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Is Iberian Hispanic?

Are you curious about whether Iberian is Hispanic?  Did you do a DNA test and saw something called “Iberian Peninsula” on your DNA results?  Does this mean that you are Hispanic?  No worries, this is a super common question, and in this post, we will discuss the meaning of Iberian vs. Hispanic.

What does Hispanic mean?  Is Iberian Peninsula Hispanic?

The simple answer is that technically, according to the commonly accepted definition of Hispanic, yes.  Iberian can often mean Hispanic.

The definition of Hispanic:

  •  Something that is related to Spain or other Spanish-speaking countries (adjective)  OR
  • Someone who speaks Spanish and lives in the United States – often used to describe someone of Latin American descent (noun)

Many people who fit the description above and are descendants Latin American Spanish-speaking countries prefer to be referred to as Latino/a – it’s important to note this, as I don’t want this article to come across as offensive to anyone.

So What Does It Mean to Be Iberian?

If you have Iberian in Your DNA, then it is likely that, at some point in history, you have ancestors that came from the Iberian Peninsula.  How far back?  It depends on your family history.  You could have really small amounts from lots of different ancestors really far back, or you could have larger amounts from a couple (or just one!) ancestor just a few generations back.

Whether or not you would decide to “call yourself” Iberian would be completely up to you, and would probably depend on whether or not you could trace your family tree back to the Iberian Peninsula, how far back your “original” Iberian ancestors are in your tree, and how connected you feel to the Iberian cultures.

How can I find out if I am Iberian?

Ancestry DNA will tell you how much Iberian you have in your DNA, and the results will look something like this:

what does iberian look like on ancestry dna

Do you want to find out if you have Iberian DNA?  The easiest way is to take the Ancestry DNA test. 

You can use this sponsored link to order your Ancestry DNA kit: Discover the story AncestryDNA® can tell.

Note:  Ancestry no longer reports the more general “Iberian” category in DNA results.  Instead, they have now been able to isolate more specific countries within the Iberian region.  You might be interested in my post, “What happened to my Iberian Peninsula DNA?”

Why do I have Iberian in my DNA results?

(Read this article for more information about the Iberian Peninsula DNA and how it might have gotten into your DNA!)

People who have at least one parent who was born in, or descends from, a Latin American country (think South America, Central America, and Mexico) are very likely to have at least a small amount of Iberian Peninsula show up in their DNA results.

It is also important to remember that a very large part of the United States was part of Mexico/Spain for centuries, and many people who live in that part of the country are descended from those people whose families have always lived there and many mixed with Spanish (from Spain) colonizers at some point.  All of southwest US states were part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, basically the Spanish empire, for about 300 years.

Southwest US Indigenous Community

Can you be Latino and not Iberian?

This is a great question.  My husband was actually born in Mexico.  He shows only 1% Iberian DNA, which surprised me very much.  I know another person whose father is Mexican, and she has only 3% Iberian peninsula DNA.  This leads me to assume that you can most definitely be Latino and not Iberian.  There has been immigration to Latin American countries from all over the world, including from many European countries that are NOT Spain or Portugal.

Can I be Iberian and not Latino?

If you have Iberian DNA show up in your ethnicity, does it mean that you have Latino ancestors? Not necessarily!  There are many explanations as to why you might have Iberian DNA.  To answer this question more completely, you will have to start building your family tree, using your DNA results as a guide.  Make sure that your family tree matches your DNA results.

buy the Family Tree Building Basics E-book


This has been a basic explanation of the meaning of Iberian/Hispanic, how you might have inherited Iberian DNA, and how to find out if you have Iberian in your family tree.  I have a lot more in-depth information on this site, so feel free to browse the site.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave me a comment!  Thank you for stopping by.

Example of Ancestry DNA Results
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Iberian Peninsula People_ a DNA Perspective
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tina gairdner

Saturday 25th of November 2017

Hi there I have just recieved my DNA results which says I'm 36 % Iberian however I have a great grandfather and grandfather both Italian from different families but I have 0% Italian one grandfather's family has been traced back hundreds of years in Italy. How can this be and are my 'Italian' family Iberian too. Thanks.


Monday 27th of November 2017

Hi Tina, Which test did you take? I have noticed that Ancestry DNA has changed the way that they report Italian. My Italian switched to a more general "Southern Europe" category. Presumably, people with a lot of Italian could be placed in some of their more specific Italy categories. Italians are relatively genetically diverse, so even if your grandfather and great-grandfather were born in Italy, and even if there was no recent evidence of their ancestors coming from somewhere else, there is still a high probability that they would not have shown as 100% Italian in an autosomal DNA test - meaning that you likely inherited these other ethnicities from them. In general, Italians tend to show other European and Middle Eastern admixture, along with the "typical" Italian DNA, with the average amount of Northern European DNA (depending on the study) ranging from around 50% to as high as 80% or so. As many as about 70% of Italians will show at least some Iberian Peninsula, and you could also have inherited Iberian from ancestors from other areas of Europe. I hope that this helps, and thanks so much for your comment.

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