An umbrella term referring to a person whose ethnic origin is in a Spanish-speaking country, as well as residents or citizens of the United States with Latin American ancestry, except for those from Brazil, which is not a Spanish-speaking country. Federal policy defines “Hispanic” not as a race, but as an ethnicity; it notes that Hispanics can be of any race.
The term Hispanic is more commonly used in the Eastern United States and is generally favored by those of Caribbean and South American ancestry or origin. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey of Hispanic adults, 50 percent of respondents said they had no preference for either term. But among those who did express a preference, “Hispanic” was preferred over “Latino” by a ratio of about two to one. Among Hispanic Texans, however, 46 percent said they preferred the term Hispanic, while just 8 percent said they prefer the term “Latino.”
The U.S. Census Bureau uses terms such as “Hispanic or Latino” and “non-Hispanic or Latino” in its survey questions on ethnicity and race.
For more about the Hispanic or Latino question read:
- “Hispanic Or Latino? A Guide For The U.S. Presidential Campaign,” NPR, Aug. 27, 2015
- “Which is it, Hispanic or Latino?” CNN, May 3, 2014
- “You say Latino,” a mini comic by Terry Blas, Aug. 19, 2015