Just over half of Americans of Spanish-speaking origin have no preference between the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino,” according to new data from the Pew Hispanic Center. Of those with a preference, 33 percent preferred “Hispanic,” versus the 14 percent who said “Latino” better describes them.

How Hispanic-Americans identify themselves is only one aspect of the detailed picture provided by the Pew study released Wednesday. The Pew Center asked a sampling of the 50 million Latinos around the country questions about culture, social attitudes and life in the U.S.

The survey began with a simple question: “What do you call yourself?”

When it comes to identity, Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, says it’s not the name that counts, but where you’re from.

“More than half of Hispanics overall say it’s the name of the country of origin of their families or their ancestors — names like Mexican, Dominican or Cuban, for example,” Lopez says, that matters most.

And that association with country of origin is highest among immigrant Hispanics.

But whether respondents were first-generation immigrants or third-generation descendants of immigrants, there was agreement on one thing: the importance of language.

“We found that virtually all Hispanics think that U.S. Hispanic immigrant adults should learn English,” Lopez says.

But researchers “also found that when we asked Hispanics about the importance of Spanish, virtually all of them say it’s important that future generations speak Spanish.”

In other words, English fluency should not come at the expense of that important cultural link to their country of origin.

Marketing expert Laura Martinez writes and blogs about Hispanic consumer interests. She says one of the biggest misconceptions among marketers involves language.

“Still, a lot of people think all Hispanics speak Spanish, or all Hispanics speak Spanish only,” Martinez says.

In an effort to reach out to that population, that assumption has led many companies to make marketing missteps, Martinez says — like the very popular “Yo quiero Taco Bell” ads, featuring a hungry Chihuahua.

To Taco Bell’s credit, Martinez says, the fast-food chain’s marketing philosophy has evolved. The current campaign is offering everyone “mas for their money” — more for their money.

The blending of cultures is a strong theme throughout the Pew study results. Lopez points to data that younger Hispanics are marrying outside their ethnicity at rates higher than the general population.

“We’re seeing, in many respects, Hispanics who are newlyweds marrying someone who is not Hispanic,” Lopez says. “And that Hispanics and Asian-Americans are the ones most likely to do that, compared to any other group.”

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More than 80 percent of Hispanics interviewed said they’d have no problem if their children married someone from a different heritage, whether or not that person was Hispanic.

That openness to other cultures is also reflected in popular culture, as in ABC’s Modern FamilyIn the sitcom, a Colombian-born character, portrayed by actress Sofia Vegara, is married to non-Hispanic Ed O’Neill. The cross-cultural lines often become tangled as the two interact on screen.

In the end, says Martinez, it’s all about inclusion. She says marketers like Nike and Apple are successful because they don’t lean on ethnicity, but rather show a mosaic of races and ethnicities using their products.

Businesses that don’t figure out how to approach Hispanics correctly may find that’s an expensive mistake, Martinez says.

“Think about it,” she says. “We’re talking about a population of 50 million people. This is a market that’s growing. They’re buying cars, they’re getting mortgages, they’re sending their kids to school,” she says.

And they’re doing it with companies and services that understand their myriad interests and cultures.


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  1. Hello to all of you. I am a political blogger and post to many of the sites here in the U.S. I am also a Republican but have been, for many years a Democrat. When Barack Obama became president, I changes once I saw what he was about. I tell you these things for your own good. So many people in the U.S. are either in a state of serious denial or they just do not want to know the truth. First of all, I know that many Mexicans, whites and blacks will support Obama simple because he is black. Many others will support him because they believe he will give them everything they want. I guess those are valid reasons to the person they belong to. I do know this however, Obama is a devout Muslim and believes in Allah. He does not believe in God. He is anti-American, pro-socialist and practices the trick he learned by studying Saul Alinsky’s book on organizing a society. If you vote for Obama, you are voting for a man who is without God, a man who will give you what you want, for a short time only. The man has lied from day one and has an administration that is bent on racial divide and hate. That is the way he will re-organize society…racial hatred and division in his attempt to make the US into a marxist nation. Do not fall for the deceits of this man. Do not vote for him. You are a part of the American society and I am sure you want the very same things I and millions of other Americans want….less taxes, better chances for ourselves and our children, health and hoped for prosperity. We do not want a country this is based on Islam and we do not want a president who is Islamc from birth.

    • Thank you for your comment as I do believe everyone is entitled 2 their opinion and can appreciate that you are making the effort to be politically involved. That is definitely commendable, however “for healthy debate’s sake,” I would like to point out that I am a Christian and President Obama has always declared he is a Christian. He went to the same Christian church for 20 years & for his inauguration even had the Lincoln Bible especially chosen.

      On the other hand, let’s just say that you are right & he has been lying to everyone & is this undercover Muslim. If we review history, in Judaism, one prays to the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. In Christianity, one also prays to the God of Abraham Isaac & Jacob only we now do it in the name of Jesus who is the Divine Son of God. The Islam religion also branched off of Judaism and also prays to the God of Abraham, however they don’t believe there is the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob because then that is stating that the Jews are the chosen ones which they do not believe. Ishmael was also the son of Abraham and thus they also believe that they are also chosen. Therefore, they believe in the God of Abraham but choose to use the Arabic word Allah because they feel it is pure where as the English word God can be misused.

      For example, God + s = Gods If you add ‘S’ to God, it becomes Gods that is plural of God. Allah is one and singular there is no plural of Allah. Same with godfather, godmother, etc., therefore because they feel it is more sacred they use the word “Allah.” Just as the Jews used the tetragrammaton YHWH which is supposed to be the equivalent to “Yahweh.” Remember the term was removed because they did not feel worthy enough to use God’s personal name that they began associating him to “Elohim”, “Adonai,” “El Shaddai” etc. The word “Addonai” Translators often render YHWH as a word meaning “Lord”, e.g., Greek Κυριος, Latin Dominus, and following that, English “the LORD”, Welsh Arglwydd, etc.

      Therefore, the Muslim religion believes in the God of Abraham very much. The terrorists have been Muslim but it is not fair of us to judge an entire religion based on the acts of a few bad seeds. If we classify every Muslim as a terrorist, then isn’t that being “UnAmerican” of us?

      Now, let’s look at Romney’s religion. He is a Mormon and they consider themselves to be under the Christian umbrella. However, the reason there is so much controversy with their religion being associated to Christianity is because a Christian believes in the teachings of Christ and that He is in fact the Divine Son of God. However, Mormons believe Christ existed, but they do not believe Jesus Christ was the Messiah & the Divine Son of God. Rather they believe that each of us has a god-like spirit that can cause us to be somewhat divine, so when Jesus performed miracles it was not because He was divine rather it was because He knew how to utilize that “divine” human spirit within all of us. Therefore, like the Mormons, Muslims also believe that Jesus existed but that He was not the Divine Son of God. However, the Muslims are biblical in the sense that they do not believe we have a divine human spirit rather they believe Jesus was a prophet God used and go as far as even believing that Jesus Christ was indeed born of Immaculate Conception.

      Therefore if President Obama were in fact Muslim, then both Romney and him have religions with the same core belief…there is only one God; the God of Abraham and Jesus was just a man not the Son of God.

      Additionally, the majority of Latinos side with President Obama not because he’s black but because he is addressing the issues Latinos believe in & are important to them. On the other hand Romney has been on the opposite side of every issue that is important to Hispanics.

      This blog does not endorse either candidate or either party; we simply provide facts, information & resources that pertain to the Hispanic community.

      I believe it is very important to be involved politically and therefore I thank you & appreciate your comment. God bless!

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