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Study: Most Hispanics Prefer Describing Identity From Family’s Country Of Origin

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Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder holds a Puerto Rican flag as she directs a question to Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich after he was endorsed by the National Hispanic Leadership Network at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa on Jan, 27, 2012 in Miami, Fla. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder holds a Puerto Rican flag as she directs a question to Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich after he was endorsed by the National Hispanic Leadership Network at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa on Jan, 27, 2012 in Miami, Fla. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A study shows that most Hispanics do not prefer the term “Hispanic” or “Latino” when it comes to describing their identity.

According to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of Hispanics would rather be identified from their family’s country of origin, instead of describing their identity as “Hispanic” or “Latino.”

“Half (51%) say that most often they use their family’s country of origin to describe their identity,” the Pew Research Center survey says. “That includes such terms as ‘Mexican’ or ‘Cuban’ or ‘Dominican,’ for example. Just one-quarter (24%) say they use the terms ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Latino’ to most often to describe their identity. And 21% say they use the term ‘American’ most often.”

When asked if they have a preference for either being identified as “Hispanic” or “Latino,” the Pew study finds that “half (51%) say they have no preference for either term.” If they did have to choose, the study finds that “’Hispanic’ is preferred over ‘Latino’ by more than a two-to-one margin—33% versus 14%.”

Hispanics and Latinos are split as to whether to identify themselves as a “typical American.” Forty-seven percent of Hispanics and Latinos identify themselves with the term, while another 47 percent of those polled find they don’t seem to relate to a “typical American.”

As it comes to speaking English, nearly 90 percent of those polled believe you need to learn the language to succeed in America, but they also want to hold onto their Spanish-speaking roots. Ninety-five percent of Hispanics believe it is important to speak Spanish in the U.S.

Pew also weighed in on the political front and important social issues. Fifty-eight percent of Hispanics believe gay marriage should be accepted. The poll finds those surveyed take a more conservative stance on abortion as 51 percent say it should be illegal. Only 30 percent of those surveyed identify themselves as liberal.

The term “Hispanic” was officially adopted by Congress in 1976 as a law to collect the information of U.S. residents with Spanish-speaking country origins. The Office of Management and Budget added the term “Latino” in 1997.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,220 Latino adults across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

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