Disturbing and violent events such as the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection in Washington and the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. have heightened public awareness of hate groups across the United States in recent years.
The reluctance of some political leaders to denounce hate groups has seemingly emboldened their members and brought racism and bigotry increasingly out in the open in the social media age. (These are the most segregated cities in America.)
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a legal advocacy organization with a focus on civil rights, to identify the states with the fewest hate groups per million people in 2020 and also, for comparison, in 2011. Also noted are each state’s percentage of adult residents who identify as white and each state’s percentage of foreign-born population. It is perhaps hopeful to note that in a dozen of the 20 states listed, the number of such organizations has decreased over the past nine years.
The SPLC defines a hate group as “an organization or collection of individuals that — based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities — has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” These are states with the most hate groups.
Groups such as the Patriotic Front, The Base, Proud Boys, the American Nazi Party, Nation of Islam, Westboro Baptist Church, Soldiers of Odin, Family Research Council, and the National Socialist Movement are a few of the 838 organizations identified as hate groups and tracked across the country by the SPLC in 2020.
Take this ranking with a grain of salt, however. As the SPLC states on its website, “The number is a barometer, albeit only one, of the level of activity in the country.” Many people who aren’t official members of a specific hate group can still hold white nationalist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, neo-Nazi, anti-LGBTQ ,or other extremist views.