About 6 million U.S. adults identify as Afro Latino, which stems from Latin America's deep ties to colonialism, new data shows.
On Monday (May 2), the Pew Research Center published a report detailing the nation's diverse Latino presence. Afro Latinos make up 2 percent of the U.S. population and 12 percent of the Latino community, NBC News reports.
These findings highlight the complexities of Latino identity rooted in colonial history. Across Latin America, white Europeans, Indigenous people, and enslaved Africans mixed together creating multiple dimensions of Latino identity.
Researcher Ana Gonzalez-Barrera said in a statement, “Afro Latino identity is a distinct one, with deep roots in colonial Latin America. As a result, it can often exist alongside a person’s Hispanic, racial, or national origin identities.”
Gonzalez-Barrera continued, “The life experiences of Afro Latinos are shaped by race, skin tone, and other factors, in ways that differ from other Hispanics. And though most Afro Latinos identify as Hispanic or Latino, not all do so.”
Spanish and Portuguese colonies held 15 times more slaves than the US, which contributes to the 130 million African descents that live in Latin America today, according to researchers.
2020 U.S. Census data showed there were 1.2 million people who identified as Afro Latinos, which is significantly lower than Monday's published report of 6 million.
According to researchers, the difference is based on how the data was collected from surveyors. Pew's survey asked Americans whether they self-identify as Afro Latino, while the U.S. Census classified anyone who identified as Black and Hispanic separately as Afro Latinos.
Gonzalez-Barrera said to the Associated Press, “The thing to consider here is that Afro Latino identity transcends racial identity and cannot be captured by a checkbox-type of question where you mark your ethnicity.”