I am referring to the figure below, obtained from Wikipedia list of surnames

I am aware that about 40% of all Chinese can be characterised into 10 or so surnames. However, breaking it down, there are particular surnames that are common in certain provinces.

I was wondering if anyone knows the history behind this geographic distribution?

I know that certain surnames, such as were named after their vassal states of China (pre warring state). But obviously, the geography has changed significantly since then.

Are there any other reasons for the high concentration below?

  • I’m not sure that this is a language question per se and it might get closed as such. This is probably more of a question of growing up and staying in ones hometown. There a villages where everyone has the exact same last name. Clans foster and thrive in the same place. – user3306356 Feb 28 '18 at 8:22
  • I suppose you are right and I really hope it does not get closed. This question might be more related to the Chinese history, but I believe that surnames themselves have linguistic implications. Naming convention is a feature of language I believe and it's therefore important to study the history and development of the names. – udidosa Feb 28 '18 at 8:25
  • 1
    Perhaps History SE would yield better answers. – user3306356 Feb 28 '18 at 8:27
  • Chinese society is based on 宗族. – Jacob Feb 28 '18 at 9:54

When the Chinese children grow up, usually they don't leave their hometown. And there is an old saying "父母在,不远游". It's just our culture.

  • I'd say that this doesn't really apply to what's happening nowadays...working in (and living in) a different place from where your parents are is pretty common. – Ben Yang Feb 28 '18 at 23:59
  • @BenYang Yes, you are right. But I'd rather like to take it for the progress of technology(faster and more convenient travel / communication), which means even we leave our parents, we can easily go back or communicate with them as soon as we like. – Xin Sep 5 '18 at 9:38

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