The geographical distribution of Chinese surnames

Andrew Stokols has put together a series of Chinese surname maps.  As noted in this Atlantic post by Matt Schiavenza, about 87% of China’s population share 100 surnames, “and more than one in five Chinese citizens is surnamed Li, Wang, or Zhang: more than 275 million people in all. (By contrast, 90 percent of the United States population encompasses over 150,000 different last names).”  Stokols maps reveal that there is a clear geographical concentration associated with these surnames as well.  Here are his maps for Li, Wang, Zhang, Chen, and Ma:

Surname Li

Surname Li

Surname Wang

Surname Wang

Surname Zhang

Surname Zhang

Surname Chen

Surname Chen

Surname Ma

Surname Ma

In a follow-up post, Stokols offers some extended analysis of surnames and their distribution.  He includes this diagram showing the population of China’s 20 most common surnames, revealing that these 20 names account for a population more than twice the size of the United States:

0886ab335

He then maps these top 20 surnames, showing the dominant name for each province:20TopSurnamesMappedHe also includes a map of the geographical distribution of the Gao surname.  The Gao surname is concentrated in the north of China, where people are generally taller.  Gao, which means ‘tall’, seems to make people tall!  Actually, no.  Correlation does not equal causality.  But it is, nevertheless, an interesting observation:
SurnameGao

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