Experts believe that the majority of hate crimes — about two thirds — remain unreported to the police. Impunity of the perpetrators, lack of information, and an increasing number of registered cases in recent years — all that raises concerns about the hate crime situation in the US.The following is a comprehensive representation of hate crime statistics by cities and states, available on official sources. Although the FBI has been publishing annual hate crime reports since 1995, there is still a lack of data to obtain a complete picture of the phenomenon in its entirety.
Hate Crime Statistics Comparison between the U.S. States
By comparing six key metrics, namely, a number of crimes committed in 2018 based on (1) race/ethnicity/ancestry, (2) religion, (3) sexual orientation, (4) gender, (5) gender identity, and (6) disability, we have sorted US states, according to their overall score ranging from 48 (highest number) to 1 (lowest number of reported hate crimes correspondingly):
|Total Rank||Total Score||REA||Religion||Sexual Orientation||Disability||Gender||Gender Identity|
California (48), Washington (47), Texas (46), Massachusetts (45), Ohio (44), New Jersey (43), Michigan (42), New York (41), Tennessee (40), Arizona (39), Kentucky (38), Virginia (37), North Carolina (36), Florida (35), Oregon (34), Colorado (33), Indiana (32), Minnesota (31), South Carolina (30), Kansas (29), Connecticut (28), Wisconsin (27), Illinois (26), Maryland (25), Nebraska (24), Missouri (23), West Virginia (22), Louisiana (21), Utah (20), Vermont (19), Maine (18), Pennsylvania (17), Hawaii (16), Nevada (15), Iowa (14), New Mexico (13), New Hampshire (12), Georgia (11), Rhode Island (10), Arkansas (9), Alaska (8), Montana (7), North Dakota (6), Idaho (5), Oklahoma (4), South Dakota (3), Delaware (2), Mississippi (1).
* Wyoming and Alabama did not report any hate crimes in 2018
Methodology: Six Key Metrics
By examining numerous sources on hate crimes and their respective laws, we have presented our findings in this easy-to-read article. Based on the 2018 annual report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we picked ten states with the highest rate of prejudice violence to explain the situation in each of them with reference to six key metrics.
The report includes data received through the uniform crime reporting (UCR) program. City, university, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies voluntarily report data on crimes for the uniform crime reporting (UCR) program that publishes annual data on crime in the United States. The uniform crime reporting system has been an important source of data since 1929. It includes four parts, namely (1) National Incident-Based Reporting System, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA), Hate Crime Statistics, and Cargo Theft Reporting.
Although a large amount of hate crimes remains unreported, thanks to the cooperative effort of around 18,000 agencies throughout the country, we are gradually getting closer to understanding the full picture. The six key metrics currently used to characterize hate crimes in the United States are the following:
1. Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry (REA)
Skin color remains the most common motivation for crimes based on bias or prejudice. In the United States, slavery, segregation, extrajudicial killings, and state-sanctioned discrimination directed against African Americans have made the race a feature of all state and federal hate crime laws. In 2018, the Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry category included almost 60% of reported hate crimes. As immigration becomes a top concern, there is a rise of offenses against Latinos.
White supremacy is one of the common beliefs that fuel the motivation for hate crime offenders. As an example, in 2017 James Alex Fields drove his car into a crowd counter-protesting Unite the Right rally, which led to 1 death and 28 injuries.
Hate crimes committed out of prejudice to certain religious groups make around 20% of total offenses. Religiously-motivated offenses are more likely to manifest as attacks on certain groups rather than individuals. Notably, in 2018 3.7% of reported crimes took place in churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques. Jews, followed by Muslims, are the most commonly targeted group in this category.
3. Sexual Orientation
Attacks against LGBT people are often carried out by homophobic or transphobic offenders believing that there is a normal way for people to live, which encompasses all behaviors and roles associated with the gender acquired by birth. In this category, gay men are being targeted about four times more often than lesbians. Research suggests that crimes from this category can involve a greater propensity toward physical violence. Attacks aimed at communities, such as the Orlando gay nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016, leaving 49 dead and 53 wounded, are quite common. Crimes committed based on the victim’s orientation make around 16% of all cases.
Crimes against individuals with disabilities are often carried out based on ableism — a kind of discrimination that sees people as defined by their disabilities and inferior to non-disabled. Although the percentage of reported cases is relatively low — around 2% — violence against people with disabilities cannot be condoned under any circumstances. Statistics have shown a rise in this category from 116 in 2017 to 159 in 2018. Disability hate crime evidence shows high levels of sexual violence and property offenses.
Increasingly, state and federal hate crime policies include the status category of gender, but for many police departments, it is a challenge to recognize gender hate crimes. In 2018 police departments throughout the United States have reported only 215 cases of hate crimes motivated by gender and gender identity, which makes about 3% of all cases. However, in recent years the Justice Department's victims survey has shown an average of 55,000 gender-bias hate crimes every year. While many do not report this type of crime as a “personal matter”, others prefer to inform their managers or school officials. Prosecutors are insufficiently informed about gender-bias hate crimes and show little willingness to charge violence against women as such.
* In England and Wales gender is not included in the monitored strands of hate crime.
6. Gender identity
gender identity category mostly deals with crimes against people who identify themselves as trans and queer. There have been 168 transphobic hate crimes reported in 2018. However, many believe that the number is seriously undercounted, especially since trans people traditionally have a low level of confidence in the police. Twenty-five lives were taken in 2019 as a result of violence against trans people, particularly trans women of color, prompting to classify trans murders as an epidemic.
Ten States With Worst Hate Crime Statistics
With an estimated population of almost 40 million (2019), California is the most populated state in the US. It is also home to people of different racial, religious, and national backgrounds. According to the 2018 US Census Bureau, by ethnicity around 40% of California`s population is Hispanic-Latino and around 15% Asian, 6% Black, or African American. It has the largest community of LGBT people as well. Not surprisingly, California crowns the list of U.S. states with the highest number of registered hate crimes.
1. REA — 596 incidents. As violence against Latinos is on the rise, urban areas, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, show a high number of racial-bias crimes. In 2018, 136 racially motivated offenses were registered in Los Angeles alone.
2. Religion — 199 incidents. In the number of religiously-motivated offenses, CA is second after New York. Interestingly enough, the majority of these crimes were committed against Jewish people, whose population is relatively low in the state.
3. Sexual orientation — 239 incidents. California has the highest number of homophobic attacks in the US, being home to San Francisco and having a rich history of LGBT movements.
4. Disability — 7 incidents. With a relatively low number of disability-motivated cases, CA is surpassed by several other states: Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Californian cities that reported such cases have about a quarter of people living below the poverty line.
5. Gender — 4 incidents. Low incidence of gender-bias crimes can be explained by a large number of equality-oriented youth. The highest number (12) in this category belongs to Michigan.
6. gender identity — 20 incidents. With San Francisco being the world`s gay Mecca, California still leads the list with the highest number of gender identity motivated crimes. Hispanic and African American ethnic groups tend to hold on to traditional views, which may explain a high number of crimes against trans and queer people.
Washington is the richest state in the country, which boasts low unemployment and good healthcare indicators. But being a progressive state focused on justice and social development, Washington is in no case immune to bias crimes. Even though it has taken the leading positions in legalizing same-sex marriage, the state still has to defeat violence based on sexual orientation.
1. REA — 299 incidents. Seattle is home to half of the state population and also 12,000 homeless people, 40% of which are African American. Most of the race-motivated crimes happened in this metropolitan city, where offenses against homeless remain a problem.
2. Religion — 72 incidents. More than half of the population in Washington identify themselves as Christian. This relative uniformity may contribute to less bias-motivated crimes in this category, but it also causes some intolerance to the new policies adopted by the state.
3. Sexual orientation — 106 incidents. Because same-sex marriages in Washington have been legal since 2012 and same-sex couples are allowed to adopt, many people from the LGBT community see this region as an appealing place. A high number of gay/lesbian residents also explains more cases of violence against them.
4. Disability — 6 incidents. In terms of disability-motivated crimes, Washington shows an average result with four of these cases occurred in Seattle.
5. Gender — 5 incidents. Three of those cases happened in Seattle.
6. gender identity — 19 incidents. Washington comes second in the number of registered crimes against transgender and queer people, having only one case less than California. In a progressive state, there are a lot of opportunities for people with traditional beliefs to attack those who do not fit in the norm.
Texas is the second-largest U.S. state by both area (after Alaska) and population (after California). As of 2015, the state had almost 5 million foreign-born residents, which is about 20% of the population and 22% of the manpower. Many residents here claim to have Latino or Hispanic origins. But does it contribute to more bias-motivated crimes in different categories?
1. REA — 314 incidents. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.7 million illegal immigrants in the state, making up 35% of the total immigrant population. Since Texas has a history of deporting undocumented immigrants and also a considerable number of Trump supporters, this can contribute to violence against Hispanics. Since 2019, there have been troubling reports about violence against immigrants, surrounding the humanitarian crisis caused by new immigration policies. In a 2019 case, three US citizens held captive more than 100 undocumented migrants and terrorized them for more than two weeks.
2. Religion — 59 incidents. 77% of the Texas population identify themselves as Christian. Being a part of the Bible Belt, east Texas is quite conservative and Evangelical Protestantism plays a large role in politics and social life. However, for a state with a large population Texas has a relatively low number of religion-motivated crimes.
3. Sexual orientation — 50 incidents. Texas had approximately the same number of crimes against gay/lesbian as Ohio and New Jersey. Two of those incidents occurred at university campuses.
* The Jeanne Clery Act was signed in 1990 in the belief that crime awareness can prevent campus victimization. The law requires colleges and universities receiving federal funding to keep information about crime on their campuses and annually distribute campus security policies and crime statistics.
4. Disability — 16 incidents. In 2018 Texas came third in disability-motivated hate crimes after Ohio and Michigan. There had been twice as many cases compared to California, a state with a similar population and area.
5. Gender — 3 incidents. Considering the conservative religious background of this state, where women may be delegated lesser roles, the low number of gender-related crimes comes surprisingly. A question remains whether the numbers reflect the real situation or are the result of difficulty identifying such cases.
6. gender identity — 15 incidents. Texas has a relatively high stats of bias crimes against transgender people, which can be explained by more traditionally-minded residents.
With a population of 6.9 million, Massachusetts is the most populous state in New England. It is also one of the richest and expensive states in the U.S. known for good educational opportunities. According to the 2020 ranking, residents of this state have the highest average of IQ in the country. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage. Foreign immigration is a factor in population growth: while about 83% of the population are Non-Hispanic White, Hispanics and Latinos make up more than 11%, and Black or African American around 9%.
1. REA — 200 incidents. Nearly half of racially-motivated offenses happened in the most populated Boston area. About 45% of residents here are African American or Hispanic.
2. Religion — 86 incidents. In 2018, Massachusetts was 4th in the number of religion-motivated crimes. Today, about 57% identify themselves as Christian, but both Protestant and Roman Catholic communities have been in decline due to modern secularization: 32% of the population identifies as having no religion. However, hubs of different religious movements continue to appear in the region.
3. Sexual orientation — 69 incidents. In 2018 Massachusetts had the same number of reported crimes committed against gays and lesbians as New York and Michigan. Most of these offenses happened in Boston, which has several gay neighborhoods that can provide crime opportunities for offenders.
4. Disability — 6 incidents. Boston is quite successful in creating an accessible environment for persons with disabilities and there is a low incidence of disability-related crime in this area. Cases registered in 2018 happened in smaller cities, where tolerance to such people is generally lower.
5. Gender — 5 incidents. Massachusetts has the same number of registered gender-bias crimes as Washington and lands after Michigan and Kentucky in 2018 statistics.
6. gender identity — 7 incidents. Massachusetts is regarded as one of the most LGBT-friendly states with advanced LGBT rights legislation. The term "gender identity" was added to the state's hate crime legislation in 2012. However, there is a long way to go since the fear of becoming a victim of bias crimes is still a part of everyday life for transgender people.
Ohio is the seventh most populous state with a population of about 11.7 million. The five largest metropolitan areas include Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Akron. The population of Ohio is predominantly White American (75%), but there is a large number of racial and ethnic minorities. About 25% of newborns belong to ethnic minority groups.
1. REA — 218 incidents. This medium-sized state has a high rate of racial discrimination against Black people. Almost every county had experienced a case of racial violence. The largest minority group in Ohio is African American (12%), and individuals of Hispanic descent make up around 3%. 85 percent of the State's minority population lives in the five largest metropolitan areas.
2. Religion — 40 incidents. Ohio did relatively well in terms of religion-motivated crimes in 2018. Columbus had the highest number of cases, six. Concerning preferred religions, over half of the population is affiliated with Christian faith, and a quarter, with no faith in particular.
3. Sexual orientation — 54 incidents. Although same-sex marriage has been legally recognized here since June 2015, gays and lesbians may face some legal challenges as Ohio's hate crime law does not address violence based on sexual orientation, and hate crimes of this category can be prosecuted only in federal court. This fact could distort the picture represented by these stats.
4. Disability — 32 incidents. Ohio has the highest number of reported disability-motivated crimes in the U.S. Disability Rights Ohio, a non-profit corporation that protects the rights of people with disabilities could possibly bring more abuses to the light.
5. Gender — 2 incidents. Like in most states, the reported number of crimes in this category is very low. One offense happened in Cleveland, and another, in Columbus university campus.
6. gender identity — 4 incidents. As gender identity is not included in Ohio`s hate crime law (state’s ethnic intimidation law), the number shown in this statistic is one of the lowest among U.S. states.
#6 New Jersey
A state in the Mid-Atlantic, New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area, but most densely populated. It is home to the highest number of millionaires per capita in the country, although poverty remains a problem: about 1 in 10 residents are falling below the federal standard. New Jersey has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S. as well.
1. REA — 308 incidents. Hate crime rates have remained consistently high throughout the years despite new hate crime reporting laws and guidelines for law enforcement. A recent study has shown that demographic diversity does have a significant influence on hate crime rates in New Jersey. According to the census of 2010, about 69% of the population were White, 14% African American, and 8% Asian. Around 18% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
2. Religion — 198 incidents. New Jersey was third on the list with a high number of anti-religious crimes, coming after New York and California. After a wave of bomb threats aimed against Jewish centers and temples, Assembly members introduced new legislation that will add creating a false public alarm in the list of bias offenses. The situation has prompted the state to provide more grants to religious organizations to improve security.
3. Sexual orientation — 53 incidents. When it comes to homophobic offenses, New Jersey shows average results among the U.S. states. Six of the cases occurred at Rutgers University.
4. Disability — 4 incidents. There are several advocacy organizations helping to protect the rights of people with disabilities in New Jersey, who make up about 10% of the population.
5. Gender — 1 incident. Only one case of gender-motivated crime was reported in the state, in Tinton Falls.
6. gender identity — 7 incidents. Surprisingly, the cases mostly occurred in relatively prosperous neighborhoods, whereas in Massachusetts with the same amount of crimes those offenses happened in less-advantaged areas.
Michigan is the tenth most populated state with around 10 million residents. Its largest city, Detroit, is a major center of commerce and global trade, as well as the center of the U.S. automobile industry. Michigan`s population is primarily White (79%), although Detroit has more than 80% of African Americans. The Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes (MIAAHC) works to ensure an effective response to hate crimes and other related incidents across Michigan.
1. REA — 282 incidents. Most of the reported incidents occurred in Detroit with its predominant Black population. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), there were 27 hate groups in Michigan active in 2019. Although the `Unite The Right` rally in 2017 resulted in a backlash against white supremacist groups, white nationalists are still active in states such as Michigan. The Black separatist movement (represented by groups such as Great Millstone in Detroit) is, on the other hand, a reaction to centuries of white supremacy.
2. Religion — 48 incidents. Compared to some states, especially New York, California, and New Jersey, Michigan has a low number of crimes motivated by religious affiliation. However, antisemitic and anti-Muslim movements still continue to operate in the state.
3. Sexual orientation — 70 incidents. The majority of these offenses occurred in Detroit, which is known for its high levels of violence. Moreover, Black separatist groups are mostly anti LGBT.
4. Disability — 19 incidents. Michigan, with 19 crimes committed against people with disabilities, comes second after Ohio with its 32 cases. Almost 2 million people in Michigan have a disability.
5. Gender — 12 incidents. Three of these offenses were committed in the metro area of Highland Park.
6. gender identity — 0 incident. Surprisingly, no crimes based on transphobia were registered in Michigan in 2018. This might result from the fact that state criminal law currently does not cover violence and threats based on gender identity.
#8 New York
With a population of a little less than 20 million, New York is a very crowded state, and two-thirds of its residents live in New York City. There is a large diversity of ethnic, religious, and other groups represented here.
1. REA — 153 incidents. Hispanics represent about one-third of the population, and offenses against them are quite common.
2. Religion — 286 incidents. In 2018 New York had the highest number of crimes in this category. About 18% of its residents are Jewish, and most of the offenses were committed against them.
3. Sexual orientation — 69 incidents. Considering its dense population, New York has not a very high number of crimes against gays and lesbians. More than 500,000 people here identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ group.
4. Disability — 1 incident.
5. Gender — 1 incident.
6. gender identity — 13 incidents. A comparatively high number in this category may relate to a quite outspoken community, as well as many Christian residents.
This state with a predominantly white population is considered a part of the Bible Belt and has many Protestant residents.
1. REA — 100 incidents. The cities of Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Lebanon had the highest number of offenses in this category.
2. Religion — 26 incidents. Within the ten states, Tennessee had the best results in terms of religiously-motivated hate crimes.
3. Sexual orientation — 29 incidents. These numbers may be considered low in the light of a predominantly Christian population.
4. Disability — 13 incidents. Most offenses occurred in Sullivan County, a region with high levels of poverty.
5. Gender — 2 incidents.
6. gender identity — 4 incidents. Although about 100 thousand people are identifying themselves as LGBT, most workplaces in Tennessee do not have local ordinances against this type of discrimination.
Arizona is the only state from the south-west that has hit this list. As for 2010, almost one-third of its residents spoke a language different from English at home.
1. REA — 95 incidents. With a large number of undocumented immigrants, this state still has a relatively low number of racially-motivated crimes.
2. Religion — 34 incidents. About 65% of the population identifies themselves as Christian and 27% as having no religion.
3. Sexual orientation — 37 incidents. In this category, Arizona had a 4th place among the ten states. Most offenses occurred in larger cities.
4. Disability — 2 incidents. Several organizations in the state are helping people with disabilities by offering representation, information support, and more.
5. Gender — 2 incidents.
6. gender identity — 3 incidents. gender identity is not a recognized motivation for hate crime in this state.
How Did Hate Crime Rates Change From 2017 To 2018?
Although hate crimes were generally on the rise in 2018, particular cities did see a decrease in average numbers of hate offenses. Atlanta, Georgia, had an impressive -86% downfall in hate crime numbers. Fargo, North Dakota, was following with -79%, and Memphis, Tennessee with -71%. On the other hand, the cities with the highest rise in recorded hate crimes were Eugene, Oregon (+380%), Phoenix, Arizona (+170%), and Seattle, Washington (+163%).
Federal Laws and Statutes
Before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal government held the position that civil rights should be protected on the local level only. Since 1968, when the first federal hate crimes statute was passed, the Department of Justice has been enforcing federal hate crime laws. The 1968 statute made it a crime to interfere with any person based on race, religion, or national origin, and because the person is participating in a federally protected activity. The Hate Crime Statistics Act was passed in 1990. It required collecting data about crimes that exhibit evidence of prejudice and led to the nationwide collection of hate crime data under the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) program.
Legal Enforcement Regulations In Different States
Although most states have hate-crime laws that include offenses based on race, color, and religion, crimes committed on the base of gender, gender identity, disability, and sexual orientation are not represented in law formulations of some states. Hate crime laws are important since this type of crime affects not only the immediate victim but people from the same group and the society as a whole. However, until now, Wyoming, South Carolina, Indiana, and Hawaii have not adopted a hate crime law at all.
|Race/Religion||Sexual Orientation||Disability||Gender||Gender Identity|
What Is The Definition Of Hate Crime?
Hate Crime And Hate Incident — How Are They Different?
Is There Any Penalty For Hate Speech
What Should A Victim Of Hate Crime Do?
Can Someone Get A Prison Sentence For Committing Hate offenses?
Is Hate Speech Protected?
Is The Situation Getting Better?
In recent years, hate crime numbers have been on the rise, and with the current political and social situation, the problem is unlikely to be solved in the nearest future. Some believe there is a direct correlation between the hate speech coming from President Trump and the increase in bias crimes in the U.S. In Australia, Fraser Anning, the leader of Conservative National Party, has been similarly criticized for his far-right nativist and anti-Muslim views, as well as ambiguous statements on immigration.