Chicano vs Latino: Difference and Comparison

Ethnicity is indeed a very complex and psychologically charged topic, and labeling raises a variety of political issues. This makes selecting appropriate terminology for a particular ethnic group difficult and crucial.

These small minority groups from many civilizations travel from one location to the next.

Key Takeaways

  1. Chicanos are individuals of Mexican descent living in the United States, while Latinos encompass people from various Latin American countries.
  2. Chicano identity emphasizes Mexican-American heritage and political activism, whereas Latino identity is broader.
  3. Both terms describe the diverse and growing Hispanic population in the United States.

Chicano vs Latino

The difference between Chicano and Latino is that the individuals, despite being born in the United States, tracing their ancestral roots from their parents or grandparents to Mexico are termed as Chicano.

While comparatively, on the other hand, Latino is used for the individuals or persons who independently chose the identity of Mexican Americans in the United States.

Chicano vs Latino

Chicano is said to be persons having parents or their grandparents with roots in Mexico. The origin of the word “Chicano” is a point of contention.

Some say the phrase comes from the Chichimecas, a Guanajuato indigenous group, mixed with the adjective Mexicano. Another theory is that it is simply a contraction of the word Mexicano.

Latino is the term that is popularly used to state or describe the individuals who willingly opt for the title of Mexican American in the United States. Even the term is being legalized by the Government of the respective nation.

The term is eventually derived from a Spanish word that is – ‘Latinoamericano,’ and the meaning of it is – Latin American.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonChicanoLatino
DefinitionA Chicano is a person who was born in the United States yet has Mexican parents or grandparentsA Latino is someone who was born in Latin America or has Latin American ancestors
UsageSome Mexican Americans in the United States have opted to identify as ChicanoIn the ethnonym “Hispanic or Latino,” the United States government has officially recognized the name Latino
EtymologyThe name Chicano originated from Chichimecas – the indigenous population of Guanajuato, mixed with the word Mexicano or it may just be a shorter form of MexicanoLatino is derived from the Spanish phrase Latinoamericano, which means Latin American
RecognitionAlthough Chicanos are recognized as a cultural group, the name is not formally acceptedThe term “Latino” has gained formal recognition
NumberLargest minority groupComparatively small group

What is Chicano?

In the United States, some Mexican Americans have opted to identify as Chicano. The word refers to people who were born in the United States yet had Mexican parents or grandparents.

Also Read:  5w30 vs 0w20: Difference and Comparison

Mexicans, not Chicanos, are the name given to persons who were born in Mexico and moved to the United States.

Mexican American descendants use the term to express pride in a common cultural, ethnic, and community identity. Some of the community’s more conservative members, on the other hand, see it as a negative.

The phrase has diverse meanings in different sections of the United States, and it is occasionally used interchangeably to describe Mexican-American.

Chicanos are one of the country’s major ethnic minority groupings. They have a well-known influence across the country, particularly in the Southwest.

The Chicano population is changing all the time. Analyzing this shift, some academics claim that the Chicanos are becoming less and less different from other ethnic groups and that in the future, they will be fully absorbed into society.

The continual immigration from Mexico, however, stymies this process.

With the advent of the so-called Chicano movement in the 1960s, the word gained popularity. The movement was centered on ethnic consciousness, with the primary goal of preserving the minority’s language, history, and culture.

What is Latino?

A Latino in the United States is someone who was born in or has ancestors from Latin America. Latinos are individuals who live in Latin America, according to certain definitions.

Latino excludes persons from Europe who speak Romance languages (that is, Italians, Spaniards), as well as Spanish speakers from the Caribbean, according to certain definitions.

The term Latino was formally accepted by the United States government in 1997 as part of the ethnonym “Hispanic or Latino.” This term has taken the place of the previously used term Hispanic.

Also Read:  Black vs Galvanized Pipe: Difference and Comparison

The term “Latino” is widely used; however, it is still debatable. Some of the Latin American researchers object to the term’s use in the media because they believe it is deceptive and generalizing.

Latino is derived from the Spanish phrase Latinoamericano, which means Latin American.


Main Differences Between Chicano and Latino

  1. Chicano is the term associated with the persons who are born themselves in the United States, but they still have their ancestral background belonging to Mexico through their parents or grandparents while comparatively, on the other hand, the term Latino is associated with the people that are born in the Latin America or are connected to the place because of their ancestors (parents or by grandparents).
  2. The word is used to describe Mexican Americans in the United States while comparatively, on the other, the word is used to refer to people born in Latin America.
  3. The etymology behind the word Chicano is that it is originated from Chichimecas, while comparatively, on the other hand, the etymology behind the word Latino is that it is originated from the Spanish word – Latinoamericano.
  4. The group Chicano is known as a cultural group, but despite that, it is not officially accepted by the government, while comparatively, on the other hand, the group Latino is officially accepted by the government.
  5. The group Chicano is the largest minority group while comparatively, on the other hand, the group Latino isn’t a large group.
Difference Between Chicano and Latino



Last Updated : 14 July, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!