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Latin America, extending from the deserts of northern Mexico to the icy wilds the Tierra del Fuego in Chile and Argentina, encompasses countless diverse countries and also peoples. Though most of these countries are mainly Catholic and also Spanish-speaking, many thanks to a shared background of emigration by Spain, they have actually at the very least as plenty of differences as they execute similarities through each other. In the United claims the state "Hispanic" and also "Latino" (or "Latina" for a woman; occasionally written as “Latinx” to it is in gender-neutral) were embraced in an attempt to loosely group immigrants and their descendants that hail indigenous this part of the world. The terms are frequently used interchangeably, despite the words have the right to convey slightly different connotations. It is crucial to clarify the the categories refer only to a person"s origin and also ancestry. A Latino/a or hispanic person can be any kind of race or color.

In general, "Latino" is taken as shorthand because that the Spanish indigenous latinoamericano (or the Portuguese latino-americano) and refers come (almost) everyone born in or with ancestors native Latin America and living in the U.S., including Brazilians. "Latino" go not include speakers of romance languages from Europe, such together Italians or Spaniards, and also some people have (tenuously) suggested that that excludes Spanish speaker from the Caribbean. Although civilization from French Guiana are sometimes welcomed as Latino because French shares linguistic roots v Spanish and Portuguese, there is lot debate about whether people from English-speaking Belize and Guyana and Dutch-speaking Suriname truly fit under the category since their cultures and also histories space so distinct.

"Hispanic" is generally welcomed as a narrower term that includes world only native Spanish-speaking Latin America, including those countries/territories the the Caribbean or from Spain itself. V this understanding, a Brazilian might be Latino and non-Hispanic, a Spaniard might be Hispanic and non-Latino, and a Colombian might use both terms. However, this is also an imperfect categorization, as there are countless indigenous individuals from Spanish-speaking countries who carry out not determine with Spanish society and do not speak the leading language.

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To simplify (or perhaps more confuse) matters, the 2010 U.S. Census listed both terms together and specifically stated the Spanish-speaking countries/territories that the Caribbean but vaguely to exclude, non-Spanish speaking countries (many Brazilians, because that example, were unsure even if it is to inspect the box). In day-to-day life, plenty of Latin American immigrants and descendants merely prefer to state their nations of origin directly.