Short Last Names Beginning With K

This article is about short last names beginning with K that are under five letters.

We look at the most common four-letter, three-letter, and two-letter K surnames in America in recent years.

We also investigate whether anybody in the United States is named simply “K”.

Using The 2010 U.S. Census

We used the 2010 U.S. Census to look at the numbers for these names.

That allowed us to grab the top ten in each category of four, three, and two-letter names.

The 2010 census also gives a breakdown of how people reported their ethnicity. Some of these names have at least tiny percentages of all the possible ethnic categories.

We’ve included the top two ethnicities in the tables below when the second is above 20%. The first listed ethnicity has the higher percentage.

Most Common Four Letter Last Names Starting With K

King is the most common four-letter surname starting with K in America.

It’s also one of the most common names in the United States. There were over 465 thousand bearers in 2010.

None of the other names in the top ten below are above 100 thousand. But they are still relatively common.

Last NameNumberMostly
Kaur48,753Asian & PI
Kemp46,146White, Black
Khan76,171Asian & PI
King465,422White, Black
Knox44,742White, Black

Seventy percent of people named King reported as white in 2010. Twenty-three percent reported as black.

Eighty-one percent of people named Khan ticked the box for Asian or Pacific Islanders.

The name of King is of English origins. Early bearers of the name may have worked or lived near a royal household.

The name of Khan is of Mongolian origins. The meaning is similar to the English name. The khaan was the military ruler.

Most Common Three Letter Last Names Starting With K

You can see in the table below that three-letter last names starting with K are generally less common than in the previous section.

There are only three with over twenty thousand bearers.

Last NameNumberMostly
Kam3,749Asian & PI
Kao6,018Asian & PI
Kee9,049White, Black
Keo3,223Asian & PI
Key33,501White, Black
Kim262,352Asian & PI
Koh3,595Asian & PI
Koo4,923Asian & PI
Kuo7,426Asian & PI

Kim is the most common three-letter surname starting with K in the United States.

With over 260 thousand bearers, it is one of the more common names in America. About 94% of people with the name reported as Asian or Pacific Islander in the census.

The origin of the name is Korean. It is now the most common last name in Korea.

Key and Kay are variants of each other. The English origins are from an old word for a jackdaw.

You may think that Kee is also a variant of these two. But it’s actually a variant of the Irish name McKee.

Two Letter Last Names Starting With K

I can’t give you the top ten two-letter names starting with K in this section.

That’s because there are only a total of six examples in the 2010 U.S. census.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few more two-letter K family names in America. It’s just that other names didn’t have at least one hundred bearers in 2010.

The U.S. National Archives only publishes details of surnames with one hundred or more bearers. Here is a summary of the six names from the census:

Last NameNumberMostly
Ka795Asian & PI, Black
Ke1,890Asian & PI
Ki784Asian & PI
Ko13,312Asian & PI
Ku4,888Asian & PI
Ky1,042Asian & PI

As you can see, most bearers in the census were predominantly Asian or Pacific Islanders.

Ko was the most common two-letter name starting with K with over thirteen thousand people.

About 94% of respondents named Ko identified as being Asian or Pacific Islander. The name has Chinese origins.

Ka is the name with the most spread of heritages. The breakdown is like this:

  • Asian & Pacific Islands: 57%
  • Black: 21%
  • White: 15%

K As A One-Letter Last Name

Statistics for the name “K” aren’t in the published U.S. census of 2010. That means that even if it exists in the country, there weren’t one hundred people with the name.

Could there be a few families with “K” as their name in the United States?

The late mathematician A. Ross Eckler conducted a study of one-letter names in the 1970s using telephone directories.

You may be too young to remember telephone directories stacked on the hall table. Here’s a picture:

The entries were formatted as lists under the name.

Eckler pointed out that many examples in the books were errors that came from reversing initials and last names.

These were the two entries he found for K:

  • Chesko
  • De Torony Nicholas

Could some of these be typographic errors for someone with an initial K? For example, could the correct name be “K Chesko” instead of “Chesko K”?

Probably. In fact, I suspect they are both errors.

Other Surnames That Start With K

If you want to look at more names, check out these articles:

Index Of Other Short Last Names


Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

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