Latino panethnicity: Reality or methodological construction?

Eileen Diaz McConnell, Edward A. Delgado-Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In Census 2000. approximately 15 percent of all Latinos identified panethnically: That is, they did not mark whether they were Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or another national group but rather identified themselves in general terms such as “Hispanic”or “Latino.” This was a 200percent increase over the 1990 Census. Scholars have pointed to two explanations for Latino panethnic identification: first. that panethnicity is a meaningful identity stemming from shared backgrounds and structural commonalities and the need to unite politically and, second, that Latino pancthnicity is a methodological artifact of the way that racial and ethnic data arc currently collected. In this paper, we describe past research on Latino ethnic identity, document contemporary expressions of Latino pancthnicity, and assess whether pancthnicity is a genuine, meaningful identity for some Latinos and stems from methodological factors. Our assessment of Census 2000, the Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, the 2002 National Survey of Latinos, and the Alternative Questionnaire Experiment is that Latino pancthnicity is both a substantive and a methodological phenomenon. Consequently, we encourage researchers to acknowledge the complexity and fluidity of Latino ethnicity, to recognize the influence of substantive and methodological factors on Latino panethnicity, and to incorporate multiple data sources in their research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-312
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Latino panethnicity: Reality or methodological construction?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this