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Who celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month?

We break down the difference between Hispanic, Latino and LatinX.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. 

With labels like Hispanic, LatinX and Latino historically used to describe the Spanish-speaking community, it can be a little challenging to determine who is involved in Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Let's break it down. 

According to Merriam Webster's dictionary, the general definition of Hispanic refers to all people that originate from Spanish-speaking countries. That means Spain is an obvious Yes, but places like Brazil and Haiti, where they speak Portuguese and French or Creole, aren't included. 

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Instead, according to dictionary.com, they can be considered Latino, which classifies people who descend from Latin American countries, but whose language isn't necessarily Spanish. 

Latino is a term that started showing up on official U.S. documents in the 1990s. According to the Pew Research Center, many Americans felt the term was only highlighting people who descended from Spain. 

According to their data, the two terms were used interchangeably and appeared next to each other for the first time on the 2000 census. 

The 2020 census now has many more options for self-identifying the overlap between Hispanic and Latino communities is where most countries fall including places like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina and Cuba. 

What about LatinX? We will need to look at Spanish grammar rules for this one. 

Latinos can be a group of Latin men or women. Latino refers to a Latin male singular, while Latina is the feminine version. 

LatinX isn't part of traditional Spanish grammar, but according to Pew Research Center, it's used as a gender-neutral pan-ethnic label. 

Hispanic Heritage Month runs until Oct. 15. During this time, we honor the contributions of Americans whose roots stem from Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean that means Latinos and Hispanic Americans are included.

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