iOS app Android app More

'Hispanic' Preferred Term Over 'Latino,' Pew Hispanic Center Study Says

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/ 4/2012 12:10 pm Updated: 04/ 4/2012 1:09 pm

Hispanic or Latino? That is the question.

A Pew Hispanic Center study released on Wednesday holds that most members of the ethnic group the terms describe in the U.S. don't care which you call them. But, of those that do care, "Hispanic" is preferred over “Latino” by more than a two-to-one margin—33 percent versus 14 percent, according to the study.

The same study found that Latinos/Hispanics also lack consensus on numerous other issues of self-labeling.

"When it comes to describing their identity, most Hispanics prefer their family’s country of origin over pan-ethnic terms," the study concluded.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed say they use their family’s country of origin to describe their identity, 24 percent say they use the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino,” and 21 percent say they use "American" most often, the study found.

And, when it comes to race, many Latinos don't see themselves fitting into those racial categories assigned to them by the U.S. Census.

The categorizations of Hispanic and Latino, often thought of as racial classifications, in actuality refer to ethnicity. Alluding to a group of people of various racial backgrounds, "Hispanic" and "Latino" most commonly describe those peoples united by the Spanish language and Latin American culture.

According to the Pew Hispanic survey, half of of Latinos identify their race as “some other race” or volunteer “Hispanic/Latino" when given the option. Meanwhile, 36 percent of Latinos identify their race as white, and 3 percent say their race is black, according to the study.

Guy Garcia, the founding executive director of AOL Latino, says that many Latinos identify themselves and each other in complex terms.

"Recent studies have shown that Latino identity is malleable, contextual and constantly evolving," he wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post last year.

"Younger Latinos in particularly see no contradiction in calling themselves Dominican, American and black, or Caucasian, Hispanic-American and Colombian, or gaysian, blaxican, or any other racial-cultural-sexual amalgam that fits their nationality, genealogy, sexuality and mood," Garcia concluded.

Quick Poll

Which term do you prefer?


Loading Slideshow...
  • 43%

    <blockquote><strong>43% </strong>is the percentage increase in the Hispanic population between April 1, 2000, and April 1, 2010, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group. Source for all statistics: <a href="" target="_hplink">United States Census</a> </blockquote>

  • 50.5 million

    <blockquote><strong> 50.5 million</strong> is the size of the Hispanic population of the United States as of April 1, 2010, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16.3 percent of the nation's total population. In addition, there are 3.7 million residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. </blockquote>

  • 132.8 million

    <blockquote><strong>132.8 million</strong> is the projected size of the Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 30 percent of the nation's population by that date. </blockquote>

  • 2nd

    <blockquote><strong>2nd</strong> is the ranking of the size of the U.S. Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2010. Only Mexico (112 million) had a larger Hispanic population than the United States (50.5 million). </blockquote>

  • 14 million

    <blockquote><strong>14 million </strong>is the size of the population of the Hispanic-origin population that lived in California in 2010, up from 11 million in 2000. </blockquote>

  • 96%

    <blockquote><strong>96%</strong> is the percentage of the population of Webb County, Texas, that was Hispanic as of 2010. This is the highest proportion of any county in the country.</blockquote>

  • 82

    <blockquote> <strong>82</strong> is the number of the nation's 3,143 counties that were majority-Hispanic.</blockquote>

  • 10.4 million

    <blockquote>10.4 million is the number of Hispanic family households in the United States in 2010.</blockquote>

  • 35 Million

    <blockquote><strong>35 million</strong> is the number of U.S. residents 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2009. Those who <em>hablan español</em> constituted 12 percent of U.S. residents. More than half of these Spanish speakers spoke English "very well." </blockquote>

  • 26.6%

    <blockquote><strong>26.6%</strong> is the poverty rate among Hispanics in 2010, up from 25.3 percent in 2009, and 23.2 percent in 2008.</blockquote>

  • 14%

    <blockquote> <strong>14%</strong> the percentage of the Hispanic population 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or higher in 2010.</blockquote>

  • 47%

    <blockquote><strong>47%</strong> is the percent of the foreign-born population that was Hispanic in 2009.</blockquote>

  • 9.7 million

    <blockquote><strong> 9.7 million </strong>is the number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2008 presidential election, about 2 million more than voted in 2004. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting went from 47 percent in 2004 to 50 percent in 2008. </blockquote>

  • 1.1 million

    <blockquote><strong>1.1 million</strong> is the number of Hispanics or Latinos 18 and older who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces.</blockquote>

Related on HuffPost: