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What is the difference between Latino and Hispanic?

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Quick Answer

The U.S. Census Bureau introduced the term Hispanic in the 1970s to include Americans from Spanish-speaking countries, such as Mexico and Costa Rica. In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau recognized a need to better describe people from varying cultures that speak Spanish, so it came up with the term Latino.

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Full Answer

The majority of Latin-Americans respond to polls by media organizations as preferring to individually self-identify as simply Americans.

As a catch-all term for Americans of Spanish-speaking origins, Latino is more inclusive than Hispanic. Still, both terms are interchangeable in everyday life. Even Univision, the leading Spanish-language news network in the United States, uses both terms equally.

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