Lai Name Meaning

Chinese : from the name of a state called Lai (in present-day Henan province), which existed during the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc). Descendants of the ruling class of this state adopted its name as their surname. Chinese : Cantonese variant of Li 2. Vietnamese: unexplained. Polish: dialect variant of the personal name Lew ‘lion’ (see Lew 2).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Li, Dai, Cai, Bai, Hai, Lao, Lau, Lam, Kai, Lei

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Lai Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the Lai name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name Lai. The Ancestry® ethnicity regions shown are top five most common on average for these people.

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  • China


  • England & Wales


  • Ireland & Scotland


  • Southeast Asia—Vietnam


  • Southeast Asia—Dai (Tai)


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Lai Family Origin

Where is the Lai family from?

Lai Family Occupations

What did your Lai ancestors do for a living?

In 1880, Laborer, Store Keeper and Butcher were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Lai. A less common occupation for the Lai family was Carpenter. The most common Lai occupation in the USA was Laborer. 25% of Lai's were Laborers.

View Census data for Lai | Data not to scale

  • Laborer

  • Store Keeper

  • Butcher

  • Carpenter


United States shown, England data unavailable

Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Lai ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

Lai Historical Records

What Lai family records will you find?

Census Record

There are 8,000 census records available for the last name Lai. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Lai census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search 1891 UK census records for Lai

Passenger List

There are 24,000 immigration records available for the last name Lai. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Lai immigration records

Draft Card

There are 8,000 military records available for the last name Lai. For the veterans among your Lai ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Lai military records

You've only scratched the surface of Lai family history.

Lai Life Expectancy

What is the average Lai lifespan?

Between 1961 and 2004, in the United States, Lai life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1968, and highest in 1977. The average life expectancy for Lai in 1961 was 63, and 71 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Lai

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Lai ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

Famous Lai Family Ancestors

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