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The terms Hispanic and Latino/a are often used interchangeably. They actually have different meanings that are often the subject of debate. It is generally accepted that Hispanic refers to people with a Spanish-speaking background. Latino, on the other hand, refers to those from the geographic region of Latin America. This includes much of Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Although there is much overlap between the two terms, those from countries like Brazil (with its 200 million Portuguese speakers) may identify as latino, but not Hispanic. In recent years, the word latinx has gained traction as a gender-neutral alternative to latino/a.
According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanic Americans and Latino Americans make up more than 18% of the U.S. population. Over 57 million Hispanics and Latinos living in the U.S. In fact, the United States has a larger Spanish-speaking population than many Hispanic countries, including Peru and Venezuela. More than half of the U.S. Hispanic and Latino population resides in California, Texas, and Florida. California has the largest population of Hispanic and Latino Americans with over 14 million. Texas and Florida have a Hispanic and Latino American population of about 10 million and 4 million respectively. New York also has a large population of Hispanic and Latino Americans with over 3 million. These states, as well as many other cities in the U.S., have a very vibrant Hispanic and Latino American community. And, of course, we can’t forget about the 3 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico, which is a freely associated state (FAS) of the USA.