Latino terminology: conceptual bases for standardized terminology.

D. E. Hayes-Bautista, J. Chapa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conceptually, the only element that all Latin American countries share is not language, race, or culture, but political: the presence of United States foreign policy as pronounced in the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. The political relation between the US and Latin America has colored US domestic policy toward its populations of Latin American origin. From the beginning of US-Latin American relations, there has been a constant confusion of race for national origin, compounded by the adoption of euphemistic terms such as "Spanish surname." The term "Latino", derived from "Latin American," is offered as the term that best reflects both the diverse national origins and the nearly unitary treatment of Latinos in the US. The term Latino is operationalized to include all persons of Latin American origin or descent, irrespective of language, race, or culture. Specifically excluded are individuals of Spanish national origin outside the Western Hemisphere. When a synthetic sample has been derived, the term should be modified to reflect the basis upon which the sample was derived, e.g., "Latino (Spanish surname)." When working with Latinos from a specific national origin, that should be noted, e.g., "Mexican origin Latinos."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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