During the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, Trump was criticized after telling the Proud Boys, a white nationalist group, to “stand back and stand by.” Law enforcement officials have been warning that the resurfacing of groups that hold extremist ideologies has been on the rise.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights advocacy group, a record 940 hate groups were active in the United States in 2019, up from the 784 groups listed five years prior.
Growing hate group activity in 2019 has coincided with an increase in hate crime and was driven in part by a surge of white nationalist groups. Such groups were linked to several racist attacks, according to the SPLC. The number of white nationalist groups, including such groups as Identity Evropa, Patriot Front, and the infamous Ku Klux Klan, identified by the SPLC rose for the second straight year, and represents a 55% increase since 2017. In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau announced its projection that by the year 2044, white Americans will not be the majority, news that stoked fear and resistance in the radical right.
To identify the states with most hate groups, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of hate groups in each state, according to SPLC, adjusted for every 1 million state residents in 2019.
Across the country as a whole, there are 2.9 hate groups for every million people. In some states, the concentration of hate groups is far greater. These states tend to have a population with lower educational attainment rates and lower income than the national averages. Six of the 22 states with more than three hate groups per million residents have a median household income higher than the national.
The states with the most hate groups per capita are also overwhelmingly concentrated in the same region. More than half of the 22 states on this list are in the South.