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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


April 6, 2012 - 8:00 am

A Pew survey released this week shows that Hispanics/Latinos don’t exactly like those federal government labels to describe their ethnicity.

Only 24 percent said they actually use those terms to describe themselves. If they have to choose between the two — and 51 percent said they have no preference — Hispanic is preferred 33 percent over Latino at just 14 percent.

More than half — 51 percent — use their family’s country of origin for self-identification, i.e. Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran or Dominican. That percentage drops to 28 percent when you get into the third generation in this country.

On average, 21 percent describe themselves as American, with just 8 percent of the first generation doing so. That rises to nearly half — 48 percent — by the time you get to the third generation.

Eighty-seven percent said it’s important for immigrants to learn English in order to succeed in the United States. Three-quarters said most people can get ahead if they work hard, compared to 58 percent of the general population feeling the same.

Pew also found that most Hispanics don’t see themselves as fitting into the government’s race categories; half check a Census or similar box as “some other race” or offer “Hispanic/Latino,” 36 percent pick white and 3 percent choose black.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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