TAMPA, Fla. — While a Pew Research Center study found most people don’t have a preference on whether to use the term Hispanic or Latino, some say it’s an important distinction.
So what’s the difference?
Hispanic refers to people who descend from a Spanish-speaking country or territory.
Latino refers to regions in the Americas where Romance languages are spoken. Those are languages that derive from Spanish, Portuguese and French. That includes Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
For example, someone from Spain is Hispanic, but not Latino. Someone from Brazil, a country whose official language is Portuguese, is Latino but not Hispanic.
But someone from Guatemala is both Hispanic and Latino.
It gets more specific from there: Latino is a term used for men or is used as an umbrella term for everyone. Latina is used for women.
Latinx, a gender-inclusive term, grew in popularity in the early 2000s. While still widely debated, it became an official word in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2018.
If you don’t know which term to use, just ask.