Extremist groups that vilify others for immutable characteristics like race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, are growing in the United States. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group, a record 1,020 hate groups were active in the United States in 2018, up 7% from the previous year and up 30% over four years.
Growing hate group activity in 2018 was driven in part by anti-immigration groups. These groups advocate repeal of sanctuary laws and birthright citizenship and are active nationwide — even in states with relatively small immigrant populations.
The number of white nationalist organizations — a broad category that includes groups like Identity Evropa, Patriot Front, and the Ku Klux Klan — also increased by 50% last year alone. According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, the United States will no longer be majority white by 2044 — and the changing demography of the country has stoked fear and resistance in the radical right.
Across the country as a whole, there are 3.1 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 SPLC to identify the states with the most hate groups per capita. These states tend to be relatively poor with low educational attainment rates and are overwhelmingly concentrated in the South.
While groups like the KKK often engage directly in violence, the ideology espoused by many non-violent groups online has turned vulnerable, disaffected young men into murderers. At least 40 people were killed last year in North America by individuals motivated by, or drawn to, far-right ideologies. Those victims include 17 high school students in Parkland, Florida, and 11 worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.