Swank was born on July 30, 1974 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her mother, Judy Kay (née Clough), was a secretary and dancer, and her father, Stephen Michael Swank, was an officer in the Air National Guard and later a traveling salesman.

Her surname, originally Schwenk, is of German origin. Many of Swank's family members hail from Ringgold County, Iowa, and her maternal grandmother was of Spanish and Shoshone (Native American) ancestry. After having lived in Spokane,

Hilary Swank's Family Tree