According to a Pew Research Center report, 6 million Americans identify themselves as Afro Latino. This distinction has deep roots in colonial Latin America. This is approximately 2% of the U.S. adult population and 12% of the country’s Latino adult population.
Monday’s report by the center on Afro Latino identity revealed many dimensions of Latino identity.
Afro Latinos have life experiences that are different from those of other Hispanics. These include skin tone and race. The survey revealed that most people identify as Latino or Hispanic, but not all.
Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, the researcher, said that Afro Latinos are “distinct” and exist along with a person’s race, and national origin, and may also be tied to culture and other physical characteristics. It is more than a name and a race.
The results of the report reflect Latin America’s colonial history. They show how mixing took place among Indigenous Americans, white Europeans and Asians.
Melissa Dunmore, a 32-year-old poet and writer living in Phoenix said that she is proud of both her father’s African roots and Cherokee heritage as well as her mother’s Puerto Rican ancestry.
Dunmore, who was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Arizona with her family as a high school student following 9/11, said that although she identifies as Black most of the time. A mofongo, a Puerto Rican traditional dish with fried plantains, was discovered near her Southwest home.
Dunmore said, “Outside of school, I grew mostly speaking Spanish after school or during the summer with our maternal grandparents.” Her 5-month-old daughter Flora speaks Spanish now. “I want her that too.”
A prior survey, published in 2016, found that about 25% of U.S. Latinos identify themselves as Afro Latinos, Afro Caribbean, or African-American. Gonzalez-Barrera stated that the results can’t be compared with the most recent report. The previous survey was done over the telephone, with an interviewer and the questions were varied.
Rosario Dawson, Cardi B, and David Ortiz (a Dominican American nicknamed Big Papi) are some of the most well-known Afro Latinos living in America.
Many Hispanics identify themselves based upon their origin countries, Indigenous roots, or racial history. Adults were asked whether or not they identified themselves as Afro Latino. This was independent of any other questions about race or ethnicity. The number of Afro Latino also varies from U.S. Census Bureau data, which considers anyone who identifies themselves as Hispanic or Black in a two-step race question. According to the 2020 census, there are 1.2 Million people who identify themselves as such. This is lower than the 6,000,000 estimated by the center’s latest report.
Gonzalez-Barrera said, “Afro Latino identity transcends race and cannot be captured with a checkbox-type question that asks you to mark your ethnicity.” She has been studying Latinos for over 15 years and has been working with Pew Research Center for 12 years. She is a Mexican American and Latina.
To show the complexity of identity, the survey included a question similar to a census. 28 percent of Afro Latinos chose white, 25 percent selected black, and 23% selected some other race. This is in contrast to the 17% who identified as Hispanic.
A Pew Research Center survey of Latino adults in March 2021 found that Afro Latinos who identify themselves as Hispanic are more likely to be seen as mixed race, multiracial or Black when they pass them on the streets. This concept is known as a street race. Afro Latino adults who identify themselves as Hispanic are more likely to claim that their skin is darker than those of other Hispanic adults.
This week’s complimentary report found that having darker skin and coming from outside the U.S. are associated with a higher chance of being treated unfairly or discriminated against by other Latino adults. Hispanics are equally likely to report that they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly by someone not Hispanic.
These estimates of the Afro Latino adult populace are based upon a survey of 68.398 adults in the U.S. from November 19, 2019, to June 3, 2020. For estimates of the Afro Latino adult populations, there is a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 600,000.
The survey of 3375 Hispanic adults in 2021 was done March 15-28, using samples from the American Trends Panel at Pew Research Center and Ipsos KnowledgePanel. These panels are representative of the U.S. populace. The sampling error margin for the entire sample is +/- 2.8 percentage points.