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Use of Hispanic and Latinx

In scientific discourse, the term “Hispanic” encompasses many individuals. As defined in the federal register, this term encompasses persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race1. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program maintains a rich dataset—used by many of us—that adheres to the definition found in the federal register.

In public discourse, the term “Hispanic” has often been criticized for its use as a blanket term that fails to capture many of the rich cultural, ethnic, and racial identities of Latin Americans who may prefer to be called by their own distinct nationality or Latino/Latina2. The term Latino is geographically based and refers to persons from or with ancestry from Latin American countries. Latinx is the gender-neutral form of Latino.

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