Special Report

12 States With the Most Hate Groups

Racial violence and hatred is on the rise in the U.S. as evidenced by the San Bernardino terror attacks, the racially motivated massacre in South Carolina, as well as the ensuing debate surrounding the use of the Confederate flag. Since the end of 2014, 108 new hate groups have formed in the United States, contributing to a total of 892 hate groups as of the end of last year.

Hate groups promote animosity, hatred, and sometimes violence towards people belonging to a certain race, religion, ethnicity, gender, nation, or sexual orientation. Such groups organize demonstrations, write publications to promote their ideology, and possibly also organize hate crimes. To identify the states with the most hate groups, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Spring 2016 report, “The Year in Hate and Extremism.” Though hate groups are found in nearly every state, they are far more common in some parts of the country than in others. Arkansas has the highest concentration of hate groups, with roughly 7.4 hate groups for every 1 million state residents.

Hate groups form due to a variety of factors and conditions. It is impossible to ignore the role of historical influences, as 10 of the 12 states with the highest concentrations of hate groups are located in the South. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Mark Potok, senior fellow at SPLC, explained that while Northern states are by no means free of racial hatred, “racism is absolutely more visceral and more widespread in the South.” Potok explained that the relative prevalence of racial hatred and resentment in the South is largely due to a long running reaction to the Civil Rights Movement, which shook a share of the white population’s core values.

Click here to see the 12 states with the most hate groups.

States with a high concentration of hate groups also tend to have larger shares of black residents. While conventional wisdom dictates that different races living in close proximity is the path to better understanding, the reality is much more complicated. “While black and white people certainly work together in these states, in most instances they do not live together, they do not worship together, and they don’t socialize together,” Potok said. In eight of 12 of the states with the highest concentrations of hate groups, a larger share of the population identifies as black than the 12.3% of Americans who do. If a proper effort is not made to build bridges between predefined racial groups, trust diminishes, Potok argued.

Apart from race-based hate groups, religious hatred, particularly Islam, has also surfaced recently. There were several high profile terrorist attacks by ISIS in 2015, domestically and abroad, and anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise in America. While anti-Muslim groups barely existed a decade ago, according to Potok, 34 are operating in the country today. Additionally, older, more common hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis frequently express hatred towards Muslims. Though data is not yet available, Potok predicts that “almost without a doubt, when the 2015 FBI numbers come in, we’ll see a spike in anti muslim hate crimes.”

Low educational attainment is a common characteristic among the states with high concentrations of hate groups. According to Potok, though there are exceptions, “by and large [these] groups are composed of people who are relatively uneducated.” With the exception of Virginia, every state on this list has a lower share of adults with a bachelor’s degree than the 30.1% of American adults with a college degree.

States with a relatively less educated population also tend to have poorer economic conditions, and this is the case for most of the states with the highest concentrations of hate groups. Potok explained that “particularly in the last few years there’s been a lot of economic pressure on the white working class” due to stagnant wages, high income inequality and a lack of opportunity. While this is certainly true for minority groups as well, it is more shocking for the white working class. “They are losing things that they once used to have, so there’s a lot of anger around that,” he said. The poverty rate is lower than the 15.5% national rate in only in two of the 12 states with the most hate groups per capita.

To identify the states with the most hate groups, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of active hate groups in each state from the SPLC. States were ranked on the number of active hate groups per 1 million state residents. Any state with more than three hate groups per 1 million residents made the list. We excluded any state with less than 10 total hate groups. Median household income, poverty rates, educational attainment rates, and the percentage of each state’s population identifying as black or white, came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ASC) — all for 2014. Violent crime data came from the FBI’s 2015 Uniform Crime Report.

These are the states with the most hate groups.

12. Texas
Hate groups per 1 million:
3.12
Number of hate groups: 84 (the most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 27.8% (22nd lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 43.4% (4th lowest)

Texas is home to more hate groups than any other state in the country. Well over half of the 84 hate groups operating in Texas are affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, including the Texas Rebel Knights, a group that emerged in 2015. This past year was an especially active one for hate groups in the Lone Star State. In late November, a group of armed protesters gathered outside a mosque in Irving for an anti-Muslim demonstration. The demonstration sparked a backlash of counter-protests and drew the attention of the Texas Rebel Knights, which announced plans for the chapter’s own demonstration at the Irving Islamic Center in early 2016.

As is the case with the majority of states home to high concentrations of hate groups, Texas is an especially dangerous state. There are 406 violent crimes for every 100,000 state residents each year, considerably more than the national violent crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people.

11. Pennsylvania
Hate groups per 1 million:
3.13
Number of hate groups: 40 (6th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 29.0% (24th highest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 77.7% (19th highest)

More than three-quarters of Pennsylvania residents identify as white. While racial diversity may be relatively uncommon in the state, hate groups are not. There are more than three hate groups for every million Pennsylvania residents, more groups per capita than in all but 10 other states. The 10.6% of Pennsylvania residents who identify as black are disproportionately targeted by hate groups. Of the 40 hate groups operating in the state, 18 are either white nationalists, racist skinheads, or KKK chapters.

While Pennsylvania is notable for its high concentration of hate groups, racism in the state takes on other forms as well. While white households tend to earn more than black households across the United States, the difference is larger in Pennsylvania. The typical black household in Pennsylvania earns just 43.9% of what a white household makes, a greater difference than in the majority of states.

10. Missouri
Hate groups per 1 million:
3.63
Number of hate groups: 22 (12th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 27.5% (19th lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 79.9% (17th highest)

Missouri’s status as a slave state when it was admitted to the Union in 1820 came only after months of contentious debate. Today, the legacy of slavery and racial tension is more visible in Missouri than it is in most parts of the country. There are roughly 3.6 hate groups for every 1 million state residents, a higher concentration than in the vast majority of states. Of the 22 hate groups operating in Missouri, six are black separatist and two are neo-Confederate. Another eight are either KKK, racist skinhead, or white nationalist.

Like a majority of states with a high concentration of hate groups, the composition of Missouri’s population is much whiter than the nation as whole. Roughly 80% of the state’s population identifies as white compared to only 62% of Americans who identify as white. The state is also more violent than the nation as a whole. There are roughly 443 violent crimes for every 100,000 people each year in Missouri, considerably more than the national rate of 366 violent crimes per 100,000 people. This figure does not include the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, which put poor race relations in the city in the national spotlight.

9. Virginia
Hate groups per 1 million:
3.84
Number of hate groups: 32 (9th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 36.7% (6th highest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 63.0% (16th lowest)

The 32 hate groups in Virginia are spread throughout the state, though they tend to be clustered around metropolitan areas. There are two neo-Nazi groups operating in the Richmond area, two white nationalist groups in the Washington D.C. metro area, and two anti-semitic groups around Norfolk, among others. All told, there are more than 3.8 hate groups for every million state residents.

Unlike most states with a high concentration of hate groups, Virginia has an exceptionally high educational attainment rate. Nearly 37% of adults in the state have at least a bachelor’s degree, a considerably larger share than the national college attainment rate of 30%.

8. Georgia
Hate groups per 1 million:
3.86
Number of hate groups: 39 (7th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 29.1% (23rd highest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 54.2% (7th lowest)

Birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., Georgia has been a symbol of racial tensions in the United States. Today, nearly 31% of Georgia’s 10 million residents are black, a higher share than in all but two other states and more than double the 12% share of Americans who identify as black. Georgia is also home to a much higher concentration of hate groups than most other other states — hate groups that primarily define themselves along black and white racial lines. Of the 39 hate groups operating in the state, 14 are either racist skinhead, white nationalist, neo-confederate, or affiliated with the KKK. Another 14 hate groups identify as black separatists.

Hate groups are more likely to spring up in places with poor economic conditions. In Georgia, 18.3% of residents are living in poverty, and 7.2% of the workforce is out of a job — each some of the highest rates in the country and considerably larger than the comparable national figures.

7. Oklahoma
Hate groups per 1 million:
4.38
Number of hate groups: 17 (21st most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 24.2% (8th lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 67.0% (21st lowest)

While hate groups tend to thrive in areas with large black populations, they can also exist in areas with relatively little diversity. In Oklahoma, only about 7% of state residents identify as black, a much smaller share than the 12% of Americans who identify as black. More than half of the 17 hate groups in the state are associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

Hate groups tend to be more highly concentrated in areas with relatively low educational attainment rates. Adults in the state are less likely to have completed college than most adults in the country. Only 24% of adults in Oklahoma have a bachelor’s degree, a considerably lower share than the 30% of American adults with such a degree.

6. Louisiana
Hate groups per 1 million:
4.52
Number of hate groups: 21 (16th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 22.9% (5th lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 59.2% (13th lowest)

Louisiana has one of the highest concentrations of black Americans of any state. Nearly one-third of Louisiana’s population identifies as black compared to only 12% of the U.S. population. Despite relative racial diversity, Louisiana is home to 21 hate groups, amounting to roughly 4.5 hate groups for every million residents. Eight KKK groups are operating in the state, as well as five black separatist, and four neo-Nazi groups among others.

As in many of the states with high concentrations of hate groups, educational attainment is low and economic insecurity is pervasive. Only about 23% of Louisiana adults have a bachelor’s degree, a smaller share than in all but four other states. Additionally, nearly 20% of state residents live below the poverty line, the third highest poverty rate of any state in the country.

5. Alabama
Hate groups per 1 million:
4.54
Number of hate groups: 22 (12th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 23.5% (7th lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 66.1% (20th lowest)

Over one-quarter of Alabama’s 4.8 million residents identify as black, a higher share than in all but a handful of other states. Alabama is also home to one of the highest concentrations of hate groups in the country. Of the 22 total hate groups in the state, nine are affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, a historically anti-black group. There are also three white nationalist groups in the state, organizations that espouse a message of white superiority.

Formerly a slave state, Alabama has a long history of racial tension and disparity. Today, along with a highly concentrated presence of hate groups, black state residents face economic adversity. The typical black household in Alabama earns roughly 42.8% less than the $50,000 the typical white Alabama household earns annually, a greater difference than in the majority of other states.

4. South Carolina
Hate groups per 1 million:
4.55
Number of hate groups: 22 (12th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 26.3% (12th lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 63.8% (18th lowest)

One of the most horrific hate crimes in recent memory occurred in South Carolina just last year, when a white supremacist opened fire in a Charleston church, killing nine black churchgoers. Both the state’s violent crime rate and the concentration of hate groups are much higher than they are across the nation. There are roughly 498 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the state, considerably more than the national violent crime rate of 366 reported incidents for every 100,000 people. Additionally, there are roughly 4.6 hate groups per 1 million state residents, a much higher share than 2.8 hate groups per 1 million people nationwide.

Like many of the states with a high concentration of hate groups, South Carolina is a Southern, formerly Confederate state. More than 27% of the population is black, one of the highest concentrations in the country.

3. Tennessee
Hate groups per 1 million:
6.26
Number of hate groups: 41 (5th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 25.3% (11th lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 74.5% (23rd highest)

There are 41 hate groups operating in Tennessee, amounting to roughly 6.3 groups for every million residents, a higher concentration than in nearly every other state. Three anti-muslim groups are located in Nashville and 16 chapters of the KKK are spread out throughout the state.

Tennessee is an especially violent state. Each year, more than 608 violent crimes are reported for every 100,000 state residents, considerably more than the national violent crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people. Many violent crimes in the state are hate crimes. Last year, four U.S. marines were killed by Islamist radicals in Chattanooga.

2. Mississippi
Hate groups per 1 million:
6.35
Number of hate groups: 19 (18th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 21.1% (2nd lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 57.2% (12th lowest)

Nearly 38% of Mississippians identify as black, a higher share of the population than in any other state. In certain parts of the Mississippi, blacks outnumber whites. Potok explained that this can engender fear among some parts of the white population. Many hate groups have sprouted out of that fear over the years. The state is home to seven chapters of the KKK as well as four groups identifying as white nationalists.

Members of hate groups tend to be less educated. In Mississippi, a state with more hate groups per capita than any other state with the exception of Arkansas, only 21% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, a smaller share than in every other state except for West Virginia.

1. Arkansas
Hate groups per 1 million:
7.42
Number of hate groups: 22 (12th most)
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 21.4% (3rd lowest)
Pct. pop. identifying as white: 73.4% (25th lowest)

Arkansas is home to more hate groups per capita than any other state in the country. There are more than seven hate groups for every million state residents, considerably more than across the United States, where there are roughly 2.8 hate groups per 1 million people. Members of hate groups are typically less educated, and Arkansas has one of the lowest educational attainment rates in the country. Only 21.4% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree, a much smaller share than the 30.1% of American adults with a college degree. The 22 hate groups in the state include black separatists in Pine Bluff, two anti-semitic and racist Christian identity groups in Harrison, and a white pride homeschool resource center in Bergman, among others.

Buffett Missed These Two…

Warren Buffett loves dividend stocks, and has stuffed Berkshire with some of his favorites.

But he overlooked two dividend legends that continue to print checks on a new level, they’re nowhere in his portfolio.

Unlock the two dividend legends Buffett missed in this new free report.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.