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What Do Latinos or Hispanics Call Themselves?

Updated on May 22, 2014

Well, at least some of them are confused. In the USA, some 35 million people claim they are Hispanic, Latino or Spanish. Just these three words are confusing for some, don't they all indicate the same origin? Isn't Spanish also Hispanic also Latino? Or, is Spanish just for South America and Europe? Latino, just for those from Latin America, and Hispanic combines both? No entiende!

They are the fastest growing population in the USA and only second to "white" population. But as America blends in color, it is becoming difficult for many of them to know the difference as we all are American, that is the bottom line.

The two U.S.Census of 2000 and 2010 shows many are confused when asked about what race they were. Some 1.2 million of them in 2000 indicated that they were Hispanic, Latino or Spanish in origin, but by 2010, said they were "white". Was this because of marriages to Anglo-white Americans? Kids from such marriages?

Maybe the issue is what the definition of race really is. Race is a characteristic for white, black, and Asians. It is less clear for Americans with brown color. According the Census, those of Hispanic descent are not considered a race. Many features are similar between those of white and brown people in appearance. Some Hispanics look more European, others more Indian. So, when people of brown color were faced with questions about their race, forms usually only provide either the white, black, or Asian. Some provide an option for "some other race".

The researchers noted that many of the identification to "white" race between the 2000 and 2010 census came from those not old enough to fill out the form in 2000 but were of age in 2010, which is age 15. But while 1.2 million identified themselves as "white" in 2010, some 1.3 million switched their claim from "white" to "some other race".

Why not just include Hispanic on the form? Crazy.


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