Even though both terms are used interchangeably, there is a difference between Hispanic and Latino. Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to ancient Hispania (Iberian Peninsula). Now it relates to the contemporary nation of Spain, its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a Hispanic. Latino refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin. While there is a significant overlap between the groups, Brazilians are a good examples of Latinos who are not Hispanic (they speak Portuguese).
|Terminology||Hispanic refers to language. Hispanic if you and/or your ancestry come from a country where they speak Spanish.||Latino refers to geography. Specifically, to Latin America, to people from the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic), South America (Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, etc.) and Central America (Honduras, Costa Rica, etc.)|
|In the U.S.||Was first adopted by the United States government during the administration of Richard Nixon It has been used in the U.S. Census since 1980. "Hispanic" is used more often in states such as Florida and Texas.||The government adopted these terms because they did not have an inclusive term to identify and segregate the mixed white with black and native "mestizo or mulato people of Central and South America.|
|Derived from||The term "Hispanic" comes from a Latin word for Spain "Hispania", which later became "España". It refers to a person of Latin American or Iberian ancestry, fluent in Spanish.||The term "Latino" is shortened from Spanish latino americano, "Latin American" thus narrowing the scope of meaning to Central and South America, and Spanish speaking Carribean Islands.|
|Usage||"Hispanic" is primarily used along the Eastern seaboard, and favored by those of Caribbean and South American ancestry or origin.||“Latino” is principally used west of the Mississippi, where it has displaced “Chicano” and “Mexican American.”|
The term Hispanic is derived from the Latin word for "Spain," While Latino is derived from Spanish word for Latin but which as an English word is probably a shortening of the Spanish word latinoamericano, which in English means "Latin American"
In United States
- This term is used to denote the culture and people of countries formerly ruled by the Spanish Empire, usually with a majority of the population speaking the Spanish language.
- Collectively known as Hispanic America, this definition includes Mexico, the majority of the Central and South American countries, and most of the Greater Antilles.
- The nations formerly pertaining to the Spanish East Indies are sometimes loosely included in this definition, as their cultures have some Spanish or Latin American elements.
- It was first adopted by the United States government during the administration of Richard Nixon
- It has been used in the U.S. Census since 1980.Hispanic is used more often in states such as Florida and Texas
- Latino (derived from Latino Americano) refers specifically to people living in the US of Latin American nationality and their US-born descendants. Latin America refers to countries in South America and North America (including Central America and the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken there.
- The term Latino is restricted to immigrants and their descendants from either Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian or Portuguese speaking countries in North, Central and South America, and it includes the French-speaking areas of Haiti, French Guiana, French speaking Canada and the French West Indies.
- The term was brought into use because the Nixon administration could not fit the racially mixed North, Central and South Americans into an established race group since they are mostly mestizo and mulato (white european mixed with black slaves and local Indian/Native tribes). Mestizo and Mulato was considered inferior to White and they knew most people would not identify with the labels, so Hispanic and Latino labels were selected for use. Since the late 90's Hispanic/Latino labels were questioned and forced the Census to put a disclaimer that Hispanic or Latino were ethnic and not racial terms which unfortunately is not the case. Both government, law enforcement and the media utilize the terms when describing people (i.e. one of the suspects was a white male while the other was a hispanic male....) in their broadcasts.
- The government adopted this term in 1997, and it was used in the 2000 census.
- Latino is used more often on the West Coast and especially California.
- Over 70% of Mexicans are mestizo, while Argentina has the least percentage of mixed race people.
- Since ethnicity cannot be correctly identified by the Hispanic/Latino labels due to the wide difference in variety of cultural groups within North, Central and South America, and the Caribean (including customs, foods, traditions and music styles) most people deriving from those areas are realizing that those labels are racial and that the only label that accurately represents their ethnicity is their nationality which immediately identifies their cultural, traditions, foods, music etc. (i.e. Colombian, Peruvian, Guatemalan, etc.). For example, the term Hispanic Food basically really means Mexican food and does not provide an accurate glimpse of the different types of food available and ethnic to the vast region of the Americas and the Caribean.
Culture and view of self
According to a survey released by the Pew Hispanic Center, only 24% of "Hispanic" adults said they most often identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. About half said they identified themselves most frequently by their family's national origin, e.g. Mexican, Cuban or Salvadoran. An additional 21% said they called themselves American most often, a figure that climbed to 40% among those born in the U.S. Most people are beginning to find it offensive to be called hispanic or latino and prefer to be called simply by their true ethnic group such as Mexican, Colombian, Bolivian etc.