Special Report

10 States With the Most Hate Groups

7. Alabama
> Hate groups per 1 million:
3.7
> Number of hate groups: 18 (17th most)
> Adults with at least bachelor’s degree: 23.5% (7th smallest)
> Pct. pop. identifying as white: 68.9% (13th lowest)

Historically, Alabama has been a hotbed for racial tension and hate crimes, and bigotry lingers in the state. Alabama has one of the highest concentrations of hate groups in the country. Like many of the states on this list, Alabama has a high rate of poverty and very low rates of educational attainment. An estimated 18.7% of the state’s population lives below the poverty line, and 23.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, each seventh-worst in the country. Like many of the states with a high concentration of hate groups, a relatively large proportion of the state’s population are black. Most of the hate groups in the state are also known to specifically target black people. The state has multiple chapters of white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads, and neo-Nazis. The one exception is the single chapter of the Nation of Islam based in Birmingham.

6. South Carolina
> Hate groups per 1 million:
4.0
> Number of hate groups: 19 (15th most)
> Adults with at least bachelor’s degree: 26.1 (12th smallest)
> Pct. pop. identifying as white: 67.2% (9th lowest)

The recent tragedy in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston was a brutal reminder of the hatred faced by the 27.6% of the state’s population who identify as black. Though violent crime is not significantly more common in South Carolina than it is across the country, the prevalence of organized racial hatred and intolerance is. White supremacy is a key component of the ideologies in 16 of the state’s 19 active hate groups, including the racist skinhead group out of Columbia, Confederate Hammerskins. In 2013, over half of the hate crimes reported in South Carolina were racially motivated, though this number is likely much higher as only 11.6% of law enforcement agencies in the state report hate crimes, one of the lowest rates in the country.

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5. Tennessee
> Hate groups per 1 million:
4.5
> Number of hate groups: 29 (7th most)
> Adults with at least bachelor’s degree: 24.8% (10th smallest)
> Pct. pop. identifying as white: 77.9% (22nd lowest)

Tennessee is the 17th-most populous state, but it has 29 active hate groups, which is the seventh most in the country. In 2013, 245 hate crimes were reported in Tennessee, the eighth most in the country. Just 37.9% of law enforcement districts in the state actively classify hate crimes, which means that figure was likely much higher. Like most of the states with a high concentration of hate groups, primarily white nationalist groups dominate the list. Hate groups include Ku Klux Klan branches such as the Southern Mountain Knights, the Original Knight Riders Knights, and the Loyal White Knights, as well as neo-Nazi groups such as the Creativity Alliance and the Aryan Nations. There are also several anti-Muslim groups, including Citizen Warrior and Political Islam. Perhaps as evidence of anti-muslim sentiment in the state, Tennessee is one of seven to have passed legislation banning Shariah Law, which proponents mistakenly believe would allow Muslims to impose brutal punishments such as stoning and amputation, practices not permitted under the U.S. constitution.