This Map Shows Where America's Hate Groups Live and Operate

December 10th 2015

In 2015, we've seen stories of historically Black churches torched by white supremacists, Muslims beaten by anti-Islamic individuals, and politically motivated mass shootings. These attacks have taken place in the U.S., a country that prides itself on its inclusiveness and cultural diversity, yet hate groups still exist, stoking fears that sometimes inspire violence.

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There are currently 784 hate groups operating in America — down from 939 groups in 2013, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC defines hate groups as any organization that has "beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics."

This map shows where hate groups operate in the U.S.

hate groupsSouthern Poverty Law Center - splcenter.org

(This is an interactive map, and you can filter for specific hate groups and learn more about the individual chapters here).

The two largest hate groups in the U.S. are Neo-Nazis (142 groups) and the Ku Klux Klan (72 groups), and their activities include everything from holding rallies to leafleting. Recently, the KKK has been accused of passing out recruitment fliers in Alabama, calling for new members to join them and "fight the spread of Islam in our country."

Here's where the KKK operates in the U.S.

KKK groupsSouthern Poverty Law Center - splcenter.org

Mark Potok, the author of the SPLC hate group report says that the number of hate groups per state generally correlates with the state's population, which is why California, the most populous state, has the most hate groups (57). But Potok adds that there are regional factors to consider.

"Another thing to consider when analyzing this data is that certain hate groups reside in particular areas," Potok told Business Insider. "The Klan will almost always be in rural areas whereas, the Black Separatists are mostly in the cities."

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In the aftermath of the terror attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead this month, anti-Islamic violence has become a growing concern. While President Barack Obama has urged Americans to understand that Islamic extremists do not represent the Muslim population as a whole, some politicians have continued to group the two together, perpetuating cycles of xenophobia in the country.

And hate groups like the KKK have taken notice, using Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's anti-Islamic messages as a talking point for outreach efforts. "As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement," Politico reports.

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