In 2020, there were about 6 million Afro-Latino adults in the United States. They made up about 2% of the U.S. adult population and 12% of the adult Latino population. About one-in-seven Afro-Latinos – or an estimated 800,000 adults – do not identify as Hispanic. The life experiences of Afro-Latinos are shaped by race, skin tone and other factors, in ways that differ from other Hispanics. The multiple dimensions of Latino identity reflect the long colonial history of Latin America, during which mixing occurred among indigenous Americans, White Europeans, Asians and enslaved people from Africa.
Estimating the size of the nation’s Afro-Latino population requires a different approach to capturing identity on surveys than is available from U.S. Census Bureau sources. To do this, Pew Research Center asked adults to self-identify as Afro-Latino independently from other questions on race or ethnicity. Asking directly about Afro-Latino identity yields a higher share of respondents who identify as Afro-Latino than by counting as Afro-Latino anyone who identifies as Hispanic and Black in a two-step race question format like the one used by the Census Bureau in the decennial census and its other surveys. Results from the 2020 census, for example, show 1.2 million people of all ages identified as both Hispanic and Black, substantially below the 6 million Afro-Latino adults estimated using the Center’s method.