But from the Smith that forgeth at the fire?"

Here's Iowa's Top 20, including how many of each are in the state:

  1. Smith: 24,679
  2. Johnson: 23,171
  3. Miller: 17,846
  4. Anderson: 15,505
  5. Brown: 12,853
  6. Davis: 10,336
  7. Jones: 9,968
  8. Williams: 9,926
  9. Thompson: 9,096
  10. Wilson: 9,016
  11. Nelson: 8,503
  12. Clark: 7,972
  13. Peterson: 7,332
  14. Hansen: 7,130
  15. Meyer: 6,551
  16. White: 6,252
  17. Moore: 6,223
  18. Martin: 6.046
  19. Thomas: 5,644
  20. Taylor: 5,452

You can see the list of Iowa's 100 most common last names here.

[via Forebears]