04/04/2012 12:10 pm ET Updated Apr 04, 2012

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

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.

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