Are you Latino or Hispanic?

Are you Latino or Hispanic?

Do you know what the distinction between the phrases "hispanic" and "Latino" is? While "Hispanic" normally refers to persons with a Spanish-speaking heritage, "Latino" usually refers to those from Latin America. Some people argue that the use of the term "Hispanic" discriminates against non-Spanish speakers, while others say it's a matter of definition alone - since many Europeans and Americans have Spanish backgrounds, they're considered Hispanic too.

The Census Bureau uses both terms interchangeably, but some scholars think this glosses over a clear racial divide. According to some estimates, about 70% of Latinos identify themselves as white or black, compared to 15% who identify themselves as native Mexican or Puerto Rican.

People from Latin America may identify as Latino/a because they believe it best describes them racially, or perhaps because it is the most accepted category in countries like Mexico and Puerto Rico where questions on race are asked in surveys. But considering that Latinos account for nearly every type of person identified as Hispanic by the Census Bureau, this suggests there is more to it than simple acceptance - perhaps racism plays a role.

In addition, many Hispanics originate from countries where discrimination based on skin color is common. In these places, people often identify themselves by their ethnic origin rather than their race, so it's no surprise that many Latinos feel comfortable doing the same thing.

What is the difference between the Hispanic identity and the Latinx identity?

While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, such as by the United States Census Bureau, Hispanic people have ancestors from Spain and Latin American Spanish-speaking countries, whereas Latino people have ancestors from Latin American countries that were formerly colonized by Spain or Portugal. The two groups overlap significantly - according to the US Census, one in five Americans identify themselves as both Hispanic and Latino simultaneously - but they do have differences in how they are identified by researchers and in their experiences as minorities.

In the United States, Hispanics constitute the largest minority group, with a total population of about 150 million people (19% of the total). Of these, approximately 55 million are considered Mexican Americans, 10 million Puerto Ricans, and 90 million Latinos of any origin other than Mexicans or Puerto Ricans.

The term "Hispanic" was first used in academic contexts during the 1970s, when scholars began to study ethnic relations within U.S. society after years of ignoring racial issues. Prior to this time, the only group studied extensively in academia was African-Americans. As part of this new focus on Hispanics, the U.S. Census started collecting data on ethnicity in addition to race in 1980. Although this initial data collection effort was not intended for research purposes, it has become one of the most important sources of information on Hispanic identity.

Are Mexicans considered Latinos?

The Census Bureau defines the words "Latino" and "Hispanic" in the 2010 census: "Hispanic or Latino" refers to a person of Mexican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or background, regardless of race. Thus, Hispanics or Latinos are all people whose ancestry is from Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, or some other Latin country.

According to the Census Bureau, 95% of Mexicans are Hispanic or Latino, as are nearly 7 out of 10 Cubans. About 1 in 5 U.S. citizens born in Mexico are not Hispanic or Latino.

The Census Bureau notes that there is no single definition of what it means to be Hispanic or Latino. However, according to the agency, a commonly used definition is someone who identifies with a Latino ethnicity or culture. This could be anyone whose family origin is from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, or another Spanish-speaking country. A person can also identify as Hispanic or Latino if they report this as their only racial category on the census questionnaire.

In addition to Mexicans and Cubans, other persons of Hispanic or Latino origin include people of Spanish descent from any of the many countries where ethnic Spaniards have migrated throughout history, such as Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia. Although most Hispanics or Latinos belong to one of these five groups, others do exist.

About Article Author

Sally Pleiman

Sally Pleiman is a passionate and knowledgeable teacher. She has been teaching for over 10 years and has a degree in Education + a minor in English. Her favorite thing to do is create fun and creative activities that will help students learn. She loves reading books about how people have learned throughout history and using that knowledge in her classroom.

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