The U.S. Census Bureau defines Hispanic as “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.” Hispanic is a pretty loose term, however, and there is not universal agreement on how to define it. Some people use the term interchangeably with the term Latino, while others have strong preferences as to which term is more appropriate or accurate.

It is important to note that Hispanic is not a racial identifier, but an ethnic one (although it is not a single ethnicity, but a collection of ethnicities.) Therefore, some Hispanic people might identify themselves by both their race and their nationality/ethnicity: Afro-Cuban, Amerindian-Hispanic, etc.