Study: 'Latino' and 'Hispanic' Not The Preferred Labels

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
April 04, 2012

PHOENIX -- Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban - this is how people of Latin American descent describe themselves.

A study by the Pew Hispanic Center shows they want to be known by their country of origin. More than 50 percent of those surveyed do not embrace the terms "Latino" and "Hispanic".

Pew's Mark Hugo Lopez says the survey also shows that Americans from Spanish speaking countries agree on one thing: the major link between them is the Spanish language.

“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,” Lopez said. “So across these many different measures, we find that Hispanics have less of a preference for terms like Hispanic or Latino.”

Rene Herrera, 27, agrees with the study. He’s a first generation American who lives in Phoenix. His parents are from Mexico. Herrera says the study reflects how many Latino feels.

“The non-Latino American by nature of the culture here in America we try to label and categorize everything and I don’t think that that’s really fair to the Latino culture,” Herrera said.

Lopez says the study provides a glimpse into information about Latino identity that can be useful for political strategists in upcoming elections.