Nearly 40 years after the federal government mandated the use of "Hispanic" or "Latino" to categorize Americans who trace their roots to Spanish-speaking countries, the terms still lack complete acceptance among Hispanics themselves, according to a nationwide survey from the Pew Research Center.
The survey, When Labels Don't Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity, found that a little more than half of adult Hispanics say they most often identify themselves by their family's country of origin, while less than a quarter say they prefer a pan-ethnic label.
Respondents said by a 2-to-1 ratio that the more than 50 million U.S. Hispanics have many different cultures rather than a shared common culture. However, they share a strong connection to the Spanish language.
About half (47 percent) of respondents consider themselves very different from the typical American, while only 21 percent use "American" as their primary identifier.
U.S.-born Hispanics, who make up nearly half of Hispanic adults in the country, expressed a stronger sense of affinity with other Americans and America than immigrant Hispanics did.
Most respondents said that life in the U.S. is better than in their family's country of origin, and almost all said it is important for immigrants to learn English in order to succeed in the U.S.
The report is based on findings from a national bilingual survey of 1,220 Hispanic adults conducted Nov. 9-Dec. 7, 2011, by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
The report is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website, www.pewhispanic.org.
The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan, nonadvocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C., and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
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