Hispanic or Latino? Most Spanish Speakers Say Neither

Apr 4, 2012

"Hispanic," or "Latino?"  Turns out, most Americans of Spanish-speaking origin don't find either term specific enough.

A survey released by the Pew Hispanic Center this morning shows more than half of those surveyed want be known by their family's country of origin: 51 percent surveyed said they preferred to be called "Mexican" or "Argentinian," for example.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, just 24 percent  say they use the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino" most often to describe their identity. And 21 percent  say they use the term “American” most often.

A majority of those surveyed said they want to be known by their family's ethnic roots because they don't think more generic terms are as representative of their culture.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, senior field correspondent with Fronteras spoke with Mark Hugo Lopez of the Pew Hispanic Center:

The Hispanics see the Latino community in the United States as a diverse community when you ask Hispanics is there a shared culture among U.S. Hispanics, nearly 70-percent of Hispanics say U.S. Hispanics have many different cultures," said Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew Hispanic Center.

While most of those surveyed did not have a preference between "Hispanic" or "Latino" those who did have a preference chose "Hispanic" by more than a two-to-one margin — 33 percent versus 14 percent.