The meaning of the name Rivera is "Lives Near The River". The origin of the name Rivera is Spanish.
Rivera is a very generic surname of Spanish and Italian origin which was the old spelling of ribera, the Spanish word for "riverbank" or "roadside". This is a family name that has not a dominion, (place of origin) and was probably applied to squatter and displaced families that lived along roads, rivers or canals during the final years of the Spanish Reconquista. Rivera is also a northern Italian variation of the mostly Sicilian surname "Ribera".