‘Latinx’ Is Slowly Growing in Popularity, But Not With Everyone

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Aug 25, 2020

The gender-neutral term "Latinx" has become a popular nomenclature among academics and advocates, but only 23 percent of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino has even heard of it and an even smaller group, 3 percent, say they used it to describe themselves, according to new research published by the Pew Research Center in a survey of more than 3,000 people. This identity shift cuts across gender and politics, with 14 percent of women, ages 18 to 29, telling Pew they use Latinx, compared with just 1 percent of men from the same age group; and 29 percent of Democrats, compared to 14 percent of Republicans saying they’ve heard the term.

On Twitter and Facebook during the 2019-2020 congressional calendar, the percentage of lawmakers who used the term rose to 24 percent, a mere 2 point increase from 2015-2016. The number of lawmakers who do not use Latinx matches those who do, Pew confirmed in a report published on August 24. Looking across Twitter, users are bound to see Latinx used in accounts such as Latinx in Publishing, Jopwell, Therapy For Latinx Mental Health Platform and Latinx Geeks to name a few, as well as from political figures like 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).



While the Washington Post recently published a story stating that “Latinx [is] not a preferred term among Hispanics,” a 2018 report by the World Bank Group, which looked at countries around the world that used gender in language, stated they found “a robust negative relationship between the prevalence of gender languages and women’s labor force participation.”

What’s more, the World Bank found that language bleeds into culture and how society frames gender, such as with the fact that in the Australian language of Dyirbal, dangerous objects are considered feminine. At the end of the day, words matter.