The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Geographical Analysis of Hate Groups Listed by SPLC Released

By Heidi Beirich on May 11, 2011 - 10:50 am, Posted in Hate Groups

Today, The Atlantic magazine published an analysis of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups, which hit a high in 2010 of 1,002 groups. The analysis provides a “geography of hatred” in America and looks at what factors correlate with areas that are hotbeds for hate groups.

Written by Senior Editor Richard Florida, the research found that hate groups, when population is taken into account, are most highly concentrated in the Deep South and the northern Plains states. The states with the highest per capita concentrations of hate groups are Montana and Mississippi. Hate groups are least concentrated in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region and the West Coast. Minnesota has the lowest per capita concentration of hate groups of all.

The Atlantic also found that several other factors are associated with high concentrations of hate groups: high levels of poverty and religiosity and low levels of education. The share of the vote for President Obama is negatively correlated with a high concentration of hate groups. The Atlantic also reports that hate groups “reflect the underlying openness, tolerance and diversity of an area.” According to the analysis, hate groups negatively correlate with concentrations of gay and lesbian households and with areas where there are larger concentrations of immigrants.

In line with earlier studies, the research found no correlation between hate crimes and the number of hate groups. Instead, the research found that hate crimes are more closely connected to “adverse economic conditions, particularly unemployment and to a lesser extent poverty.”

  • Dick Lancaster

    Kevin,
    It’s not too surprising to find a concentration of hate groups in evangelical Protestant areas. Did you find any correlation between Mosques and hate groups? Was there any study of the attitudes of the few people who watch MSNBC? Was there any input from La Raza?

    Although areas that supported Bush in the 2004 election had hate groups, what was the correlation? If that data was based on the SPLC findings, we would expect Kerry’s support turf to trend toward zero hate. Would that be correct?

  • Linda Walsh

    Good going Minnesota; I’ve found the people in the State to be moderately conservative to liberal. and very tolerant in the best sense of the word.

    .

  • Frank Rice

    I feel good that I live in Minnesota but won’t be content until the number of hate groups is down to ZERO. I don’t know if I will see that in my life time but I will continue to pray. Jesus is the answer.

  • Sam Molloy

    Skinny, I have seen it, and, flipping channels like always, see very little difference between it and our current news broadcasts. When I can I also watch John Hagee, a TV preacher, who has some frightening predictions for our near future. He does not believe in Gay Christians, and I sure wouldn’t want him running the country, but that does not mean he is wrong about Biblical prophesies.

  • http://www.trendsinhate.com Kevin

    Thank you for mentioning The Atlantic’s article! With all due respects to the folks at that fine magazine, the data that I have analyzed for trendsinhate.com reveals a somewhat different picture than that presented in The Atlantic’s article. For example, in our report “Hate Groups and Poverty: 1998-2004″ we analyzed SPLC hate group data and goverment data on poverty, and we concluded:

    “Taken together, all of our findings about hate groups’ locations and their poverty rates strongly suggest that hate groups tend not to be found primarily in communities that are relatively impoverished. This finding refutes the social psychological theory that such groups ought to arise out of competition for scarce economic resources….hate groups may serve to operate to keep economic resources in the hands of those who have them. It’s not so much a matter of grabbing resources as it is holding onto them.”

    Unlike The Atlantic article, which apparently looked at data from only one year (2010), trendsinhate.com examined data from a seven-year time frame. This likely accounts for the discrepencies between what is reported in our research versus what The Atlantic has reported. Our research findings do not perpetrate negative stereotypes about poor people or those living in an impoverished area either. In fact, we reported that the hate group and poverty correlations that we found are “not inconsistent with the idea that hate group membership and activity is a leisure activity (albeit a community-terrorizing leisure activity), and having leisure time is a luxury not afforded the poor. Consistent with social psychological research on stereotyping, individuals from poor communities may be more interdependent on one another (socially and economically) than are those from more affluent communities. Rather than competing for economic resources, poor people work together to sustain their lives and their communities.”

    In the trendsinhate.com report “Got Out The Hate Vote?” we found something very similar to the more recent findings reported by The Atlantic, namely, that in the 2004 presidential election George W. Bush faired significantly better than John Kerry in locations with an active hate group as identified by the SPLC.

    Finally, in the trendsinhate.com report “For The Love of God” we found a positive correlation between the number of hate groups a state had and its proportion of evangelical Protestant adherents in the year 2000. Conversely, we found a negative correlation between the number of hate groups a state had and its proportion of mainstream Protestants, Jews, and Catholics.

    Thank goodness the SPLC tracks active hate groups in America. It is imperative that Americans realize that hateful folks are out there and perhaps operating not too far from our own communities.

  • skinnyminny

    Sam Molloy,
    I agree with you about the Tea Party. If you look at the comments I made last year just before the elections, I specifically wrote some interesting comments. More specifically, about their cries about taxes and unions.

    Notice how the states that are suffering are seeking fed relief! Texas gov. is angry that they have been overlooked in re their fires.

    Again, I will stress this, with no tax receipts/revenues, there will be a reduction in services, i.e. fire,ambulance,police…and the day will come, that we just may need to rely on the red cross and doctors without borders, putting us on par with 3rd world/under developed nations.

    Here is something that I recommend, please see the movie Idiocracy (it was made by the makers of Beavis and Butthead), funny, but scary – it was about the American population being dumbed down, corporations took over the FDA and all other government agencies, FOX news was the only news – it is a must see.

  • Sam Molloy

    Ruslan, it’s also widely understood that Germany in the 1930′s had one of the most well educated populations in the world. I suppose what you call education could be questioned, I.E. “readin’ and writin’ and cipherin’ aint the same as thinkin’ “. I think the craziest extremist groups here stem from isolation. I think the Tea Party is mostly undereducated people being led by a few very smart evil people.

  • Louis

    Andrew S. said,
    on May 11th, 2011 at 2:41 pm
    “I agree. Mississippi people are the meanest people in the whole country!”

    Andrew, I can understand your feelings; however, let’s not make such gross generalizations. I have relatives in Miss. that are wonderful, caring, decent human beings.

    To Mary on May 13th, 2011 at 12:07 am. Very well said, Mary.

  • mary

    Just have a small comment. The people of Mississippi are not mean. They y are wonderful people for the most part.The hate groups are just like any other — poor, under educated, threatened by anything new. The comment that ‘the people…. ‘ is an example of the stereptyping that SPLC opposes. mary

  • http://c;lueless? mary

    Just have a small comment. The people of Mississippi are not mean. They are wonderful people for the most part. The hate groups are just like any other — poor, under educated, threatened by anything new. The comment that the people…. is an example of the stereptyping that SPLC opposes. mary

  • Mary Jo West

    As a longtime Arizonan, I was surprised to see that our state or part of the country(southwest) was not mentioned. (I could have missed it) With SB1070
    passing, I have seen more hate than I have seen in 35 years. I pray that someday the HATEWATCH report will not be necessary. We need to keep supporting SPLC.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Poverty and religiosity explain it, but higher education does not necessarily equate to more progressive views. The author of Lies my Teacher Told Me cites surveys from the Vietnam era which show that most people with college education tended to be for the war, even to the very end.

    The problem is that education isn’t doing enough to deal with certain prejudices. It also helps reinforce myths of American exceptionalism, and the idea that America is a meritocracy, where if you fail you have nobody to blame but yourself. Those ideas often evolve into negative stereotypes about certain people based on race.

  • Nita

    Many people believe what they hear from the small minded people around them and from what they pick up from biased reporting. When the economy takes a downturn, it get worse because people want to strike out and someone and they look for someone who doesn’t look like them. It’s a sad fact that ultra conservatives use this to their advantage.

  • Jazz

    “The Atlantic also found that several other factors are associated with high concentrations of hate groups: high levels of poverty and religiosity and low levels of education.” –

    Doesn’t that pretty well summarize it?

  • Andrew S.

    I agree. Mississippi people are the meanest people in the whole country!

  • ModerateMike

    Although this information does not surprise me, it is still disappointing. Having lived in a community where the “natives” probably had very little contact with anyone who did not look, talk, act, and believe as they did until the last decade or so, I wonder at times why I am not more understanding when I see them bare their teeth at Hispanics, non-Christians, and liberals. But then, I remind myself that the human tendency to be suspicious and fearful of differences cannot be an excuse for cruelty in a civilized and just society, and that is what keeps my disappointment from overwhelming my resolve to turn my community into a more tolerant place.