Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ethnic Latins in the US Don't Prefer "Hispanic" Term, According to Pew

In the results of a Pew Hispanic Center survey released on Wednesday (April 4), most US residents who come from a Latin American heritage do not consider the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” to an appropriate definition of their identity.

In a survey of 1,220 US-based Hispanics, 51% responded that they prefer to identify themselves with the name of their country of origin, while 21% call themselves “American.”

Unfortunately, it was the US Government that came up with the idea of referring to all people from Spanish-speaking countries as "Hispanics," and that was over 40 years ago.

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said that Spanish is their first language, 33% say they are bilingual and 2% prefer to use English, largely because it is a quicker way of communicating.

COMMENT: The survey also revealed that the majority of persons from Spanish-speaking nations consider the standard racial categories used by the US Census Bureau to be inadequate. As a result, 51% consider themselves to be in the category of “some other race,” while 36% identify themselves as white and three percent say they are black.

With regard to the term “American,” only a fifth of those surveyed use it to refer to themselves, although the percentage is higher among Latinos born in the United States.

Regarding the opportunities offered by the United States, almost 90% report that they feel it is easier to prosper in the world’s largest economy than in their countries of origin and they say that their lives in the US are better than those of their relatives in Latin America.

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