Special Report

17 States With the Most Anti-Government Groups

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From the formation of the John Birch Society, stemming from opposition to communism in the 1950s, to the more recent emergence of QAnon, anti-government extremism has been alive and well in the United States for decades. Every organization has its own specific ideology, but also the groups have many things in common. 

Generally, these groups are anti democratic and align with far-right ideologies. They are often united by conspiracy theories and belief that the federal government is an illegitimate, tyrannical, and oppressive force. Notable incidents involving anti-government extremism include the Ruby Ridge Standoff in 1992, the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, and, more recently, the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. (Here is a look at 25 far-right hate symbols and what they mean.)

According to the hate group watchdog and civil rights advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center, there were 488 extreme anti-government groups in the United States in 2021, down from 566 in 2020. The decline is the continuation of a longer-term trend, as the number of these groups peaked in the 2010s. 

But while the number of anti-governments has declined, their activity has not. Anti-government ideology and conspiracy theories have surged in recent years amid COVID-19 lockdowns, the rollout of 5G cellular networks, and the “Big Lie” surrounding the 2020 presidential election. 

Outrage among anti-government groups over these and other grievances, real or imagined, have had real world consequences. In October 2020, for example, members of two anti-government groups were arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and over two dozen rioters charged with crimes stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol were members of known anti-government organizations. (Here is a look at the politicians who got behind the stolen election lie.)

Though anti-government extremist groups are active in each of the 50 states, their presence is far more pronounced in some parts of the country than others. Using data from the SPLC, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most anti-government groups. 

In each state on this list, there were at least three active anti-government groups in 2021, and at least two active anti-government groups for every 1 million state residents. Population data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, and data on government employment is for 2021 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Active groups in the states on this list include militias and conspiratorial media outlets. Many of the names these groups have chosen for themselves include references to the constitution, patriotism, and liberty – an apparent betrayal of the very basis for their existence.

Click here to see the states with the most anti-government groups.

17. Mississippi
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.0 per million people (6 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Newton County, Seminary
> Anti-government group(s) include: Oath Keepers, Watchmen of America, Citizens Militia of Mississippi, Constitution Party
> Gov. employment, 2021: 20.6% of all jobs – 6th highest (234,400 total jobs)
> Total population: 2,949,965

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16. Missouri
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.1 per million people (13 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Kansas City, St, Louis, St. Charles, Piedmont, Pulaski County, Cole County
> Anti-government group(s) include: Constitution Party, American Patriots Three Percent, Eagle Forum, Missouri Militia, Oath Keepers
> Gov. employment, 2021: 15.0% of all jobs – 20th lowest (425,800 total jobs)
> Total population: 6,168,187

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15. Oregon
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.1 per million people (9 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Grants Pass, Ashland, Beaverton, Harney County, Klamath Falls, Stayton
> Anti-government group(s) include: Embassy of Heaven, Freedom Bound International, Constitution Party, American Patriot Party
> Gov. employment, 2021: 15.2% of all jobs – 21st lowest (284,900 total jobs)
> Total population: 4,246,155

14. Alabama
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.2 per million people (11 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Birmingham, Dothan, Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville
> Anti-government group(s) include: Oath Keepers, Medical Kidnap, John Birch Society, Freedom Yell, American Patriots Three Percent
> Gov. employment, 2021: 19.0% of all jobs – 10th highest (387,700 total jobs)
> Total population: 5,039,877

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13. Colorado
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.4 per million people (14 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Colorado Springs, Denver, Grand Junction, Douglas County, Johnstown
> Anti-government group(s) include: National Assembly, American Freedom Network, Constitution Party, Freedom First Society
> Gov. employment, 2021: 16.0% of all jobs – 22nd highest (438,300 total jobs)
> Total population: 5,812,069

12. Nebraska
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.5 per million people (5 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Lincoln
> Anti-government group(s) include: Eagle Forum, Constitution Party, Oath Keepers, Institute on the Constitution
> Gov. employment, 2021: 16.9% of all jobs – 17th highest (169,700 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,963,692

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11. Ohio
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.7 per million people (32 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Cleveland, Lima, Bethel, Middletown, Oak Harbor, Montgomery, Summit County
> Anti-government group(s) include: North East Ohio Woodsmen, Oath Keepers, Ohio Defense Force Home Guard, Ohio Militiamen, Ohio Patriots Alliance, Patriot America
> Gov. employment, 2021: 14.0% of all jobs – 14th lowest (750,900 total jobs)
> Total population: 11,780,017

10. Rhode Island
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.7 per million people (3 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Pawtucket, Hope
> Anti-government group(s) include: Rhode Island Patriots, Rise of the Moors
> Gov. employment, 2021: 13.1% of all jobs – 6th lowest (63,000 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,095,610

9. Arizona
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.7 per million people (20 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Phoenix, Sierra Vista, Mesa, Chino Valley, Glendale, Tempe, Pima County
> Anti-government group(s) include: Southern Arizona Militia, Patriot Party of AZ, Oath Keepers, John Birch Society, Civilian Defense Force, Arizona Border Recon
> Gov. employment, 2021: 13.7% of all jobs – 11th lowest (406,600 total jobs)
> Total population: 7,276,316

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8. Nevada
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 2.9 per million people (9 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Las Vegas, Elko, Reno, Gabbs
> Anti-government group(s) include: Freedom From Government, West Coast Patriots, Oath Keepers, Eagle Forum, We Are Change
> Gov. employment, 2021: 11.6% of all jobs – the lowest (159,100 total jobs)
> Total population: 3,143,991

7. Delaware
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 3.0 per million people (3 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Georgetown, Odessa
> Anti-government group(s) include: First State Pathfinders, Institute on the Constitution, Patriots for Delaware
> Gov. employment, 2021: 14.7% of all jobs – 18th lowest (65,900 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,003,384

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6. Utah
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 3.6 per million people (12 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Salt Lake City, Provo, Logan, South Jordan, Box Elder County
> Anti-government group(s) include: National Assembly, Liberty RoundTable, Oath Keepers, Utah Citizens Alarm, Renew America, Freedom Rising Sun, Eagle Forum
> Gov. employment, 2021: 15.5% of all jobs – 22nd lowest (249,200 total jobs)
> Total population: 3,337,975

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5. New Hampshire
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 3.6 per million people (5 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Auburn, Gilford
> Anti-government group(s) include: Constitution Party, GraniteGrok, Institute on the Constitution, New England Minutemen
> Gov. employment, 2021: 12.8% of all jobs – 5th lowest (85,000 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,388,992

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4. Hawaii
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 4.2 per million people (6 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Honolulu, Maui, Wailuku
> Anti-government group(s) include: Circle of Sovereigns, Constitution Party, Institute on the Constitution, National Assembly
> Gov. employment, 2021: 20.6% of all jobs – 7th highest (120,200 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,441,553

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3. Maine
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 4.4 per million people (6 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Belfast, Kennebunk, West Gardiner
> Anti-government group(s) include: American Patriots Three Percent, Maine Militia, Maine Volunteer Responders, National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans
> Gov. employment, 2021: 15.7% of all jobs – 24th highest (97,700 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,372,247

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2. Montana
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 6.3 per million people (7 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Bigfork, Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell, Lincoln County, Sidney
> Anti-government group(s) include: John Birch Society, People’s Rights, Redoubt News, Stand Up America U.S.
> Gov. employment, 2021: 18.3% of all jobs – 11th highest (90,100 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,104,271

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1. Idaho
> Anti-government groups in 2021: 7.4 per million people (14 total)
> Place(s) with active anti-government group(s) include: Boise, Coeur D’Alene, Emmett, Kamiah, Preston, Priest River, Rigby, Wendell
> Anti-government group(s) include: Light Foot Militia, Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs, John Birch Society, AVOW (Another Voice of Warning), Panhandle Patriots Riding Club
> Gov. employment, 2021: 15.7% of all jobs – 25th highest (125,000 total jobs)
> Total population: 1,900,923

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