Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hate Groups in the United States

I haven't posted to this blog in a long, long time. The main reason is that I don't read the newspaper cover to cover on the weekends like I used to and so I don't come across many charts.

But then my friend Jason (@JasonRobertC) over at Opensewer tweeted a link to the Southern Poverty Law Center's map of the United States that shows the number of hate groups operating in each state and the District of Columbia. What the map didn't show was how those raw numbers of hate groups related to the population of each state. So I dusted off Excel, got the 2012 census numbers from Wikipedia, plugged in the SPLC's hate group data and then calculated the number of hate groups per 100,000 of population.

The results were interesting, but perhaps not very surprising.

A big Aloha goes to Hawaii for having no organized hate groups. Four of the top ten states were in the south (Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia) and four  were from the Plains/Rockies states (Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, and North Dakota). Rounding out the top ten were West Virginia (the South?) and New Jersey.

One big caveat: I removed the District of Columbia from the rankings. DC, with 14 groups, actually ranked the highest, having almost double the number of hate groups per 100,000 than the worst state. However, that reality reflects the fact that many groups base themselves in DC regardless of the location of their support. Of course there is no way to properly gauge this (or apply it to the states), but in the case of DC, I can guarantee you that the two anti-gay groups and the three white nationalist groups do not reflect the population of the District. I could make arguments about some of the other groups based in DC, but those might be harder to dismiss outright. I recognize that there might be similar arguments to be made for some states. But I still believe that the fact that the DC is the seat of the federal government is the sole reason for many of these groups locating here and is much less likely to reflect the District's population than groups basing themselves in various states.

(I would have preferred to present a table, but couldn't figure out an effective way to import it into Blogger. I also recognize that this chart may not be perfect...surely you will let me know where I erred.)

Right click on the chart and choose to open in new tab or window to make the chart bigger and more legible.