Li is the pinyin and Wade–Giles romanization (spelled Lí, Lǐ, or Lì when pinyin tone diacritics are used) of several distinct Chinese surnames that are written with different characters in Chinese. Li 李 is by far the most common among them, shared by 93 million people in China, and more than 100 million worldwide. It is the second most common Chinese surname behind Wang.
Languages using the Latin alphabet do not distinguish among the different Chinese surnames, rendering them all as Li. In the United States, Li is the 14th most common surname among people of Asian-Pacific Islander descent and the 519th most common surname overall, up from 2,084th in 1990. Li is the 3rd most common Chinese surname in the Canadian province of Ontario.
List of surnames romanized as Li or Lee
- Lǐ 李 (3rd tone), the 2nd most common surname in China, shared by 100 million people worldwide. The character also means "plum". Commonly spelled as Lee in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and many other overseas Chinese communities. It is pronounced as "Lei" in Cantonese. In Vietnam, it is spelled as "Lý", not to be confused with "Lê".
- Lǐ 理 (3rd tone), the original form of Lǐ 李, now rare. The character also means "reason" or "judge".
- Lí 黎 (2nd tone), the 84th most common surname in China. "Lai" in Cantonese. The character also means "dark".
- Lì 栗 (4th tone), the 249th most common surname in China. "Leut" in Cantonese. The character also means "chestnut".
- Lì 利 (4th tone), the 299th most common surname in China. The character also means "sharp", "benefit", "profit", or "interest".
- Lì 厲/厉 (4th tone). "Lai" in Cantonese. The character also means "strict" or "severe".
- Lì 酈/郦 (4th tone). "Lik" in Cantonese. The character is exclusively used in proper names and has no other meaning.
- Lee (Korean surname): a common Korean surname derived from Lǐ 李.
- Lý (Vietnamese name): a common Vietnamese surname derived from and also an alternate spelling of Lǐ 李.
- Lê (surname): a common Vietnamese surname derived from Lí 黎.
- 最新版百家姓排行榜出炉：王姓成中国第一大姓 [Latest surname ranking: Wang is the number one surname in China]. Xinhua News Agency (in Chinese). 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
- 李姓起源 [Origin of the Li surname] (in Chinese). Eastday. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-11-20.
- "Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 2000". United States Census Bureau.
- "Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 1990 – Names Files". United States Census Bureau.