The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports that 2016 was a banner year for hate. The number of hate groups operating in the U.S. increased by 25, up from 892 in 2015 to 917 in 2016. The 2016 total is the highest since 2011, when the total was an all-time high of 1018.
Hate groups were more numerous in the states of California (79), Florida (63), Texas (55), New York (47), and Pennsylvania (40). Increase in the number of hate groups over the previous year occurred in 22 states, with the increase being greatest in California and Oklahoma. The number of hate groups decreased in 15 states, with the greatest decrease occurring in Texas and Washington State. The only states without active hate groups were Alaska and Hawaii.
Among the ten listed hate groups, Black Separatists have the most chapters, 193, an increase of 13 from the previous year. These groups oppose integration and intermarriage and want separate institutions or a separate nation for blacks. The group is not to be confused with Black Lives Matter, which is not a hate group.
Ku Klux Klan, the nation’s oldest hate group, had 130 chapters, a decrease of 60 from 190 chapters in 2015. The Klan’s primary target is black Americans, but it is also hostile toward Jews, immigrants, homosexuals and Catholics. In 2016, Klan chapters distributed white supremacist fliers 117 times in 26 states.
Anti-Muslim groups experienced the greatest increase in number, from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016. Members of these groups display hostility toward followers of Islam and attribute to them an inherent set of negative traits.
White Nationalist and General Hate groups each had 100 chapters in 2016. White Nationalists share the ideology of the Ku Klux Klan, but members may take on a more socially acceptable façade. General Hate groups consist of several sub-categories, each endorsing hate against some segment(s) of society; sub-categories include Anti-Immigrant groups, Hate Music labels, Holocaust Denial groups, Radical Traditional Catholic groups, and others.
Other hate groups and their number of chapters nationwide are Neo-Nazi (99), Racist Skinhead (78), Anti-LGBT (52), Neo-Confederate (43), and Christian Identity (21).
The SPLC has been counting active hate groups in the U.S. since 1999. Their report is based on information gathered by SPLC’s Intelligence Project from hate group publications, citizen reports, law enforcement agencies, field sources, and news reports. Groups that exist only in cyberspace and groups or individuals whose activities only occur online are not included in the data.