'Hispanic' Preferred Over 'Latinx' When They Describe Ethnicity

March 30, 2020 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

We recently published the results of a study we did -- which were, according to the headline of our blog in Medium: “98% of Latinos do not identify with 'Latinx' label."

Those findings were also cited by the The Washington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic, and and many other publications.

The media attention garnered both praise and criticism from readers, some of whom didn’t agree with the outcome of the study, so they questioned our methodology. Given the overwhelming response to our research, we decided to do a follow-up with double the base size -- 1,000 respondents this time -- and added an LGBTQ over sample.

The goal of our updated report discussing these new findings is to provide companies, brands, and politicians deeper insight into how U.S. Latinos prefer to describe their ethnicity.

Below are some key takeaways:

“Hispanic” is preferred by Latinos when describing their ethnicity.

Doubling the base size from 500 to 1,000 respondents had little to no impact on the results of this preference question.

The research again showed that “Hispanic” is ranks highest among Hispanics, followed by “Latino/Latina.” “Latinx,” on the other hand, ranked last in both of our surveys.

“Hispanic” is favored among Latinos who identify as LGBTQ when describing ethnicity.

Another valid concern regarding our October Latinx study was the representation of LGBTQ respondents, as the term “Latinx” was, in part, coined to address the gendered nature of terms like “Latina/Latino.” To address this methodological concern, we included an oversample of 11% (114 respondents) who identify as LGBTQ. Furthermore, we included a sample of 360 respondents who are not LGBTQ themselves but know others who are. “Hispanic” is preferred, while “Latinx” barely registers.

“Hispanic” is preferred among college-educated and higher-income Hispanics, as well as Hispanics ages 18-44.

The assumption that college-educated Hispanics or younger Hispanics prefer the term “Latinx” is not supported in the data. Across all cohorts, preference for “Hispanic” rises to the top and preference for “Latinx” remains consistent, never rising about the 3% mark.

Some interesting directional differences to point out (none cross into the threshold of statistical significance, however):

  • Hispanics 18-24 have the lowest preference for the term “Hispanic” among the selected cohorts at 38%. Conversely, at 30%, they are the cohort to prefer “Latino/Latina” the most.
  • College-educated Hispanics are the most likely to prefer using their country of origin to describe their ethnicity.
  • Hispanics 18-24 are the most likely (11%) to prefer using their “country of origin + American” to describe their ethnicity.

We also asked respondents to indicate how they feel about the term “Latinx.” Almost 60% of respondents either don’t like the term very much or find it offensive.

The results are clear. Hispanics, overall, prefer to be referred to as “Hispanics” or “Latinos.” While the origins of “Latinx” are noble and signal a more inclusive mindset, companies, brands, and politicians looking to connect with Hispanics should consider this research before attempting to win over Hispanic consumers and voters. Even the best intentions will fall flat if you are out of touch with your audience.

This blog post was originally published on MediaPost