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.”