What does being Latino really mean? According to Latinos themselves, the label may mean less these days.
Of the 1,220 Latinos surveyed in a bilingual poll between November and December of 2011, a slim majority (51 percent) said that they usually identify themselves by their family’s country of origin, and only 24 percent said they prefer to self-identify as either “Hispanic” or “Latino.”
Indeed, most Latinos don’t care about the “Hispanic vs. Latino” debate nor do they identify themselves using those labels. But among those who do, 33 percent said they self-identify as “Hispanic,” while only a tiny 14 percent prefer “Latino.”
When asked whether U.S. Latinos share a common culture, only 29 percent of respondents said yes.
In terms of race identity, half of Latinos (51 percent) identify themselves as either “some other race” or “Hispanic/Latino.” Of the other half, 36 percent identify as white and only call 3 percent identify themselves as black.
Despite the results, the Latinos polled did share some commonalities.
The Spanish language seems to play a pivotal role in the Latino community. Nearly all Latinos (95 percent) think it’s important for future generations of Latino Americans to speak and understand Spanish. This may cause some cultural tension with another large majority of Latinos (87 percent) who think learning English is a necessary ingredient for success in America.
The study also polled Latinos on their political and religious belief. Politically, Latinos are generally more progressive than the general public, though they do hold views that are more conservative than those of the general public. In terms of religion, the results confirmed those of an earlier study which showed that religion plays an important part in the lives of Latino immigrants, but that religion becomes increasingly less important for successive generations of Latino Americans.
Read more at the Pew Hispanic Center.