Anecdotally, more individualistic cultures (e.g. England) tend to have many last names, while more collectivistic cultures (e.g. Korea) tend to have many common last names (Choi, Lee, etc.).

Is there any large-scale, systematic statistical study of this relationship across countries and over long periods?

Through Googling, I was able to find studies focused on specific countries over specific periods, but nothing systematic across countries and over time. This makes me worried about external validity and thus hope to see more large-scale (meta) studies.

Thank you in advance for the references and thoughts.

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    I think one problem might be the concept of family name itself. There are societies that do not even use family names, and in other societies family names are quite recent and (e.g.) just the first name of some father or grandfather or birthplace (e.g. Ruhollah Khomeini)
    – Jan
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 21:14
  • @Jan I agree. So those societies cannot be studied this way.
    – J Li
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 21:17
  • You might end up comparing Confucian societies with modern Western European societies, which would be a very weak basis for statistic comparisons
    – Jan
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 21:20
  • @Jan I was hoping that there can be interesting variations from other societies: Hindu, Islamic, Sahel, etc. There are also historical periods. For instance, the naming convention of ancient greeks seems to suggest a strong emphasis on city-state belongings rather than family, such as "Plato of Athens" and "Archimedes of Syracuse". Again, I think that naming conventions are at least somewhat reflective of social values.
    – J Li
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 21:24


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