- Author: Myriam Grajales-Hall
A nationwide survey conducted by The Pew Hispanic Center found that Hispanics in the United States haven’t fully embraced the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino.” Fifty-one percent said they most often identify themselves by their family’s country of origin, while only one in four preferred a pan-ethnic label.
Although a large number (69 percent) of the respondents indicated that Latinos in the U.S. have many different cultures rather than a common culture, they did expressed a strong and shared connection to the Spanish language. More than eight-in-ten Latino adults said they speak Spanish, and nearly all (95 percent) felt it is important for future generations to continue speaking Spanish.
When asked about sharing a common identity with other Americans, about half said they consider themselves to be very different from the typical American. And just one-in-five said they use the term “American” most often to describe their identity.
The survey, When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity reports that, “regardless of where they were born, large majorities of Latinos said that life in the U.S. is better than in their family’s country of origin. Also, nearly nine-in-ten (87%) say it is important for immigrant Hispanics to learn English in order to succeed in the U.S.” Most Hispanic immigrants also indicated “that if they had to do it all over again, they would come to the U.S.”
Looking at language use patterns, the report found that most Hispanics use Spanish, but that use of English rises through the generations.
When exploring the respondents' social and political beliefs and attitudes, the report found that:
- Hispanics, more so than the general public, believe in the efficacy of hard work
- Levels of personal trust are lower among Latinos than they are among the general public;
- Religion is more important in the lives of immigrant Hispanics than in the lives of native-born Hispanics.
- Latinos’ political views are more liberal than those of the general U.S. public.
Source: Pew Hispanic Center, When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity, April 4, 2012.