Hispanic vs. Latino: what’s the difference?

From the Editors, General

Many people use Hispanic and Latino as interchangeable words. They’re not. While there is a huge overlap between the two, they don’t mean the same thing and cannot be used as if they do. This is an easy mistake to make, and I do it myself every once in a while (often from laziness), but it’s important to note the differences.

Hispanic refers to language.
Latino refers to geography.

Basically, you are Hispanic if you and/or your ancestry come from a country where they speak Spanish. You are Latino if you and/or your ancestry come from a Latin American country.

But wait… isn’t that the same thing?
No, dear friend, it’s not.

Hispanic excludes the nearly 200 million Brazilians who, while accurately labelled Latinos, speak Portuguese. They are Latinos, they are not Hispanic.

Hispanic includes the nearly 50 million Spaniards (population of Spain) who could never be called Latinos.

When picking which one to use you have to know what you’re trying to say. For HispanicHouston.com we used language as the guide, and we ended up with Hispanic instead of Latino. A weird decision if you consider that we also decided not to have the site in Spanish. (But that’s another soapbox for another day.)

So, as a Mexican American, I am Hispanic and Latina. Brazilian Americans are Latinos but not Hispanic. And, Spanish Americans are Hispanic but not Latinos.

Is that clear as mud now? Read this, a study regarding Mexican ancestry was conducted.

NOTE: This is a soapbox moment, brought to you by too much caffeine and not enough sleep…

— Posted by Sandra Fernandez

Photo via Mikko Lautamäki at http://www.flickr.com/photos/22520648@N08/2185647163/.


  • In that case, if everyone who speaks Spanish is hispanic, then would that make anyone who speaks English an anglo? I think not.

    • Are you challenging the definition of Hispanic or that of anglo?

      The modern official definition (per various dictionaries) is that “anglo” means a white English-speaking American who is not Hispanic. So, I guess just speaking English and being American isn’t enough, you have to be considered “white” but not “Hispanic.” I’m pretty sure that discounts me.

      The word Hispanic is defined in several dictionaries (and other sources) as being of Spain or of Spanish-speaking countries, especially Latin America. There are variations depending on which source you’re using. I haven’t found any that makes distinction for race, religion, country of origin, how long your family has been in the US, how long it’s been since your family has actually spoken Spanish, or anything else.

      Lastly, my sister-in-law speaks Spanish, but I’m not going to count her as Hispanic just because of it. Her family is traced back to Germany, which I think would disqualify her.

      • I’ll preface my inquiry/statement by saying I am 3rd generation born and raised in America. My parents raised me speaking English, but spoke to each other in Spanish. I was taught that I was a “Chicano”. I was told that my paternal grandparents were Espanoles. My maternal great grandmother was born and raised in Mexico and my maternal grandfather said that his parents were Espanoles.

        Statement: It has always been my understanding that individuals born and raised in Mexico are Mexicans, and individuals born in Central American are Latinos, menos los de Brazil.

        Today when someone ask me about my nationality, I say, I am Spanish American, my first language is English.

        • Well, yes, individuals born and raised in Mexico are Mexicans. But they are also Latinos (at least they are considered so in the US) and they are also Hispanic (also in the US). If you were born and raised in Honduras, you would be considered Honduran and Central American; but you would also be considered Latino and Hispanic (again, I am talking about language and designations used in the US).

          If you were are from Brazil, you are Brazilian, you are Latino but you are not Hispanic (because you don’t come from a country that speaks Spanish).

          About you… you are absolutely Hispanic. As for the rest… Spanish American vs Mexican American vs Latino… you have enough of a mix you can pretty much call yourself any of them. But you’re always going to find someone who’ll question it.

          Tks for the comment.

          • Mexicans are just Mexicans they are latinos.. they call themselves just Mexican but they are Hispanics because they speak Spanish but they are not lainos.. they more close to America then latina America..

          • I totally disagree with your definition of what a “Latino” should be.
            You should know Latin was the language of Roma Empire originated in the region of Latio (now Lazio). Also, America was the name given by Amerigo Vespucci to the newly found continent.The U.S.A. are only a part of Northern America and most of the Southern US States where founded by the Spanish Empire.
            Still, before the Amerindian tribes got conquisted and assimilated by European Empires, they had no “latin” cultural background.
            As a Southern European speaking french, spanish, portuguese, italian, catalan, galician I wonder why I couldn’t define myself as a Latino stricto-sensus. Brazilians are neither Hispanic nor Latinos. They are a huge ethnic mix between europeans, indians of brazil, africans and they all speak portuguese. Speaking a latin-derived language like spanish doesn’t make you a “Latino”. In my opinion.

          • I’m mexican, a “true mexican”, born and raised in México (which by the way, the real pronunciation is neither “meksico” or “mehico”, it actually is “Mé-shi-co”, the “x” was borrowed by the spaniards from the portuguese cause the spanish language didn’t have a letter that quite sounded the way the aztecs pronounced “México)
            Any way, back to the issue at hand, I agree with the definition of latino and hispanic given by Sandra, but , as a mexican, I personally rather be called “latino”, I feel a bonding connection with other “latin american countries”, we are bonded by history, but I DO NOT WHATSOEVER, feel any connection with España or spaniards.
            I consider other latinos my brothers and sisters, while I wouldn’t consider spaniards not even family or friends LOL. ,

            A comment regarding the statement that mexicans ar not latinos; I don’t know why Elizabeth said that, but through out decades, mexican idiosyncrasy developed a huge ego; we were lead to believe that México was the ‘shit” , that we were better than any other latin country, that our economy was better, etc., and many mexican linked that belief to considering mexico as hispano and all the other nationalities as latinos.

            Also, it should be taken into consideration that mexican society is a very racist one, we discriminate against our indians and against our afro descendant population (yes, there are black people in México, lol).

            I heard this comment from fellow mexicans not once or twice, but a bunch of times: “We are not latinos, we are hispanos, latinos are all those ‘NEGROS’ o ‘PRIETOS’ from all ‘those countries down below'”

            I invite a toda mi gente latina to not reject our differences but to embrace them,and celebrate our similarities.

          • Just because the term “Latino” isn’t specifically used much in Mexico in reference to themselves, it doesn’t mean that they are not Latinos. The term relates to geography(location) and Mexico is in fact further up north but it’s still part of Latin America, REGARDLESS of how high or low(as someone else said) it is…

          • Just because the term “Latino” isn’t specifically used much in Mexico in reference to themselves, it doesn’t mean that they are not Latinos. The term relates to geography(location) and yes, Mexico is further north but it’s still in Latin America, REGARDLESS of how high or low it is in the continent… Plus, America is the ENTIRE continent – from Canada to the lowest tip of Argentina- not just the U.S…. That’s why it’s called the United States OF America. For some reason, we have simply chosen to devide it up through the years but originally the “Americas” were simply one…America. Enough said.

      • Curious.. so then how are most Spanish speaking Latin americans Hispanic? Believe it or not in many Latin american countries Spanish blood is not the norm, even other European blood predominates as is the case of Uruguay… also in certain countries as Bolivia most people are of predominate or full Indigenous blood.. so they’re Hispanic but your sister in law isn’t or am I understanding wrong? I’m Cuban and of full Spanish ancestry and in Cuba a German Latino would be seen as Hispanic before an afro-Latino or Mestizo Latino.. this is because Hispano is used to refer to white Spanish speakers (the same way anglo is in the US even to people who don’t have English blood). actually seeing mestizos refer to themselves as Hispano surprised me when I was in the US

        • The way “Latino” and “Hispanic” is used in the US has nothing to do with bloodlines. It doesn’t designate whether you are catholic or Jewish, white or indigenous, whether you can trace your family three or four generations back to Spain or France or even Africa. In the US, you are Latino if you/your family comes from a Latin American country; you are Hispanic if you/your family comes from a Spanish-speaking country. I wrote this article because most people use the two terms interchangeably, when they aren’t the same thing.

          I’m not an expert in language worldwide. All this article covers is how the two words are used in this country. The way “Hispano” and “Latino” are used in other countries, in other languages, is often very different. I’m learning a lot through the comments on this.

          Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

          • my dad is from mexico we have a lot of family there. but I also have my moms side of the family and there from the U.S.A. like me. I went to mexico in 4th grade and I went to school there and lived there for 7 months but lets get to the real question okay !!!
            if my dads family is from mexico but my moms family is from the U.S.A … what does that make me Hispanic or latina
            ps I speak full Spanish

          • Sounds to me like both words apply to you. You are Latina, because your Dad is from Mexico, which is considered to be part of Latinoamerica. You are Hispanic because your family is from a country where they speak Spanish.

            Of course, you are only 50% Latina or Hispanic, but they still apply to you.

          • My wife was born in the US of polish ancestors would you consider her European? She doesn’t, the thought never enters her mind, She is American. Why do so many of you keep pointing back to Europe for an identification? Aren’t you proud of your nationality? (That’s where you were born) As a naturalized US citizen I consider myself an American and am insulted when called Latino and express my feelings. Latino is nothing but a label slapped on us by, I don’t know who and we grabbed on to it because we would be more readily accepted than if we used, in my case, Mexican. Things are different now but from experiences during visits, People in Mexico still feel that the US owes them something because of the southwest lands that went to the strongest of the countries claiming them. Get over It. and when you get here make it your new home. How can you be assimilated, accepted if you continue to segregate yourself as a Latino

          • I READ WITH INTEREST ALL THE DIFFERENT VIEW POINTS AND DEFINITIONS FOR LATINO AND HISPANIC and was surprised no one spoke of the European Latin rim and the Latin American rim. It has always been my understanding the word “latino” refers to all people who speak a Latin based language. In Europe this includes Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and in some cases Romania. These countries make up the European Latin rim. In this hemisphere the Latin rim is all of South and Central America and Mexico. I was born and raised in the United States to a mother who was born in Mexico and raised in the U.S.. My father was born in the U.S., but his family first arrived in Mexico from Spain. Spanish was my first language and I learned English when I started school. I am a Latina because Spanish is my birth language and it is Latin based. This term however applies to Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, French and some Romanians. If I wish to group myself with all Spanish speakers worldwide then I am Hispanic. If I wish to identify with my hemisphere of birth then I am an American who happens to be a citizen of the United States.

        • We are all Americans, and period, we live in the American continent, America is from Canada , to Brazil, why people use al the time the wrong term, Americans are not only the people that were borns in this country ( U. S. A. ), but all the people that were born in the American Continent, ( North America is: Canada, United States, and Mexico) Central America is: Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica. South America is: all the rest of the countries from Ecuador, to Brazil. So why even educated people only call Americans to the people that are from the United States ?

      • Thanks for clearing that up for me sandra. Ironically i couldnt sleep either and thought of the differences because ive been asked the same question on what the differences are, and found myself not knowing fully the correct answer.with all that being said ive learned something new today and by the way…i like your style;) keep it up. Your fellow hispanic american Rey.

        • Why aren’t they Romans? I’ve never heard of a people of Latin/Latino nationality. It doesn’t matter where your ancestors originated, If you were born in the USA you are American. Aren’t you proud of that?

          • Hi Guillermo,

            I have always thought of myself as American. However, in the US, I’m hyphenated or labeled, whether I accept or not. Mexican-American, Latina, Hispanic, Chicana … there are many labels that are used. This article is just a simple explanation on the differences between two of them.

          • In my sphere of influence I’ve made it my goal to correct those that consider me or themselves Latin. I’ve called AT&T and other corporations for the same . In other words I want to change things and have Mexican born people be proud to say “I’m Mexican”. Same applies to people born in South America. Rather than use a label applied to us by ,Who Knows,? In the past due to overt discrimination Those with light complexion would claim to be from Spain to be more easily accepted.
            To me your position is to convince me to accept a dead language, that stems from the Italic, to identify my ethnicity. I just can’t understand why it’s so difficult for anyone to understand that Mexican is a nationality. If you were born there you’re Mexican if you were born in the USA you’re American. Why do you want to be part of this country but still segregate yourself as a group?

          • I’m not trying to convince you to accept anything. I’m just explaining the differences in meaning between two words that are commonly (mistakenly) used interchangeably.

            If I stop using Hispanic or Latina to describe myself that’s not going to take the word off the census forms, the college application forms, the medical forms, the government forms, etc., etc. I could just check white (or “white non-hispanic”) on those, I guess… will that change anything?

          • The term latino’s never came from Spain to determine nationality, ethnicity or color. What the heck this guy has some personal issues. Sandra was just bringing up a topic that seems to be used in USA and exported out to the world. Latino is not a color. Originally it is was a term used to determine cultural and linguistic and political ties. It included France,Portugal, Spain,Brazil,Mexico etc

      • Okay, this is very inaccurate. Not all people from “mexico” are “Hispanic” nor are they all “latino”. These two terms are constantly thrown out loosely and what makes it even more sad is when someone from south America or central America does not understand these terms. What i’m reading is completely sad. Because the United States label anyone coming from central or south America you are latino or Hispanic? No, this is false. Nor do you have to say you are latino or Hispanic. There are many full blooded native americans within central and south America. Yes, Native American because they are apart of America. Its the AMERICAS not only one “America”. So if you’re native American from south America and you speak your language other than Spanish you’re Hispanic? of course not. I’m native American from South America. My family has our culture traditions and language. I speak English, am I English? I also speak some Russian am I Russian? there is no logic behind the terms the united states use to describe indigenous people from south America. Native Americans In north America are also colonized and speak English/French as well and are not viewed as anything other than native American EVEN if they have European in them. You can be white and Hispanic black and Hispanic native American Hispanic or Asian Hispanic. however the true term for Being Hispanic means you speak Spanish and are completely colonized. Meaning you do not have your original race or tribes traditions nor language. Latino means you are from a region what was once ruled by the romans. Latinos are the French Spanish Portuguese and Italians. If you are mexica u are mexica that’s you’re race . A tribe is a race and nation. Same way a Cherokee is a Cherokee not an AMERICAN. Also, lets not forget the amoun tof racism that exists in that part of America. Anything is better than being an “indio” to these people. and the racism exists veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy strong. native americans from mexico or south America come to the U.S trying to forget their traditions and language because they want to seem “American” and whats the most needed language in America when being bilingual? Spanish. Then these kids grow up thinking they are Hispanic. it’s very sad and it’s more sad when people who are native American do not see that the terms calling native americans from south America and central America are just modern day genocide terms to eliminate their true identity, because that’s really what it is. Same goes for the united states creating blood quantum for native americans in north America. No one has the right to touch native American history and identity (which they are constantly trying to eliminate us but they cant) Learn your history and see where these terms really came from. These loose terms used to describe indigenous Mexicans (who are usually about 70-80% indigenous in the first place) are forms of modern day genocide. Also, if you think its just Native Mexicans going through this I suggest you read on whats going on in the reservations in north America till this day. Northern and southern native American genocide is the same. We all suffered as a people and when you use terms like latino and Hispanic to describe who you are while being indigenous you’re already lost on your real identity. Even if you hold a Spaniard last name it doesn’t make you Spanish (not always) just like how native americans hold the last name smith or a African holds the last name Johnson. these are slave names indigenous people never had last names. History, please learn it. Learn the history of your people and actually dig deep. Once you do that read upon north American indian history and you will see what happened to them happened to us. Most of mexico are not “latino nor Hispanic” people are speaking their Aztec language. If you’re mexica from puebla or whever. Realize your race is mexica not Hispanic or latino. Hispanic is a culture. A tribe is a race and nation like Zulu or himba or Cherokee or apache or Lakota. Also this isn’t just going by ancestry this is who you are. If you take a dna test its not going to say “Hispanic or latino” its going to say you’re native American if you’re from mexico unless u got rly rly mixed but that’s my point. Its not just ancestry. there are many people who are full blooded natives in mexico and south America who understand exactly what im talking about.

        Just something to think about.

        No disrespect but people really need to wake up

        • As a white American, I agree with you. Hispanic is a broad term that encompasses every ethnicity from every country around the world and every race because if you are born in South or Central America, you are Hispanic. It is actually a diverse place with an immigrant culture. It also denies nationality (Mexican, Peruvian etc). However, the worst thing the Hispanic and Latino labels do is undermine Native Americans – I call anyone indigenous to the Americas, Native Americans. I don’t use Amerindian because I have Indian friends and it is another misnomer. Many Native Americans still live their native culture and speak their native language. We describe a group of people by a white European culture that was pressed upon them. It’s sort of like saying if you were born in the US or any English speaking country, you are Anglo. So all Hispanics born in the US are now Anglos.

          If a poor Argentinian of Polish ancestry moves to the US, I doubt they will face any more discrimination than a poor person immigrating from Poland. I don’t think that’s who the label was designed for or who will face a disproportionate amount of discrimination. And, Hispanic is confused for a race in the USA. So, those Polish-Argentinians will probably say, “We aren’t white, we are Hispanic.” But are they?

          As for genocides against Native Americas in the US, there isn’t the direct genocide any more but more a poverty that the government contributes to. I can’t really speak to what is happneing in Mexico. I havee noticed that the Hispanic American tv stations in the US prefer those who look European.

          Lastly, my mother is an immigrant from Portugal. Historically, Hispania is in reference to the Iberian peninsula which includes Portugal. So, you could say I am a Hispanic Latin ((I would never call myself nor would any Portuguese call themselves Hispanic, they are Lusophones or Lusos). And, you are a Native American who is considered a Hispanic Latino or possibly an Indian.

      • I’m a 4th generation Mexican born and speak español perfect as it’s my mother tongue, but I’m white than a snowman and blond as hell! Am I not a Latino? I do understand that I’m not Hispanic because apparently I would have to have Spain descent which I don’t,
        I’m confused

        • I don’t think you’d have to have Spanish descent. And some of it depends on how you’re using the word. For many in the US, the word Latino means Latinamerican or Latinoamericano. And if your family is from a Latinamerican country, you can be considered Latino. Now … some people believe that you can only actually use the word “Latino” if you were actually born in a Latinamerican country. So it’s a question of perspective.

          However, if you’re asking about the word Hispanic … then if your family is from a country where they primarily speak Spanish, you’re considered Hispanic.

          You can call yourself Latino or Hispanic. And some might challenge the word, but you’d be right to use them.

        • Trey, some of this is going to be what you want to call yourself and some of this is going to be related to your heritage. You could call yourself Latino or Hispanic, they both would apply. Spanish-American & Mexican-American also would apply. Just plain American is always a winner (if you were born in the U.S.)

    • You’re making the same sort of common mistake about “Anglo” that this is highlighting about “Latino” and “Hispanic”. “Anglo” is a derivative of “Anglo-Saxon”, referring to a common simplification of English ancestry. Calling someone “Anglo” means they are descended from the English (not to be confused with “British” which is a group that includes English, Scottish and Welsh). “Anglophone” is the term you’re looking for, referring to all English speakers.

      Now, there is a slur “Anglo”, but that isn’t a proper term. Calling Irish-Americans “Anglo” is similar to calling Portuguese descended people in the Americas “Hispano”.

      • you know ,i am from El Salvador I never heard the term of Latino ,i don’t like it, because it mean a different human being from the Anglo people in this country USA., we all are american,this is the name of this continent but i don’t have the power to change Latino or Spanish, it is on paper,in a way, i can give USA the smartest way to rule their country not like our, full of corrupted leader by the way all of you need to go back to school, Spanish is to the people from Spain, I am Salvadorian I don’t know what ,can we call all of us, who speak Spanish, I think the same.but not from ,Spain. it is like the English with the USA,were rule by them. so how can they call themselves like their country united states.

    • I am fourth generation, my great grandmother was born and raised in Puerto Rico. My grandparents and parents were born in the U.S. and speak Spanish. However, I do not. Am I considered Spanish or Latino? Neither?

      • Hi Brianne, the short answer is yes for Hispanic or Latina. You would be considered Spanish if your family was from Spain.

        You don’t have to speak Spanish yourself to be considered Hispanic or Latina. And just because your parents and grandparents did or didn’t (technically) isn’t the reason either. But if your family comes from a country where Spanish is the primary language, you would be considered Hispanic. And if your family comes from a Latin American country, you would be considered Latina. Which word you use is up to you.

  • I consider myself to be mexican-american When people ask me what i am I say i’m hispanic. I wasn’t born in the u.s but I was brought here at a very young age. I was 7 years old now im 24. Is it okay for me to say that im hispanic.

    • Until you become an American citizen your nationality is Mexican (Permanent Alien Resident) After that you have dual citizenship, Mexican/American. I was 6 when my family immigrated and I too have dual cit. Since this is the only country I’ve known and studied I consider myself American, Mexican doesn’t add anything to my identification.

          • Just because the term “Latino” isn’t specifically used much in Mexico in reference to themselves, it doesn’t mean that they are not Latinos. The term relates to geography(location) and yes, Mexico is further north but it’s still in Latin America, REGARDLESS of how high or low it is in the country…

  • Veronica, i think your last sentence was intended to be a question?

    If it was, please don’t feel the need to ask for permission. Of course it’s ok for you to say you are Hispanic, be proud! I’m in your same situation (brought to the U.S. at the age of 2) and I claim it all!
    Yes, I am Hispanic, Latina, and Mexican American. THey all mean a slightly different thing but they they all make up who I am.

    • Sandra, I was born in the United States and raced in Mexico. My parents are from Mexico and I am very proud to say I am a Hispanic. In Mexico schools and the system teach us that Mexico is not a Latino country. We are Mexicans/Hispanics not Latinos. Latinos are from Central and South American Countries. I am sorry to tell you but you are wrong in labeling Mexicans as Latinos.

      • Elizabeth, as much as you want to exclude Mexico. .. mexico IS part of Latinamerica. People saying otherwise are in denial.

      • I studied in Mexico too. I know that in Mexico we don’t use the word Latinos to identify ourselves. However, in the US, Mexico is considered to be a Latin American country, which makes Mexicans also Latinos (when using the word in the US).

        If I go through every country in the American continent (North, Central and South) I’m sure I’d get at least a dozen or several dozen different ways people identify themselves. If you read the comments on this page, most differ from the way the labels are used in the US.

        • I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Boston so what am I since Puerto Rico is part of the USA. Does that make me American, Hispanic, latina or simply Puerto Rican? Is Puerto Rican even a race? After all we are a mix of Indians, Africans and Spaniards.

          • I’m not certain if that makes you an American by birth. If you were born in Puerto Rico then it’s perfectly acceptable to use the terms Puerto Rican, Hispanic, or Latina to identify yourself.

            As I understand it, “Hispanic” is not a race. In the US we usually list Hispanic (or a variation of thereof) as one of the options when identifying race, but it’s often accompanied by “regardless of race” or some such language. I’m going to have to leave the discussion of what is and isn’t a race, the different races, etc. to those who have more knowledge about the topic than I do. All I do (sort of) know is that Hispanic isn’t actually one.

  • Hola Sandra,
    me expresaré en español porque lo hablo mejor y sospecho, por su nombre, que no le será difícil entenderme.
    Me dirijo a usted para decirle que no estoy de acuerdo con lo que dice de hispanos y latinos. Latino también tiene un origen geográfico. Originalmente, latino es todo aquél que procede del Lazio (actualmente un barrio de Roma) que es donde nació el Latín o idioma Latino, vehículo de expresión del Imperio Romano, hace unos 2500 años. En mi humilde opinión, ustedes, los estadounidenses y por extensión el resto del mundo, usan el término latino de forma errónea, puesto que prácticamente toda Europa fue en su momento territorio romano y se hablaba su idioma, el latín. Así, podríamos decir que los británicos o egipcios podrían ser latinos, o incluso los judíos, ya que los romanos estuvieron en Oriente Próximo (Jesucristo, Poncio Pilatos…). El idioma de los rumanos es lo más cercano al latín que existe en el mundo y, sin embargo, no son considerados latinos, sino eslavos. Creo que todo es una simplificación muy poco acertada.
    Los hispanoparlantes del continente americano son, pues, hispanos o hispanoamericanos (hispanic) y latinos serían prácticamente el resto. El inglés de hoy en día tiene un 60% de procedencia del francés (idioma latino) y del latín en su léxico (no de su estructura gramatical), luego también, por ese hecho, tendrían que ser considerados latinos.
    Al pan, pan, y al vino, vino, que se dice en España. Esto es, los brasileños nos iberoamericanos y los francocanadienses son canadienses, los de Guadalupe y Martinica son caribeños.

    • Primerament, perdon por mi espanol. Es mi idioma “segundo” y no lo uso con la frecuencia que deberia..

      En Ingles, “Latin” significa del Latín o de origenes de esa area. “Latino” significa de origines de Latinoamerica, que es de geografia.

      Por supuesto, esta es una descripcion simple y el tema es mas complicado… yo solo queria explicar las diferencias entre las palabras “Latino” y “Hispanic” y porque no son la misma cosa.

      • Please, feel free to answer in English. I am fluent in your language but in terms of being accurate and deep in such a controversial matter I would rather prefer to express myself in spanish for is my first language and I wrongly thought yours as well.

      • Sandra, let me explain Spanish for you. In Spanish we have both masculine and feminine terms, this is why when you refer to a person, you can’t say he/she is Latin, you have to use the feminine or masculine word “Latino” “Latina” it has nothing to do with geography because the Spaniards are also either Latino or Latinas. I hope you study the language so that you can better understand the subject. And Hispanics and Latinos have all skin colors and races ( white, blacks, Asians, native indigenous, mixed, etc, etc)

  • Para acabar, decir que la comunidad hispana se anime y se atreva a considerarse americana, puesto que sus países de origen conforman el continente americano, no sólo los Estados Unidos de América. Desde México a Argentina y Chile, todos son americanos y la coletilla hispano o latino no hace sino segregarles e impedir una emancipación y completa integración en la vida de los Estados Unidos.
    Recuerden, mejicanos, que ustedes estaban antes que los angloparlantes en todo el territorio al oeste del Misisipí. Simplemente, fueron expulsados de sus tierras. No es una cuestión de reclamarlas, pero sí que se consideren tan americanos como el resto y dejen de usar dicha coletilla.

  • English (I think so, sorry…):
    I’m Brazilian!
    Brazilians do not consider ourselves latinos.
    Latinos are those old Italians Laccio region, Italy today. It would be an honor if we were latinos as this ancient European people.
    This sense (Latin and hispanic) is effected by descendants of Anglo-Saxon Americans. We don’t call those who were born in the United States of America of Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Americans, only: northamericans.
    For this reason we do not consider (ourselves) Hispanic, but Brazilian or South American.
    We are South American (then Americans, because the continent is called America! THAT IS A LATIN WORD) and we can also consider white.
    Southern Brazil has 80% of the white population with European ancestry/blood, as well as Argentina and Uruguay.
    A black man with African blood born in Brazil is not African American or African-brazilian; is Brazilian.
    An indigenous native born in Brazil is not indigenous to Brazilians; is Brazilian too.
    Gisele Bundchen is Brazilian and white, despite having German ancestry, doesn’t speak German and considers herself: Brazilian.
    A Brazilian is not defined by the genotype or phenotype or by blood and heritage, but by birthplace: Brazil.
    A Portuguese, Italian, French, Swiss, Belgian (blood French) also are white for us.
    Are not just those who have Anglo-Saxon or Germanic heritage (which the ancient Romans called barbarians, because they were not speaking Latin) are considered white.
    Some Americans can have to us Anglo-Saxon blood/ancestry, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Bulgarian, Spaniard, Austrian, Russian, French and will be called northamericans and will also be white.
    A black or native Indian born in the USA will be for us an Northamerican or American: but not necessarily white.
    Brazil is different from Latin. Brazil can be white, black, Indian, etc.
    American or North American doesn’t mean white: can have European blood, African, Asian, Arabic, including Anglo-Saxon or Germanic.

    En castellano (bien…Yo creo…)
    Yo soy brasileño.
    Los brasileños no se consideran latinos.
    Los latinos son los de la antigua regió llamada Laccio, en Italia hoy. Sería un honor si fuéramos latinos como este antiguo pueblo europeo.
    Este sentido (latino e Hispano) se efectúa por los descendientes de los anglosajones americanos. No llamamos a aquellos que nacieron en los Estados Unidos de anglosajónes o angloamericanos, sólo de estadounidenses.
    Por esso no consideramonos hispanos o latinos y si brasilenõs y Sudamericanos.
    Somos sudamericanos (entonces, americanos, porque el continente es llamado América que es una palabra LATINA!) y también podemos considerarnos blancos.
    El Sur de Brasil tiene 80% de la población blanca con ascendencia europea, como Argentina y Uruguay.
    Un hombre negro con sangre africano nacido en Brasil no es afrobrasileño; es brasileño.
    Un nativo indígena nacido en Brasil no es autóctona de Brasil; es brasileño.
    Gisele Bundchen es brasilenã y blanca, a pesar de tener ascendencia alemana no habla alemán y considera a sí misma: Brasileira.
    Un brasileño no es definido por el genotipo o fenotipo o por sangre y herencia, pero por lugar de nacimiento: Brasil.
    Un portugués, Italiano, Francés, suizo, belga (sangre francés) también son de color blanco para nosotros.
    No son blancos sólo aquellos que tienen sangre anglosajón y germánica (que los romanos llamaron a bárbaros, porque no hablaban latín).
    Algunos estadounidenses pueden tener para nosotros sangre/ascendencia anglosajona, alemán, Italiana, Portuguésa, Polaca, búlgara, española, austriaca, francésa y se llamará a norteamericanos y también serán blancos.
    Un indio nativo o negro nacido en los Estados Unidos será para nosotros un americano o estadounidense: pero no necesariamente blanco.
    Brasil es diferente del latino. Brasil puede ser blanco, negro, indio, etc.
    Américano, norteamericano o estadounidense no significa blanco: puede tener sangre Europea, africana, asiática, Árabe, incluyendo anglosajón o germánico.

    • Thank you for your insights! This is interesting information. In Mexico (or at least in my part of Mexico), we consider ourselves Mexicanos, and even Latinos, but not necessarily Hispanos (or Hispanic). As someone who lives in the U.S., I see people use Hispanic and Latino as interchangeable words, when they’re not. But what you call yourself, the label with which you identify yourself, is something that doesn’t always coincide with what others use.

      All of my family is from Mexico, and we have very light-skinned members in all branches, with eyes that are brown, hazel, gray and even blue. To us, “white” has nothing to do with whether or not you are Hispanic (or Mexicano). My sister, who has dark-blond hair and pink-hued cheeks, has people ask her all the time if her last name is her husband’s (meaning that she can’t be Hispanic). And she laughs and says yes, it is, but hers is Fernandez.

      Thanx for the comment!

      • For us brazilians, mexicans are northamericans and you speak a modern latin language. Mexicans speak castilian strictly, no spanish (from Castilla la Mancha in Spain. You can speak castilian, galician, basque and catalan in Spain!). I’ am Brazilian, but i lived in Spain.
        Hispanian (old) is Spain and PORTUGAL! togheter (modern). There is not Hispanic today. It’s historical wrong for us.
        We are bigger than USA (not considered Alaska), but we are 200 millions in Brazil and we only speak portuguese, modern latin language. We are not hispanic (from Portugal), neither latino.
        Who is from Quebec-Canada (speaking french, modern latin language) is latino (or latinamerican) for you? They live in America and speak a modern latin language too: french. They are canadians and northamericans.
        Anglo-saxan is an old german tribe/people. The modern anglo-saxan (northamerican/USA, canadians/except Quebec) speak english. Then, are they germanic?
        Jamaicans speak english. Are they anglo-saxan? They are jamaicans!
        We have a other connotation in Brazil. The color skin, eyes, hair, language: these things not define a brazilian or american, but birhtplace. The brazilian culture is different.

        Para nosotros, brasileños, mexicanos son norteamericanos y hablan una lengua latina moderna. Los mexicanos hablan castellano terminantemente, no español (de Castilla la Mancha en España. Puedes hablar castellano, Gallego, Vasco y catalán en España!). Soy brasileño, pero vivía en España.
        Hispanian (viejo) es España y Portugal juntos (moderno). No hay Hispania hoy. Esso no es correcto historicamente para nosotros.
        Somos más grandes que los E.e.u.u. (no considerado Alaska), pero somos 200 millones en Brasil y sólo hablamos portugués, moderno lengua latina. No somos hispanos (de Portugal), ni latino.
        ¿Quién es de Quebec-Canadá (de habla francesa, moderna lengua latina) es latino (o Latinoamericano) para usted? Ellos viven en America (continente) y también hablan una lengua latina moderna: francés. Ellos son los canadienses y norteamericanos.
        Anglo-saxan es una antigua tribo/pueblo germánica. El anglo-saxan moderno (estadounidense/EEUU, canadianse/excepto Quebec) hablan inglés. Entonces, ¿son germánicos?
        Los jamaicanos hablan a Inglés. ¿Son anglo-saxan? Son jamaiquinos.
        Tenemos una otra conotación en Brasil. Color de la piel, ojos, cabelo, lengua: son cosas que no definen un brasileño o americano, pero donde nasció. La cultura brasileña es diferente.

        Para nós brasileiros, mexicanos são norteamericanos e falam uma língua latina moderna. Os mexicanos falam castelhano terminantemente, e não espanhol. Español (de Castilha la Mancha na Espanha). Você pode falar castelhano, Galego, Vasco e catalão na Espanha!). Sou brasileiro, mas vivi na Espanha.
        Hispania (velha) é Espanha e Portugal juntos (moderno). Não há Hispania hoje. Isto não é correto historicamente para nós.
        Somos maiores que os EUA (não considerado Alasca), mas somos 200 milhões de pessoas no Brasil e só falamos português, moderna língua latina. Não somos hispânicos nem latinos.
        Quem é de Quebec (de fala francesa, moderna língua latina) é latino (ou latino americano para você? Eles vivem na América (continente) e também falam uma língua moderna latina: francês. Eles são canadenses e norteamericanos.
        Anglo-saxão é um antigo povo/tribo germânico. O anglo-saxão moderno (norteamericano/EUA, canadense/exceto Quebec) fala inglês. Então são germânicos?
        Os jamaicanos falam inglês, são anglo-saxões? São jamaicanos.
        Temos uma outra conotação no Brasil. Cor de pele, ojos, cabelo, língua: são coisas que não definem um brasileiro ou americano, mas seu lugar de nascimento. A cultura brasileira é diferente.

    • I think everyone should have a free will to identify with whatever they want. The world is becoming more and more connected. In 1000 years we will all be just 1 mixture of culture. The term latino and hispanic does help identifying those who came from that part of the world, as far as identity its nothing to be taken literal, people of Americas came from many background, cultures, ancestry, its would be impossible to lump these diverse people in 1 basket. If anything your true identity is you as an individual as a human being in this small planet we have to share.

  • but like all spaniards spanish speaking people from (latin america) are afraid and never aknoweledge that the romans conquered spain for 6 centuries and it was them (THE ROMANS) who introduced their language (LATIN) to spain and erased from HISPANIA as they the ROMANS called the peninsula themselves not because it was named as such by so called native people of spain because even before the ROMANS named it HISPANIA It was called as IBERIA but by the GREEKS 3 centuries before the ROMANS. so all of you spanish speakers all full of ignorance and being proud of a lanaguage that isn’t even native of spain let alone from (LATIN AMERICA) and never accept the fact that eve most commonly used personal names in spanish language come from the GREEKS, ROMANS ,GERMANIC HEBREW and ARABIC origins, because all those people made what spain became as a nation for the first time for the past 500+ years by mingling all together those different cultures and languages foreighners brought to spain and the those became in the late 1400s as the CASTILIANS later in the 1500,s as the ESPANOLES=SPANISH CONQUERORS that conquered what is now called LATIN AMERICA along with the portugusese.

  • but like all spaniards spanish speaking people from (latin america)ans spain ,you are afraid and never aknoweledge that the romans conquered spain for 6 centuries and it was them (THE ROMANS) who introduced their language (LATIN) to spain and erased other languages from HISPANIA as they the ROMANS called the peninsula themselves not because it was named as such by so called native people of spain because even before the ROMANS named it HISPANIA It was called as IBERIA but by the GREEKS 3 centuries before the ROMANS. so all of you spanish speakers all full of ignorance and being proud of a language that isn’t even native to spain let alone from (LATIN AMERICA) and never accept the fact that even the most commonly used personal names in spanish language come from the GREEKS, ROMANS ,GERMANIC HEBREW and ARABIC origins, because all those people made what spain became as a nation for the first time for the past 500 years by mingling all together those different cultures and languages foreighners brought to spain and the those became in the late 1400s as the CASTILIANS later in the 1500,s as the ESPANOLES=SPANISH CONQUERORS that conquered what is now called LATIN AMERICA along with the portugusese.

      • I’m Italian and French and the other half is Portuguese. What am I? Oh, I was raised in the states and born in Montevideo, Uruguay in case that changes anything, oh and raised in Jersey.

        • Interesting mix. You probably can call yourself Latino or Hispanic if you wanted — born in a Latin American country where they speak Spanish. You might be able to say that your family is European. I don’t honestly know. What do you usually say when people ask you where you’re from?

          • Sandra let me tell you that I think you are mistaken. Mexicans are Hispanics. We are not Latinos. We are taught in our country that Latin American and Central American are Latinos, not Mexico

          • Yes, I went to school in Mexico too. In Mexico, the word Latino does not apply to Mexicans because Mexico considers itself part of Norteamerica, not Latinoamerica (which really means Centroamericanos and Suramericanos).

            In the US, the word applies to everyone who comes from a Latin American country; in the US, Mexico is considered part of Latin America. So, in the US, Mexicans are Latinos.

            And I am not the one labeling anyone, just explaining the difference between the words Hispanic and Latino, which many people erroneously use as if they were the same thing. They are not the same.

            I think this conversation alone proves that this issue is more complex than just these two words, though.

            Thank you for this comment. I really appreciate getting all of these insights and reminders that words don’t mean the same thing throughout the world.

          • I was born in NY, my father was born in NY, his father was born on an Island considered part of Italy, and his fore father ws born in Spain. I REFUSE to answer any racial, nationality, cultural, etc., questions on.ANY form! I am an American, PERIOD! even though I have a Spanish surname.

  • How would this rule apply to food. I was in a Walmart the other day. One shelf was labeled Latino, the next Hispanic, and the third went back to Latino again. Was Walmart just trying to cover all their bases?

    The Hispanic food did not seem to be labeled in Spanish and more than the Latino food did.

    Just curious about your take on that.

  • I am American by birth. My parents were from Spain. I went back there with them when I was very little and did not return to live in the US again until I was in my twenties. What do I consider myself to be? an American.

    I find the entire discussion of “Hispanic” vs. “Latino” completely lame and rediculous, and nothing more than yet another example of the US government attempting to once again slap census labels on entire groups of people with vastly different ideologies, cultures, races, and heritage under one umbrella for the sake of data collection. I breeds intolerance, racism and every other negative I can think of where pride in ethnic tradition is concerned.

    In Spain, an “hispano” is NEVER considered a Spaniard- who is, on their terms, a caucasian European that speaks Castellano (the other word for Spanish language :P). “Hispanos” are typically considered to be those people who are born of Spanish and Indian heritage in a South American nation. End of Story. Many people in Spain laugh about the use of terms like “Latino” as well since by DEFINITION in any other non-US context “Latino” may refer to a person/place/tradition, etc that originates from the Latin – ROMAN heritage. Which accurately speaking from a historical perspective would technically cover way too many nations to list, considering the swathe of what was once the Roman-occupied, Latino-speaking world.

    The insistance to label onceself by ancient history is truly sad and should stop. It is one thing to discuss your heritage. It is another to constantly adhere to the notion that you must label yourself as this or that in order to count yourself part of some subculture you feel necessary to align yourself with for the sake of an identity by which to distinguish yourself from others. Be a HUMAN BEING, and nuture your traditions but please stop labeling people into camps.

    • You write that “In Spain, an ‘hispano’ is NEVER considered a Spaniard” but “are typically considered to be those people who are born of Spanish and Indian heritage in a South American nation.” What about those who don’t have any indian heritage but are born in a South American nation? Are they also considered Hispanos (in Spain)?

      • For Spaniards, Hispanos refers to people from places which had been Spain’s old colonies in the New World – the countries which once made up New Spain.

        Spaniards absolutely do not consider themselves Hispanic – not ever.

        • I’m a HispanoSaxon! For I have Canadian and Colombian nationalities! we ought to just forget about the division and take the word Anglo out of Anglo-saxon and replace it with Saxon and all who speak Spanish and English in the americas yes… forgetting about skin colour or ancestry/ can indeed be a tribal Hispano-Saxon. For indeed Hispanic culture is what took over in the south and Saxon culture is mainly what took over in the North. They both are Euro-centric cultural identities and well hey… we all speak euro-centric languages! if we don’t want eurocentric names then you ought to stop speaking euro-centric languages. Latin is a totally Eurocentric tongue. in its old form > ALl the germanic tongues too.. Enlgish, Danish, German, so yeah, Hispano-Saxon. even if you don’t speak SPanish or Enlgihs if you live here and only speak one, you still are a Hispano-Saxon. This identity will unite AMerica (aka THe americas) and just as the census says, hispanic isn’t a COlour race.. well saxon doesn’t have to be either! Im a Hispano-Saxon and full proud thereof! from America! (the Americas) Both cultures are rich and both have a lot to share with each other in order to as a group become better!

          Jesujs loves us

  • Thank you for explaining it so clearly! As a (neither Latin@ or hispanic) person this has always confused me. And as an author with a Latin@/Hispanic character it was something I sorely needed to know. =)

  • Excellent distinction:

    “Hispanic excludes the nearly 200 million Brazilians who, while accurately labelled Latinos, speak Portuguese. They are Latinos, they are not Hispanic.

    Hispanic includes the nearly 50 million Spaniards (population of Spain) who could never be called Latinos.”

    I’m neither but live in a Hispanic/Latino world in Miami.

    • so you don’t live in the Saxon, Germanic world where folks speak English ay? Saxon is an ethnic caller just like Hispanic. for the roots of the languages, Germanic is the mother tonge of English just like latin is of Spanish. It’s the same thing!

  • These sometimes confusing distinctions can also be made about people of African descent or those considered a part of the African Diaspora. I’m not a fan of the term African American as it leans heavily towards anything African being relevant only in light of Americans. Xenophobia 101.

    I prefer the term black because it allows for regional and national distinctions: black Caribbean, black Jamaican, black African, and then of course, black American.

    That’s a good stop gap. For me, these distinctions really suck and I know one day we’ll have a mocha-colored panacea free of racial and national distinctions.

    • Lisa, thank you for that comment. Labels can help identify commonalities between segments of the population. Often, however, they are misused and allow for cliches and stereotypes. And they are often just wrong.

    • I love that, Black American. I never liked the term African American because its not accurate for many. Especially those of creole descent like myself with dark brown skin. Black seems to cover more ground accurately. Just like Brazilians do. It makes too much of a correlation with a continent that I have very little insight and connection to.I’m American and Black, that I know for sure, the rest is speculation.

      • As per he last two comments being from Jose and Zeke, accordingly and coming from the US Census: Pew Research Hispanic Trend Project, US Congress is still struggling to give an accurate definition.
        Last I checked, Latino/a is derivative of the language Latin. Latin is all off which covers pretty, read above – as covered by Park and Brasileno.
        In short, Sandra, you need to do more research on this definitions. It does not help if you do not understand the history and legacy of the US/Mexico. As I learn more of it, it makes me wonder…. by the way, Latino/a – is it a sexist attempt: Females – who is latina and who is hispanic? Is it a class division: Males – who is latino and who is hispanic?
        What role does color: white/brown male/female?

  • For whom it may concerned, Latin or Latino are the same thing. These are the people who are Latin or Latino: Italians, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanians who are Europeans or of Europeans decent. All of them were conquered by the Romans who started this whole thing. Because of that these people spoked Latin and after centuries of speaking and going through changes they developed their own languages based on Latin. Just like in Canada, USA, Central American and South America became known as Latin (USA) and Latinos in Latin countries. seventy-five percent of Argentineans are Latino-Italians, like the pope, the rest are from Spanish, Indians and other Europeans decent. So, Italians, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanians are Latino. People borned in USA are Latin-Americans. In other words we are multiracial countries, because whether you are Canadian, or anyone in the continents of the Americas most of the population are mixed. If you are Italian and married to a French, congratulations you are Latin or Latino if you are from a Latin Country. Congratulations again you are part of the largest group of people in the Americas.

    • @ Lorrie and Dave: The term Latino/a, as used n the US Census and how it is commonly used in California most decidedly does not refer to simply Latin. The term is short for Latino Americano or any person who has roots in Latin America.

  • Actually, Latinos are those who trace their ancestry from romance language countries that derived their language from the Latin(therefore the word Latino) language (Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and Romania). In other words if your roots come from i.e Brazil, Mexico, PR, Argentina or any of the original European Latin countries … your a Latino. Yes, Romanians are Latinos.

    Hispanic are just Spanish descendants. Mexicans, Argentina, etc.

    • Hispanics are all people who come from a country where the language is Spanish ( better term is castilian), this is why Brazilians are not Hispanics. Spain and most Latin American countries except Brazil, Guyana, Haiti.

  • my son is applying to college this year. mother’s family all in Brazil x 100 years.

    Is this considered Latino for college applications?

    • Your son’s mother is Brazilian or your mother is Brazilian? Either way, sounds like he’s at least part Latino.
      I would say that he can list that in the college applications. However, if he is 1/4 or less the college may consider this to be fudging the truth a bit if they ask him about it. I wouldn’t think that, but I’m not the one evaluating the application.

  • My question is regarding Brazil. I have always thought of Brazilians as Latino as do many others. But this is not a universal view I’m told.

    • My (limited) research gave me the following: Brazilians are Latinos but not Hispanic. This is because Brazil is a Latin American country, but not a country where they speak Spanish.

  • Latinos are also Spaniards. Any person who speaks any Latin language is Latin, that means anyone born in a country where the language comes from Latin such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Romanian. Spaniards are also Latinos, they call themselves Latinos and Hispanic as well. Please, if you are going to write an article about this subject do more research.

  • ok lets clear up a few things since everyone in the US it seems (including the original poster) are confused to what Latino/Hispanic actually means. the only correct things about the post is that Latino/Hispanic terms are different and that you cant use them interchangeably. ok lets start now.

    FIRST of all the US terms of white, black, asian, latino/hispanic etc to denote races is total BS since there are not races like that. there are only 3 major racial groups (pay attention now) Caucasoid, Mongoloid and Kongoid (formerly negroid it seems). white, beige, tan, brown and black are ONLY your skin tones not races in any way. european, asian, african or american arent races either just continental origin. so you are not asian if you were not born in the actual continent of Asia end of story. you are STILL Mongoloid racially but not asian , rather american one. same goes for african americans you are not african in any way you are just black americans that dont have any connections to the actual africa. and some people would argue that since they CAME from there then they are africans. well following that logic (or illogic) that would mean that we are all africans, since we all came from there some 200k years ago :). so if you are to use the term RACE you cant make up your own ones since that classifications are already in the place from the people that invented the term.

    k that brings me to my SECOND point. the term Hispanic means of SPANISH HERITAGE and it was the term Romans used to describe present day SPAIN. since portuguese people got divided after the reconquista from the moors they wanted their own identity so they used another Roman term Lusitania to differentiate themselves from the spaniards in general (castillian, gallician, basque, catalan, andalusian etc). so portuguese and brazilians are today considered Lusitanic. and ofc you cant have latinos (which is just spanish for latin) without the original Latins, italians who are the direct descendants from the original Latin people called the LATINI (google it) who lived in the region of LATIUM and spoke LATIN lol. you dont get more LATINO than that. so it is important to note here that LATIN is a 3000 year old culture that originated in central Italy and that HISPANIC, LUSITANIC, FRANKIC, ITALIC etc. are a persons HERITAGE, meaning what they inherited from ancestors (language, tradition, values etc.) i would have to address the issue that being Latino has nothing to do with being brown, or mexican or aztec/mayan whatsoever. the only reason we have the term LATIN AMERICA today in the first place is because Roman Culture (originally latin) was spread via spaniards and portuguese to this continent. so whoever feels like his native side should be considered his own please stop with the whole Latino/Latina this or that crap. if you have a problem with the european side at least educate yourself and see where the term comes from. which brings me to conclusion (excuse me for the long post)

    and the THIRD issue, you can actually be Caucasoid (US americans use caucasian falsely), Male, White, Latino, Hispanic, American, Mexican, Christian, Catholic and Liberal at the same time lol, since those are different classifications for different things. so RACE: Caucasoid, Gender: Male, Skin Tone: White, Culture: Latino (which is just spanish for Latin), Heritage: Hispanic, Nationality: American (meaning citizenship, passport etc), Ethnicity: Mexican, Religion: Christianity. Faith: Catholicism. Political views: Liberal. SO ALL THAT AT THE SAME TIME, and you can even throw in blue eye color and, blonde hair color in there cause i have seen a couple of locals like that in mexico too. so people please read a bit more and stop with stupid question like am i white, latino, hispanic, chicano, or natural blonde lol, you can be all that at the same time. dont just think that you are automatically brown (even if you are light skinned, tanned or beige) just because some idiot on the streets of America told you that all Mexicans are by default brown even if they are not. over and out.

    • 1. I think Sandra’s key point is that Hispanic and Latino have different definitions. Often forgotten by many.

      2. It’s clear from the above comments that the definitions of these terms are varied, changing, and certainly not universally agreed upon.

      3. The many comments on this topic have been extremely interesting and are greatly appreciated.

      4. Keep in mind that academics, governments, colleges, and the groups themselves all seem to have their own definitions.

  • It is my understanding that the Romans gave the Iberian peninsula the name Hispania, which includes both Spain and Portugal. Hispanic refers to anyone who can trace their roots back to Hispania, including many Brazilians. There are different definitions of the word, depending on which dictionary your use.

  • It is my understanding that the Romans gave the Iberian peninsula the name Hispania, which includes both Spain and Portugal. Hispanic refers to anyone who can trace their roots back to Hispania, including many Brazilians. There are different definitions of the word, depending on which dictionary your use.

  • Heyyy everybody, I think Sandra is trying to give us a short and simple explanation between “Latino and Hispanic” like she said before, she is not and expert in this matter, but she was pretty accurate on her definition…. Looks like some people take her definition offensive, come down people, at least she is taking the time and courage to share in this site what she knows about “Latino & Hispanic ” Good job Sandra, a few hours ago I had a conversation regarding this matter and I had the idea in my brain but couldn’t explain to my friends in the simple way you did !! Lol !! Thanks!! Like the way you express yourself….. Need to learn from many of you guys!!

    • I believe that both words would apply to your family. However, if you’re using “Latino” as a shortened version of “Latinoamericano” then it won’t apply to those only from Spain.

  • Hi, I just want to say that we Brazilians, Mexicans, Peruvians, Chileans, people from French Guiana, etc are not latinos.

    You are hispanic if YOU were born in a spanish speaker country and spanish is your main language, it has nothing to do with your parents as americans think.

    Spaniards, italians, rumanians, french people, etc are latinos.

    Mexicans, brazilians, argentinians, etc are latino-americans because we were born in the AMERICAN CONTINENT(Mexico+central and south america)

    And if we’re going to being strict, none of us are latinos because latin people died a long time ago

  • I don’t know why it is so difficult to explain this! It’s as easy as 2+2=4!
    “Hispanic” applies solely to Spanish speakers country or descendants from a Spanish speaking country which can include anywhere from Mexico all the way to Argentina except Brazil ,Guyana and Surinam.

    Latina or Latino incudes everyone who is from a country where their language derives from the Latin Language ( French, Spain, Portugal ,Romania, and Italy) and Brazil… Dare I say it? Falls into this category so by definition they are Latinos/a whether they accept it or not.

    Also, I never heard the term of Argentinian – Italian! Argentina just happens to be a country where the majority of their ancestors migrated from a diverse part of Europe (which was a large population of Italy). But they still are Hispanic and Latin!

    • You are wrong.

      Hispanic: you can not include Portugal. That one is a big mistake. Portugese people speak their own language, not spanish.
      Anglo: not all northern europeans are anglos. There are scandinavians, dutchs, germans, Polish…
      Latin is a language spoken in the Roman Empire. Not just Italy. The island of Great Britain spoke latin for some centuries. Just look at the etymology of Manchester or London. You’ll be surprised.
      This last issue brings me back to the original topic of discussion: Who are the latinos? 60% of the vocabulary of the English language comes from straight latin or some derivative, such as french. The gramatical structure is germanic and the remainng 40% of the words. So… are anglosaxons latinos?

  • Definitively, Latinoamerica and Latino are inappropriate words to define a person born in an AMERICAN (northern, central, southern) spanish-speaking country. First of all, the first name given to the spanish language is CASTELLANO as many other languages are spoken in Spain (euskara, aragonès, català, asturianu, galego, fabla, occitan…).
    The oldest castillan language testimonies of the IXth century from the monastery of Valpuesta. This tiny land was inhabited by a basque speaking tribe called the bardules so Old Castillan was roughly a Latin Hispanic version invented by non-latin tribes. It was influenced by the arabic language of Al-Andalus and other romanic languages.
    CASTELLANO became the official language of the court of Castilla Kingdom which merged with Leon Kingdom into the “Reino de Castilla-y-Leon”, not the whole Spain.
    This Kingdom conquisted the south of the Iberian peninsula belonging to muslims.
    Then, they crossed to the Atlantic sea, divided the world in two with Portugal an they conquered the west part of the South America, the Carribeans, Mejico, California, Texas, Florida and Philippines in order to appropriate their resources (gold, coffee…).
    Do you still believe your native heritage has something to do with Latin/Latino ??
    Someone who speaks spanish is a castellanohablante/hispanohablante. Not a latino.
    Un saludo cordial desde Francia para las Americas. Qué viva el idioma castellano

  • thanks a lot i needed to know this information because my ELA class is doing a essay on what we believe and i wrote about how people get mixed up with hispanic and latino a lot but u helped me understand why and how and what they both mean now i can get a good grade and hopefully be as smart as u gracias por todo sandre fernandez this might be the last time i write to u because I’m using a school laptop so bye

    • Esmeralda, please note that I am not an academic and neither is my explanation. If your professor is looking for an academic explanation, your library probably can point you to several credible resources. Otherwise your grade may not be as good as you’re hoping.

      However, if you want just an easy to remember explanation, then mine is the way to go… maybe.

  • First and foremost, Latin is only a language originally spoken in the Italian province of Latium (modern Lazio.) By the 6th century B.C., Latin had become the language of Rome, which was the chief city in Latium. The Romance languages were formed from the regional variants of Latin that survived the Roman Empire, the five most prominent being known now as Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian. Many countries in which Romance languages were official languages later colonized, or at least controlled, other lands outside of Europe. In some of these areas, new languages called creoles were formed as a result of contact between the colonizers and peoples who did not speak Romance languages.

    What am I getting at here? Latin is a language, not a race, nor a land mass. If it WERE a land mass it would be Italy being as Latin came from the Italic language. Only in the US is a Hispanic person considered or called ‘Latin.’

    Why don’t we quit labeling people?

    • Exactly! Why can’t Americans (not only US, the whole Americas!) understand this fact?
      LATIN LANGUAGE WAS BORN, SPOKEN AND DEAD IN EUROPE. Spanish language is not the only ROMANIC language derived from VULGAR LATIN (spoken by people). Did you know Brazilians DO NOT considered themselves Latinamericans ? Indeed, they refuse to be likened to Portugal because native Brazilians got exploit by Portuguese Empire in a similar way Spanish, French, Dutch, English Empires did it in the Americas.
      It is just a non-sense to say that Spanish-ruled American cultures are LatinAmericans.
      What’s more, the first time AMERICA was mentioned on a map, it refered to BRASIL.
      American natives never named their land as America, it was given by the Europeans.
      Finally, as an European of Latin cultures I claim the right to define myself a LATIN.
      Saludos cordiales de un francés que habla français, castellano, portugués, italiano, català, euskara, galego, english. Por favor, estudien un poco la historia de AMERICA.

  • Decolonize your minds. The real topic of conversation should be how these labels were used to erase indigenous ancestry and create a new identity that benefited the colonizers conquests. Stop focusing on nationalism and get back to your roots.

  • “You are Latino if you and/or your ancestry come from a Latin American country.”

    100% wrong! This is an exclusive US concept.

    It is funny how a simple concept became all wrong worldwide. Originally, “Latinos” were those who born in a country where the official language was derived from Latin(romance languages), French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Romanian, simple as that.

    UK is one of the few countries who still recognize the original concept.

    Quebec, Brazil, Angola and other real latinos do not accept this title.

    Macao people call themselves as “Latino-Chinese” or “Portuguese-Chinese”.

  • I just wanted to say in reference to your ignorant, uneducated, hillarious view on what you think Hispanic, Latino is, or whatever, is wrong.
    First of all I can tell from your photo that you are a general Mestiza. Mexicans by far and wide carry an admixture of Caucasoid genealogy. Now whether that admixture with the Mongoloid is great or minimal, it doesn’t discount the fact that Mexicans through forfeiting their heritage and culture have been genealogically destroyed. It is said, if you forfeit your heritage and culture you have been defeated, if you breed in with them, you have been destroyed. Eagerly and willingly the then Aztec submitted to customs not of their heritage or culture. If not, there would be some resistance. Why speak a White Spanish language? Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean- Caucasoid.
    As for Hispanic- ever heard of Visigothic Hispania? Hispanic’s are White. Mexicans hide behind White labels in knowledgeable of who they even are.
    There is no such thing as Latino, it is actually disrespectful to the Latin world. Through Gangis Khan and his ravagement of Europe (Russia is Europe as well), along with the invading Semite, the populations have changed. You are a mixed race peoples, duh!

  • Etymology aside, East Coasters say Latinos, Southerners say Hispanic, and West Coasters prefer Chicano. I think we are still bound by the linguistic culture of a diverse marketplace that identifies us differently in varying geography. Notwithstanding, it is important to appreciate the conversation until we concur on “Americans of Hispanic descent”.

    Hay Dios Mio!

  • The problem with these original post’s definitions is not the accuracy of both terms in the ‘USA’. I am sure that both terms mean for some people in the USA, what Sandra had shared with us here. What this post lacks is a point of view. A personal point of view. Are these definitions really accurate or they are just De Facto labels to facilitate or prevent discrimination of people who come from Spanish speaking countries? The explanation in question does not address this issue or others for that instance. I.e. from Medical Histories to School Applications, Hispanic or Latino are terms used to get information about a person’s ´Race¨, such inquiries are racist in nature and should be questioned as such. Therefore, innacurate labels become problematic and a point of view cannot be waived. This post, oversimplifies and presents important terms as absolute ‘definitions in the USA’. We have to stop the semantic for a moment. These kind of definitions-express are worrysome in any area of analysis. Even more so, when we are talking about human beings, people who have needs and expectations. As members of different communities, we must fight stagnant definitions of ourselves. We have to see our different ethnicities as evolving entities with its own right to grow and change within any society, old or new. Yes, change, and progress. When we accept simple definitions or redefine in a simple manner a group of people or an individual, it always ignores the right of those groups or individuals to be empowered by their inherent dialectic nature. Thus, we ignore the fact that ‘labels’ do necessarily evolve. Lastly, we have to be aware that this kind of simplification as noted by many of the replies is not a shallow issue. A narrow view endangers the assimilation of many groups to the economic and social cycles. It adds one more obstacle, and slows dpwn the effort to catch up with the fast pace of an evolving society. Thus, transforming our communities in a dignified way, while allowed to keep our own traditions for many generations. As a result, it slows the new immigrant communities’ path to success, in a simplified-multi-labeled environment that promotes classism and prevents social mobility. I do praise the efforts of Sandra to explain what Hispanic or Latino mean in the USA. But I do praise much more the replies in search of a true identity or the truth in an identity. Such searches as well as Language are evolving forces and need to viewed as such and not publicly dismissed. Not being an Academic is not an excuse to perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

  • Hello. As often happens with the denominations North Americans cast on the rest of the world, in this case southamerican people. There is not much to think about here. As someone has pointed out before, original latins were those natural from Rome, and by extend the other terriotories they conquered and influenced.
    You see IF Spaniards are not latinos, that they are, southamericans could never be named latin, that they are not, anyways.

    Also you contradict yourself when you extract the conclusion of southamericans being latin by the virtue of the name of a continent (latin american wars, napoleon dixit) leaving out brazilians in the next commentary. This doesnt make much sense? Is a self defeting argument, and you can see how.

    Hispanic ( Hispania) , Spanish (Spain) , and Latino (citizen of the Roman large state) are three different denominations in which you can refer a person from Spain.

    On the other hand i dont see any southamerican person fitting any of these other than a continued missuse of a term that should of never took place.

    I hope this clarifys something, no offence intended.

  • This article is somewhat misleading. Yes hispanic has several definitions, but the term hispanic comes from the term hispania, which is located in the iberian peninsula. What countries are in the iberian peninsula? Spain and Portugal. Hispanic from my knowledge does not mean spanish speaking. Hispanophone means spanish speaking. During 600 B.C the Greeks called it Hesperia. Later, the Carthaginian empire took over in 300 B.C and they called it Ispania, which means land of the rabbits. When the Roman Empire expanded they’ve called Hispania adding the H. I never liked the term hispanic. I consider myself 100% American.

  • Sandra,

    I find this article very helpful when explaining to my Caucasian friends the difference between the two. I find it very funny how you state the true book definitions of both of these terms and yet you have people argue against you trying to say their own definitions (the ones their parents taught them) are the true ones. Its their OPINIONS against FACTS that you provided. It’s incredible how many people do not understand such a simple concept.

  • Just so you know, alot of people from Brazil hate when people say they speak portuguese. They prefer “Brasileiro”…. just saying. I’m Chilean and couldn’t care less either way haha

    • So what language do the Brazilian speak? Obviously portuguese. Brazil is a very diverse country. I’ve done extensive research, the three largest groups in Brazil are the Italians, Germans, and the Spanish.

      • To me (and you) and most of the world, Brazilians speak portuguese sure, but to many Brazilians they say they speak “Brasileiro”….! If you’ve done extensive research then you would have found that Brazilians partly say this because it’s also a political statement. In your “extensive research” you would learn that there is a lot of culture in language and the way Brazilians live is not necessarily the lifestyle you find in Portugal, right??? It’s a “them and there is us” attitude you don’t see.

  • French people, italians, romanians, spaniards, etc…have been calling themselves latino for the last 2000 years. It will be really a surprise for them to know that someone in America has deprived them from that term.

    Do you even know how and why the term latinoamerica started and whats suposed to mean?

    Hispanics are people who speak spanish? Then people in spain who speak galician or catalan are not hispanics?

    Seriously some of you need to go to the basics.

    (Italians or spaniards are not latinos….. yeah, sure)

  • As Mexico is considered part of North America (geography) can Mexicans be still be considered Latinos? Mexicans are certainly Hispanic, in its great majority.

  • I’m from Chile and here we don’t identify with the term “Latino”. It is an alien word for us. We identify as Americans because Chile is in the American continent.

  • My ancestors came from the Main Canary Island, further back I am a assuming that they came from Spanish. And my maiden name is from Portugal, good figure. So I do not know if they also came from Portugal. I was born in Puerto Rico. My mother has no idea who her Ancestors are, I only know my fathers. What am I ? I have lived most of my live in the States. I hate when I have to answer those stupid questions of who I am, I always identify myself as a Human Being.

    Norma Vargas Cruz

    • I always hated the question “Where are you from?” I was born in Detroit, but that’s not the answer they want. They want to know where my parents and grandparents are from. I am American. But that’s not all I am. And it’s the other labels they are most interested in. Unfortunately.

  • So im dominican what would I refer myself as , hipanic because i speak castiano… or a latina based on my geography stand point?