On March 17, a 21 year old white man went on a shooting spree in three Atlanta spas, killing eight. Six of the eight killed are Asian women. While the exact motivation of the killer remain unclear, the tragedy has invigorated public discussion on the alarming rise of anti-Asian hate crime in the United States. This increase is clearly due in no small part to the blaming by public figures and extremist groups of the Chinese government — and by extension Chinese Americans and other Asian ethnic groups living in the states — for the spread of COVID-19 . Reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate has recorded nearly 3,800 incidents of hate crimes against Asians in the U.S. in just five months, roughly 1,000 more than occurred in the entirety of 2020. In the vast majority of cases, the victims were women.
Just two months have passed since the violent insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Investigators have looked into the role hate and extremist groups may have played in the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Several prominent members of the far-right group the Proud Boys have been charged with conspiracy after prosecutors said they planned and funded the storming of the Capitol. The organization is one of the newest hate groups in the country, as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center. FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials raised concerns at a 2020 Senate hearing that extremists across the ideological spectrum, including white supremacists, pose a threat to public order and national security.
The number of hate groups in America peaked in 2018, at 1,020 such organizations. In 2020, that number declined to 838 — equivalent to 2.5 hate groups for every million people. In some states, the concentration of hate groups is far greater.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization with a focus on civil rights, to identify the states with the most hate groups per capita.
Though the number of hate groups has decreased in the last few years, these groups have become scattered and difficult to track as they communicate online through encrypted platforms. There are many other people who harbor white nationalist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, neo-Nazi, anti-LGBTQ, and other extremist views and who are not official members of any specific hate group.
States with outsized shares of hate groups tend to have several characteristics in common. Most states on this list are not very racially diverse and are home to higher shares of residents identifying as white alone and to lower shares of foreign-born residents than the comparable national averages. States with high concentrations of hate groups also tend to have low median household incomes and high poverty rates. These are America’s richest and poorest states.