Exploring the Most Common Last Names in Mexico: Origins and Meanings

The surnames in Mexico are of great importance and it is a way for the family lineages to be more extensive, in addition to this, in the past they were used to keep a population control and for classist purposes, and this was a way to ratify that the Spanish conquerors were ”superior” to the Mexican natives. Here we will tell you the most common last names in Mexico.

After the European conquest of the American territory, the mestizaje in this part of the world was increasing, and an evidence of this are the surnames, since in Mexico there are several surnames of Spanish origin and mixtures between Spanish and natives. Therefore, the surnames in Mexico have a mixture of influence of indigenous, Spanish and other foreigners who settled in the Latin American country.

In Mexican culture, surnames have great relevance because they offer information about your ancestors, culture and geographical origin. We will detail everything you should know about most common last names in Mexico in this article.

History of Mexican surnames

The western and eastern surnames in Mexico were introduced during the Spanish conquest, that is to say the colonial period, due to the voluminous Spanish migration and imposition to the indigenous and mestizo population of the territory, this type of impositions by the Spaniards were made with classist purposes, so more than to keep control of the population, the Spaniards sought with this to know the lineage of the inhabitants, in addition, in that way it could be known if you came from a family with economic resources or not.

It should be noted that many of the primitive surnames that arrived in the Aztec territory were of Roman origin, which were taken up again in the Spanish territory during the Middle Ages, especially with people from the upper class, thus identifying which family they belonged to. Because of this, the “most common last names in Mexico” arose.

It is also important to mention that according to the researcher and philosopher Prudencio Bustos Argañaraz, there are the toponymic surnames that had to do with the place of origin, the gentile names similar to the toponyms that allude to the place of origin such as Serrano and Alemán and the descriptive ones, which were related to the families with a physical or personal characteristic of great notoriety and even by the profession they carried out.

Native Surnames of Mexico

In Mexico, surnames of Spanish origin proliferated notably, since this was a way to position their power and control over the natives, so they tried to erase the original names of the indigenous Mexicans. However, some few families managed to preserve their roots and today the most popular are Canek which means star, Balam which means jaguar, as well as Tepetl, Toxqui, Caloch, Xicoténcatl, Caloch. Ocelotl and Aca.

It should also be noted that according to INEGI, Yucatan is the Mexican state with the highest number of surnames of native origin, and these surnames are even more repeated than the patronymic ones, such as May, Canul, Chan and Pech. Similarly, in the Valley of Mexico there is an important number of native surnames, specifically of Nahuatl origin, while in states such as Tlaxcala and Puebla there are 250 different surnames of indigenous origin.

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Mexican Nomenclature Conventions

Mexican surnames have something in common and that is that they all have two surnames, here we will talk about this:

The Mexican population identifies itself with two surnames due to a traditional system to transmit them through generations, thus ensuring their legacy.

An example of this would be Lopez Ramirez, the first surname of the person, i.e. Lopez, is the first surname of the father, and the second, Ramirez, is that of the mother, so the father’s surname is the one that is passed down from generation to generation.

Most Common Last Names in Mexico

On the other hand, if you are wondering if a woman takes her husband’s last name when she marries, the answer is that in Mexico women do not lose their maiden name, however, they do add the word de to their name, so if her husband’s first last name is Perez, the woman could become Maria Teresa Gonzalez Ramirez de Perez.

These are the most common last names in Mexico

Mexico stands out for its cultural diversity and this can also be distinguished in the surnames that most Mexicans carry, here we will tell you which are the most common last names in Mexico:


One of the most common last names in Mexico is Hernández, and its meaning is ”Hernando’s son”. In Mexico there are approximately 671, 972 people with this last name.


Another most common last name in Mexico is García, which has medieval origins and means ”of graceful sight”, in Mexico there are approximately 458,788 people with this surname.


This is the most common last name in Mexico, because there are 447,073 people with this surname. It is a derivative of the patronymic Martín.


López is another most common last name in Mexico, and comes from the Latin Lope, meaning ”wolf”, it has a record of 412,247 people with this surname in the territory.


Another of the most common last names in Mexico is González, which comes from the patronymic Gonzálo and has 352,650 people with the surname.


Pérez is one of the most common last names in Mexico and derives from Pedro, it also means ”stone” and has a record of 332,048 people.


This most common last name in Mexico comes from ”hijo de Rodrigo” and is also another patronymic, it has a register of 293,473 people in Mexico.


The surname Sánchez is another of the most common last names in Mexico and is a patronymic of Sansho, it has a registry in Mexico of 288,543 people.

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This most common last name in Mexico comes from Ramiro and has a record of 258,411 people with the surname in Mexico.


It has 204,640 people with the surname so it is a most common last names in Mexico coming from religious bases.

These are the rarest surnames in Mexico 

According to INEGI there are approximately 34 thousand surnames in the Aztec territory and among these there are some rare surnames. Before this, it is important to highlight that the history of surnames in the country is quite extensive and there have existed in the territory multiple cultures of Mesoamerican origin, which were combined with the miscegenation that brought with the Spanish conquest and that is precisely why some very strange surnames have come to our days, we talk about it below: 

  • Dorantes: of Spanish origin, it means ”brave man”.
  • Zugasti: of Basque origin, it means ”grove of elms”.
  • Tlachi: its origin is Mesoamerican and its meaning is related to a ball game.

Cultural significance of Mexican surnames

In Mexico most of the surnames have Spanish origins and this is mainly due to the interculturality that the Spanish conquest brought to the continent, however, we must not fail to highlight the importance that still have, despite the years, the surnames of indigenous origin, which makes the Mexican territory enjoys a great cultural richness.

Since pre-Columbian times, the natives identified themselves with name and surname, these are linked to the cities and ancestral roots where they came from. So yes, Mexican surnames are a sign that this country has a great cultural diversity that directly influences its history, customs and society in general.

Now you know what are the most common last names in Mexico, tell us are you one of those who have a most common last name in Mexico?

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