“Singh” is Most Common Last Name for New York Taxi Drivers

NEW YORK, NY—Using a list of the 52,131 active medallion taxi drivers in New York City, data scientist Seth Kadish graphed the frequencies of the 20 most common first and last names. Middle names were not considered.

Graph of New York Taxi Driver names (click to enlarge)

The heat map below the bar graphs shows the frequency of first and last name pairings. This hints at the diversity of first or last names in some countries compared to others. For example, Singh is the most common last name, but none of the most common first names are paired with it; it is the traditional Sikh male last name, but due to the diversity of first names that match with it, none of them are in the top 20. The most common first name paired with Singh is Balwinder, which is the 52nd most common first name. Conversely, Jean (the French version of John) is the sixth most common first name, but is not associated with any of the top 20 last names. Francois, the most common last name paired with Jean, is not even among the 100 most common last names.

The five most common first names are Md, Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammad, and Mohamed.


  1. Is that a good thing? Patel is the most common last name for Motel owners with an annual revenue of $1 Million and above. Now, this makes a good headline – not “Taxi Driver”.
    Its high time the Singhs take note and diversify into more lucrative and respectable professions. While Sikhs do not discriminate on things such as profession, the rest of the world cannot be expected to have similar standards and does form opinions based on ones’ profession.


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