The Former Confederate States Have The Highest Number Of White Supremacy Groups

by Natasha Guzmán
Sean Rayford/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Following the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday where white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters, you might be wondering where hate groups in the United States are located and how prevalent they are in different regions. According to the most recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to monitoring extremist groups and advocating for civil rights, there were 917 known hate groups actively operating in America by the end of 2016.

This latest total signifies an uptick in the number of hate groups since 2015, when there were 892 across the country. Over the course of the SPLC's 3-year existence, the highest recorded number was 1,018 groups in 2011. In the new report, the five states to top the list with the most hate groups are currently California (79), Florida (63), Texas (55), New York (47), and Virginia (42). North Dakota, Vermont, and Rhode Island are tied as the states with the least number of hate groups, having only one.

The SPLC's latest "Hate Map" shows the prevalence of hate groups in the United States by region, from areas having the least to most hate groups: the Northeast (28), the Northwest (53), the West (83), the Southwest (100), the Mid-Atlantic (173), the Midwest (211), and the Southeast (251). Notably, the Southeast includes 9 out of 11 states formerly known as the Confederate States of America, or the Confederacy — Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee.

While the number of white supremacist, white separatist, and white nationalist organizations have decreased over the past several years, they were still found to be the most prevalent with 471 such groups from different categories dedicated to these ideologies. The Ku Klux Klan tops the list with 130 chapters, white nationalists follow with 100, neo-nazis are third with 99, racist skinheads come in fourth with 78, neo-Confederates come next with 43, and Christian identity groups are last with 21.

With the presidential election having been in full swing in 2016, the SPLC attributes the increase of hate groups throughout the year to the inflammatory rhetoric targeting immigrants, Muslims, black Americans, and women that Donald Trump became notorious for using throughout his campaign.

According to the report, several new groups — such as Identity Evropa, The Right Stuff, and the white nationalist website the Daily Stormer — were almost "entirely focused" on Trump and "seemed to live off his candidacy."

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The SPLC study also highlighted the dramatic increase in hate crimes following Trump's election:

In the immediate aftermath of Election Day, a wave of hate crimes and lesser hate incidents swept the country — 1,094 bias incidents in the first 34 days, according to a count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The hate was clearly tied directly to Trump’s victory. The highest count came on the first day after the election, with the numbers diminishing steadily after that. And more than a third of the incidents directly referenced either Trump, his “Make America Great Again” slogan, or his infamous remarks about grabbing women by the genitals.

Anti-Muslim hate groups and hate crimes stand out as having increased the most. Between 2015 and 2016, the amount of Islamophobic groups increased by 197 percent, from 34 to 101 organizations. If Charlottesville wasn't evidence enough, the numbers confirm that the United States is experiencing a resurgence of anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT groups.