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Why the Term ‘Latinx’ Hasn’t Taken Off Among Latins -- And Likely Never Will

February 5, 2021

At first blush, the word Latinx –the gender-neutral, non binary term used to describe the nation’s diverse Hispanic population-- seems ubiquitous.

It pops up regularly in press releases, in news headlines, in social media posts, in campaign mailings. But scratch below the surface, and you find little substance under the semantics.

According to a by now widely cited study undertaken by the Pew Research Center and published in August, only one in four Latinos are even aware of the term Latinx, and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves. The results run across demographics: Even though use of the term Latinx is greater among younger Latinos, only 7% of those ages 18 to 29 say they use it; among those 30 and older, that percentage drops to an abysmal 2%.

“The population it’s meant to describe isn’t even aware of it,” says Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Global Migration and Demography research at the Pew Research Center, and one of the authors of the August 11 study. “It’s a striking finding.”

And it mirrors what we see in the Latin music universe. Although the term “Latinx” can be often found in English-language press releases, especially when pertaining to U.S. born or raised artists, it’s a rarity in Spanish language releases. Most telling, very few (if any in recent memory) Latin artists self-describe as Latinx, even when directly asked what term they prefer to use.

And a recent, informal survey of more than 30 Latin music executives found that only one preferred the term Latinx over Latin.

Read more from Billboard here.  

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