Hispanic Identity Fades Across Generations


More than 18% of Americans identify as Hispanic or Latino, the nation’s second-largest racial or ethnic group. But two trends – a long-standing high intermarriage rate and a decade of declining Latin American immigration – are distancing some Americans with Hispanic ancestry from the life experiences of earlier generations, reducing the likelihood they call themselves Hispanic or Latino.

Among the estimated 42.7 million U.S. adults with Hispanic ancestry in 2015, nine-in-ten (89%), or about 37.8 million, self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. But another 5 million (11%) do not consider themselves Hispanic or Latino, according to Pew Research Center estimates. The closer they are to their immigrant roots, the more likely Americans with Hispanic ancestry are to identify as Hispanic. Nearly all immigrant adults from Latin America or Spain (97%) say they are Hispanic. Similarly, second-generation adults with Hispanic ancestry (the U.S.-born children of at least one immigrant parent) have nearly as high a Hispanic self-identification rate (92%), according to Pew Research Center estimates.

By the third generation – a group made up of the U.S.-born children of U.S.-born parents and immigrant grandparents – the share that self-identifies as Hispanic falls to 77%. And by the fourth or higher generation (U.S.-born children of U.S.-born parents and U.S.-born grandparents, or even more distant relatives), just half of U.S. adults with Hispanic ancestry say they are Hispanic.1

Source: Pew Hispanic