Latino Americans

Latino Americans

Hispanic or Latino Americans refer to an ethnolinguistic group in the United States with origins in the countries of Latin America and the Iberian peninsula consisting of Spain and Portugal and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. Reflecting especially the Latin American population, which has origins in all the continents and many ancestries, Hispanic/Latino Americans are very racially diverse, and as a result form an ethnic category, rather than a race. While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, Hispanic is a narrower term which only refers to persons of Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry, while Latino is more frequently used to refer more generally to anyone of Latin American origin or ancestry, including Brazilians. Hispanic thus includes persons from Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin Americans excluding Brazilians while Latino excludes persons from Spain but includes Spanish-speaking Latin Americans and Brazilians. Because Brazil's population of 191,000,000 is several times larger than Spain's population of 47,000,000 and also because there are more Brazilian Americans (between 360,000 and 1,100,000 as of 2010) than Spanish Americans (about 85,000 as of 2010) in the United States, Latino is a broader term encompassing more people. The choice between the terms Latino and Hispanic among those of Spanish-speaking origin is also associated with location: persons of Spanish-speaking origins residing in the eastern United States tend to prefer the term Hispanic, whereas those in the west tend to prefer Latino.

Hispanics or Latinos constitute 16.7% of the total United States population, or 52 million people, forming the second largest ethnic group, after non-Hispanic White Americans (a group composed of dozens of sub-groups, as is Hispanic and Latino Americans). Hispanic and Latino Americans are the largest of all the minority groups, but Black Americans are the largest minority among the races, after White Americans in general (non-Hispanic and Hispanic). Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, Colombian Americans, Dominican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish Americans, and Salvadoran Americans are some of the Hispanic and Latino American national origin groups.

There have been people of Hispanic or Latino heritage in the territory of the present-day United States continuously since the 1565 founding of St. Augustine, Florida, by the Spanish, the longest among European American ethnic groups and second-longest of all U.S. ethnic groups, after Native Americans. Hispanics have also lived continuously in the Southwest since near the end of the 16th century, with settlements in New Mexico that began in 1598, and which were transferred to the area of El Paso, Texas, in 1680. Spanish settlement of New Mexico resumed in 1692, and new ones were established in Arizona and California in the 18th century. The Hispanic presence can even be said to date from half a century earlier than St. Augustine, if San Juan, Puerto Rico is considered to be the oldest Spanish settlement, and the oldest city, in the U.S.

Read more about Latino Americans:  Terminology, History, Demographics, Political Trends, Culture, Notables and Their Contributions, Performing Arts

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