The American Avent family most likely descends from the Avents found, to this day, in Devon and Cornwall in the West Country of England. The maps and charts below, courtesy of http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames , show the current distribution of the Avent surname throughout the world.
This chart shows the distribution of the name in countries around the world. The US and UK have the most, as you might expect, followed by Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Interestingly, the distribution on the continent of Europe follows the probable migration path of the ancient forebears of the Avents (see the 'Avent DNA Studies' page for more on this).
Within the UK, the most Avents are found in the SW of England, particularly in Cornwall and neighboring Devon. The darkest highlighted county below, in the SW corner, is Cornwall.
In America, we are primarily a southern family, with concentrations of Avents in VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, TN and MS. The migration patterns of American Avents are typical of most colonial families; we originated in VA, then moved west (into TN) and south (mainly to NC, GA and MS). Here is a map showing the current distribution of the Avent name in the US:
The darkest-highlighted states are NC, TN and MS, followed by VA, SC and then GA. Interestingly, within these states, the distribution of Avents mirrors the earliest settlement patterns of the family. Col. Thomas Avent settled in Sussex Co., VA around 1701, and the map below shows that most VA Avents are still found in Sussex Co. :
In NC, the earliest Avents settled in Nash, Edgecombe and Chatham counties, and that's where the largest numbers of NC Avents are found today.
In TN, the earliest Avents were found in Hardeman Co., and such is still the case:
In MS, some of the earliest Avent settlements were in the Lafayette Co. area, and such is still the case:
Like most American families, through much of our history here most Avents made their living through farming. Here's another chart showing the distribution of occupations among Avents in 1880: