The answer may depend on whom you ask. But demographers contacted by the Tribune say both are acceptable. "We use those terms interchangeably," says Angela Brittingham, a demographic statistician with the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Our definition of Hispanic or Latino is basically anyone whose ethnicity or origins come from a place in the world where Spanish is spoken."
The 1980 census form allowed a box for Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban or "other Spanish/Hispanic." The 2000 form changed the opening question to include Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.
When immigrants were asked by Tribune reporters to use a term to identify themselves, they overwhelmingly used "Mexicano." That may be because some 80 percent of Hispanics in Arizona are from Mexico. The rest come from other parts of Latin America.
The Associated Press Style Book prefers Hispanic, but says Latino also is acceptable.
Conversations I’ve had with civically active Hispanic or Latino Arizonans found some resent the term Hispanic and prefer Latino. Only time will tell whether that preference will become widely accepted.
For now, the Tribune will follow the Census Bureau’s lead and use the terms interchangeably.