The most common names in China

Society & Culture


Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

Last week, China’s Ministry of Public Security released a list of the most common Chinese surnames (in Chinese) of 2019. The top five remain unchanged from the previous year:

  1. 王 Wáng
  2. 李 Lǐ
  3. 张 Zhāng
  4. 刘 Liú
  5. 陈 Chén

The Ministry of Public Security oversees neighborhood security bureaus that keep all of the country’s name registries, but the report was based on something that Xinhua calls “China’s population information system,” which is apparently the world’s largest.

Other tidbits:

  • The top 100 surnames account for 85.9 percent of the Chinese population.
  • Zhāng Wěi 张伟, Wáng Wěi 王伟, and Lǐ Nà 李娜 are the three most common full names. (There were 294,282 registered people named Zhang Wei.)
  • About 21.3 million people in China have names that include the character for “country” (国 guó). Topping the list is Jiànguó 建国 (“build the country”) for men and Guóyīng 国英 (“national hero”) for women.