White Hispanic and Latino Americans

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For the white population of Latin America, see White Latin American.
White Hispanic and Latino Americans
Americanos hispanos y latinos blancos
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Total population
8.7% of total U.S. population, 2010[1]
53.0% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans, 2010[1]
Regions with significant populations
All areas of the United States
California California 6,503,487[2]
Texas Texas 5,398,738[3]
Florida Florida 2,867,365[3]
American English • American Spanish • Spanglish • Nuyorican English
Predominantly Christianity
(mostly Roman Catholic, sizeable Protestant)
Minority Judaism and others.
Related ethnic groups
White Latin Americans, White Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans

In the United States, a White Hispanic[4] is an American citizen or resident who is racially white (i.e., of primarily European descent) and of Hispanic descent. White American, itself an official U.S. racial category, refers to people "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa" who reside in the United States.[5]

Based on the definitions created by the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Census Bureau, the concepts of race and ethnicity are mutually independent, and respondents to the census and other Census Bureau surveys are asked to answer both questions. Hispanicity is independent and thus not the same as race, and constitutes an ethnicity category, as opposed to a racial category, the only one of which that is officially collated by the U.S. Census Bureau. For the Census Bureau, Ethnicity distinguishes between those who report ancestral origins in Spain or Hispanic America (Hispanic and Latino Americans), and those who do not (Non-Hispanic Americans).[6][7] The U.S. Census Bureau asks each resident to report the "race or races with which they most closely identify."[8]

White Americans are therefore referenced as "White Hispanic" and "Non-Hispanic Whites," the former consisting of White Americans who report Hispanophone identity (Spanish Hispanic Latin America), and the latter consisting of White Americans who do not report Hispanophone ancestry.

As of 2010, 50.5 million or 16.3% of Americans identified as Hispanic or Latino.[1] Of those, 26.7 million, or 53%, also identified as White.


A small minority of White Hispanics in the United States of America today is descended from original Spanish colonists who settled the so-called "internal provinces" and Louisiana of New Spain. As the United States expanded westward, it annexed lands with a long-established population of Spanish-speaking settlers, who were overwhelmingly or exclusively of white Spanish ancestry (cf. White Mexican).[citation needed] This group became known as Hispanos. Prior to incorporation into the United States of America (and briefly, into Independent Texas), Hispanos had enjoyed a privileged status in the society of New Spain and later in post-colonial Mexico.

Demographic information[edit]

In the 2010 United States Census, 50.5 million Americans (16.3% of the total population) listed themselves as ethnically Hispanic or Latino. Of those, 53.0% (26.7 million) self-identified as racially white. The remaining respondents listed their races as: Some other race 36.7%, Two or more races (multiracial) 6.0%, Black or African American 2.5%, American Indian and Alaska Native 1.4%, Asian 0.4%, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.1%.[1]

The respondents in the "Some other race" category are reclassified as white by the Census Bureau in its official estimates of race. This means that more than 90% of all Hispanic or Latino Americans are counted as "white" in some statistics of the US government.[9]

Hispanics and Latinos who are native-born and those who are immigrant identify as White in nearly identical percentages: 53.9 and 53.7, respectively, per figures from 2007. The overall Hispanic or Latino ratio was 53.8%.[10]

White Hispanics are widespread, with Florida and Texas being 2 states with some of the highest percentages of Hispanics self identifying as white.[11]

Population by national origin[edit]

White Hispanics by National Origin, 2010[12]
Hispanic National Origin Self-Identified White population Percentage of total Hispanic population Inside its own population
Mexican 16,794,111 63.0% 52.8%
Puerto Rican 2,455,534 9.2% 53.1%
Cuban 1,525,521 3.5% 85.4%
Salvadoran 663,224 3.3% 40.2%
Dominican 419,016 2.8% 29.6%
Guatemalan 401,763 2.1% 38.5%
South American 4,825,468 5.5% 65.9%
All other Hispanics 2,018,397 6.8% 49.4%
Total population 26,735,713 100% 53.0%

Some Hispanic or Latino American groups that have white majorities or pluralities originate in countries that do not. For example, Mexico's white population is 9%[13] or about 17%[14] only, while Mexico is majoritarily mestizo, meaning that have European descent and Native American descent at an extent while 52.8% of Mexican Americans are White, or identify themselves as white in the Census (See the table). However, genetic studies performed in the general Mexican American and Mexican populations have shown that Mexicans residing in Mexico consistently have a higher European admixture in average (with results ranging from 37%[15] to 78.5%[16]) than Mexican Americans (whose results, range from 50%[17] to 68%[18]). The discrepancy between the percentage of white Mexicans reported in United States and white Mexicans from Mexico can be explained if the differences in racial perceptions that exist in both countries are considered: The concept of race in Mexico is subtle not only including physical clues such as skin color but also cultural dispositions, morality and intellectual status. It is not static or well defined but rather is defined and redefined by situation. This makes racial distinctions different than those in other countries such as the United States.[19]
Other important difference lies in the criteria and formats used for the censuses in each country: In Mexico, the only ethnic census including categories other than Amerindian (dated back to 1921) performed by the government offered the following options in the questionnaire:[20]

  • Full European heritage
  • Mixed indigenous and European heritage (The term mestizo itself was never used by the government)
  • Full indigenous
  • Foreigners without racial distinction
  • Other race

The census had the particularity that, unlike racial/ethnic census in other countries, it was focussed in the perception of cultural heritage rather than in a racial perception, leading to a good number of white people to identify with "Mixed heritage" due cultural influence.[21] On the other hand, while only 2.9% of the population of the United States identifies as mixed race[22] there is evidence that an accounting by genetic ancestry would produce a higher number, but historical and cultural reasons, including slavery creating a racial caste and the European-American suppression of Native Americans, often led people to identify or be classified by only one ethnicity, generally that of the culture they were raised in. While many Americans may be biologically multiracial, they often do not know it or do not identify so culturally.[23]

Representation in the media[edit]

White Hispanics by State, 2007 ACS[3]
State Population % of State % of Hispanics
California 6,503,487 18 49
Texas 5,398,738 23 63
Florida 2,867,365 16 76
New York 1,161,663 7 37
Arizona 1,113,398 18 59
Illinois 715,315 6 37
New Jersey 660,649 8 48
Colorado 601,488 12 62
New Mexico 530,612 27 61
Nevada 412,985 16 64
Regional Distribution of White Hispanics, 2000[24]
Region of the United States
West 37.7%
South 40.8%
Midwest 8.4%
Northeast 13%

In popular use, Hispanic and Latino are often mistakenly given racial values, usually non-white and mixed race, such as half-caste or mulatto, in spite of the racial diversity of Hispanic and Latino Americans. Hispanics commonly draw ancestry from European, Native American, and or African populations in different proportions; some Hispanics are largely of European ancestry, and some are predominantly of Native Central or South American Indian origin, or African origins, but a large number of Hispanics are descended from an admixture of two, three or more origins. Paradoxically, it is common for them to be stereotyped as being exclusively non-white due merely to their Spanish-speaking country of origin, regardless of whether their ancestry is European or not.[25][26][27][28] Judith Ortiz Cofer notes that appellation varies according to geographical location, observing that in Puerto Rico she is considered white, but in the United States she is considered a "brown person."[29]

On the other hand, since the early days of the movie industry in the United States of America, when White Hispanic actors are given roles, they are frequently cast in non-Hispanic white roles.[27][30] Hispanic and Latino Americans began to appear in the American movie industry in the 1910s, and the leading players among them "were generally light skinned and Caucasian".[30]

Myrtle Gonzalez was one such American actress in the silent film era; she starred in at least 78 motion pictures from 1913 to 1917.[31] Anita Page was an American actress of Salvadoran descent who reached stardom in 1928, during the last years of the silent film.[32] Page was referred to as "a blond, blue-eyed Latin" and "the girl with the most beautiful face in Hollywood".[33][34]

Even today, because Americans associate Hispanic origin with brown skin, Hollywood typically casts Hispanics with conventionally Caucasian features as non-Hispanic white — as in the case of Cameron Díaz, Emilio Estevez, and Charlie Sheen. Most Americans may not be aware that the actress who played the all-American Gilmore Girl Lorelai Leigh "Rory" GilmoreAlexis Bledel — is Hispanic, with a mother from Mexico and father from Argentina.[35] The white Hispanics and Latinos who are perceived as "Hispanic" by Americans usually possess typical Mediterranean/Southern European pigmentation - olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes - as most white Hispanics and Latinos are; remember that not all whites in United States, including those of Mediterranean/Southern European race, are considered and perceived as white, as the features of blond, blue-eyed Nordic race is superior and the basis of "white" in the American context.

The U.S. Hispanic media and the Latin American media are commonly represented by White Hispanic and Latino Americans and White Latin Americans, very often blond and blue-eyed, or green-eyed, particularly in telenovelas (soap operas). There tends to be an under-representation of non-white Hispanic and Latino Americans and non-white Latin Americans, amid claims that telenovelas, in particular, do not fully reflect the racial diversity of Hispanic and Latino Americans.[36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45] For example, in the 2005 U.S. Hispanic telenovela Olvidarte Jamas, white, blond, and blue-eyed Venezuelan American actress Sonya Smith portrayed Luisa Dominguez who is a poor mestiza woman; the actress had to wear a black wig to hide her obvious Caucasian appearance. Sonya Smith, however, was the first Hispanic actor to portray a Hispanic without stereotypical perception (portrayed as blond and blue-eyed Hispanic, not a Hispanic mestiza nor mulatta nor Mediterranean-looking Hispanic) in a Hollywood film Hunted by Night, an English-language movie with an all-Hispanic cast.

Marriage trends[edit]

A study of married, Hispanic, male householders revealed that U.S.-born Hispanic Whites often marry a non-Hispanic partner, although 66% still marry a Hispanic White partner. In comparison, 88% of foreign-born Hispanic White males married Hispanic White wives. Regarding U.S.-born people only, White women of non-Hispanic origin are many times more likely to marry Hispanic men of Some other race than are Hispanic White women, as 19% of native-born Hispanic Some other race householders are married to non-Hispanic White wives, compared to 2% who are married to Hispanic White wives. Hispanics who identify as "White" are roughly 1.5 times as likely to marry non-Hispanic Whites as Hispanics who do not. (Trends for Hispanic wives marrying non-Hispanic White husbands are not shown on this table.)

Race and Ethnic Distribution of Wives by Husband's Nativity, Race and Ethnicity 2000[24]
Race and Ethnicity of Husband
Native-born Foreign-born
Race and Ethnicity of Wife White Hispanic SOR Hispanic White Hispanic SOR Hispanic
White Hispanic 66% 2% 88% 3%
SOR Hispanic 2% 73% 2% 90%
Non-Hispanic White 28% 19% 7% 4%


Genetic research has found that the average European admixture among self-identified White Hispanic Americans is 73% (the average for Hispanic Americans regardless of race is 65%), contrasting to that of non-Hispanic European Americans, whose European ancestry totals 98.6% in average.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010. (PDF).
  2. ^ "B03002. HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE". 2007 American Community Survey. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b c "B03002. HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE". 2007 American Community Survey. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  4. ^ U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Social & Demographic Statistics. "U.S. Census Bureau Guidance on the Presentation and Comparison of Race and Hispanic Origin Data". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  5. ^ "2000 Census of Population, Public Law 94-171 Redistricting Data File: Race". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder Help". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder Help". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  8. ^ "American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2000". Quickfacts.census.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  9. ^ "T4-2008. Hispanic or Latino By Race [15]". 2008 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  10. ^ Grieco, Elizabeth M. "Race and Hispanic Origin of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2007; American Community Survey Reports" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  11. ^ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_13_1YR_DP05&prodType=table
  12. ^ Sharon R. Ennis, Merarys Ríos-Vargas, Nora G. Albert (May 2011). "The Hispanic Population: 2010" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 14 (Table 6). Retrieved 2011-07-11. 
  13. ^ "CIA — The World Factbook – Mexico". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  14. ^ "Mexico — Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  15. ^ Andrés Ruiz-Linares, Kaustubh Adhikari, Victor Acuña-Alonzo, Mirsha Quinto-Sanchez, Claudia Jaramillo, William Arias, Macarena Fuentes, María Pizarro, Paola Everardo, Francisco de Avila, Jorge Gómez-Valdés,. "Admixture in Latin America: Geographic Structure, Phenotypic Diversity and Self-Perception of Ancestry Based on 7,342 Individuals". PLOS. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  16. ^ Cerda-Flores RM, Kshatriya GK, Barton SA, et al. (June 1991). "Genetic structure of the populations migrating from San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas to Nuevo León in Mexico". Human Biology 63 (3): 309–27. PMID 2055589. 
  17. ^ Beuten J, Halder I, Fowler SP, et al. (July 2011). "Wide disparity in genetic admixture among Mexican Americans from San Antonio, TX". Annals of Human Genetics 75 (4): 529–38. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2011.00655.x. PMC 3115480. PMID 21592109. 
  18. ^ Long JC, Williams RC, McAuley JE, et al. (February 1991). "Genetic variation in Arizona Mexican Americans: estimation and interpretation of admixture proportions". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 84 (2): 141–57. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330840204. PMID 2021190. 
  19. ^ Alejandra M. Leal Martínez (2011). For The Enjoyment of All:” Cosmopolitan Aspirations, Urban Encounters and Class Boundaries in Mexico City (PhD thesis). Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 3453017. 
  20. ^ Navarrete, Federico. "El mestizaje y las culturas" [Mixed race and cultures]. México Multicultural (in Spanish). Mexico: UNAM. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Composición Étnica de las Tres Áreas Culturales del Continente Americano al Comienzo del Siglo XXI" (PDF). Academic investigation (in Spanish). university of the State of Mexico. 2005. p. 196. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  22. ^ Jones, Nicholas A.; Amy Symens Smith. "The Two or More Races Population: 2000. Census 2000 Brief" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  23. ^ Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. Faces of America: How 12 Extraordinary Americans Reclaimed Their Pasts (New York University Press, 2010)
  24. ^ a b Tafoya, Sonya (2004). "Shades of Belonging" (PDF). Pew Hispanic Center. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  (Note: As used in this source, the word "Spanish" obeys the Census Bureau usage of the term, which does not correspond to Americans with direct origins in Spain, whom the Census Bureau classifies as "Spaniards" instead. See Spanish American for more.)
  25. ^ Separated by a common language: The case of the white Hispanic. Rawstory.com.
  26. ^ Hispanics: A Culture, Not a Race. Campello.tripod.com.
  27. ^ a b "Hispanic roles on American television". Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  28. ^ "Latinas in U.S. Media". Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  29. ^ Pauline T. Newton (2005). "An Interview with Judith Ortiz Cofer". Transcultural Women Of Late-Twentieth-Century U.S. American Literature. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 161. ISBN 0-7546-5212-2. 
  30. ^ a b "Silent Films, Sound, Resisting Stereotypes, The New Generation, Assessment, Oscar Winners and Nominees, Latinos., Latinas". Retrieved 2010-03-19. 
  31. ^ Rosa Linda Fregoso (2003). MeXicana encounters: the making of social identities on the borderlands. University of California Press. pp. 108–111. ISBN 978-0-520-23890-9. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  32. ^ Anita Page: Star of the silent screen. Independent.co.uk (September 8, 2008).
  33. ^ Heroes, Lovers, and Others. Books.google.co.uk.
  34. ^ Latinas in the United States. Books.google.co.uk (June 30, 2006).
  35. ^ Brady, James (August 3, 2008). "In Step With Alexis Bledel". Parade Magazine. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  36. ^ Quinonez, Ernesto (June 19, 2003). "Y Tu Black Mama Tambien". Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  37. ^ The Blond, Blue-Eyed Face of Spanish TV. Washingtonpost.com (August 3, 2000).
  38. ^ Blonde, Blue-Eyed Euro-Cute Latinos on Spanish TV. Latinola.com (October 24, 2010).
  39. ^ Latinas Not Reflected on Spanish TV. Vidadeoro.com (October 25, 2010).
  40. ^ What are Telenovelas? – Hispanic Culture. Bellaonline.com.
  41. ^ Racial Bias Charged On Spanish-Language TV. Articles.sun-sentinel.com (August 6, 2000).
  42. ^ Black Electorate. Black Electorate (January 2, 2001).
  43. ^ Skin tone consciousness in Asian and Latin American populations. Boston.com (August 19, 2004).
  44. ^ Corpus: A Home Movie For Selena. Pbs.org.
  45. ^ Soap Operas on Latin TV are Lily White[dead link]
  46. ^ Bryc, Katarzyna et al. "The genetic ancestry of African, Latino, and European Americans across the United States" 23andme. pp. 22, 38 doi:10.1101/009340. "Supplemental Tables and Figures". p. 42. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015.