In the broadest sense, "Hispanic" refers to those with a Spanish-speaking background and "Latino" refers to those with Latin-American heritage. Put another way, "Hispanic" is about language; "Latino" is about geography. Both of these terms are used almost exclusively to describe those living in the United States. The good news is that if you do use them interchangeably, you have a good chance of being right: the majority of Latinos are also Hispanic, and the majority of Hispanics are also Latino.
The terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" are often used interchangeably, but they don't mean the same thing. Understanding the difference between the two can help you better relate to the many cultures that fall under their umbrellas.
Language vs. Geography
Exceptions To The Rule
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What's The Difference Between Latino and Hispanic?
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Key Facts In This Video
The word "Hispanic" comes from the Latin word "Hispanicus," meaning "from Hispania," which was a province of the Roman Empire. 00:26
People from of Spanish descent are Hispanic, but not Latino; and people from Portuguese descent are Latino, but not Hispanic. 02:57
People of European and Amerindian descent are Mestizo. 07:10