The Two Big Factors That Determine Where Hate Groups Thrive

Dante Chinni, NBC News, July 7, 2015

Where is the hate in America? A new analysis purports to pinpoint it.

South Carolina may be the most directly involved in the debate over the confederate battle flag, but racial tensions and racism are big issues around the country. And data from the Southern Poverty Law Center suggests the nation’s racial and ethnic hate groups are heavily concentrated in areas with two key factors: lower incomes and greater diversity.

Analyzing the SPLC hate group list with the demographic county types identified by the American Communities Project reveals counties that hold those common traits are the most likely to be home to those extremist groups.

The places with the highest number of SPLC hate groups per person in the American Communities Project are the counties called Evangelical Hubs, with 208,000 people per hate group, and the African American South, with 223,000 per hate group.

(Nationally, there are about 405,000 Americans for every SPLC hate group.)

Those county types are scattered throughout the Deep South as well as Bible Belt states such as Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

You can see the various counties on this interactive map in light green and purple.

But they are also noteworthy for having fairly large black populations–9 percent for the Evangelical Hubs and 40 percent in the African American South–and for having low median household incomes, both below $40,000 a year. (When you look at the population diversity of the average U.S. county, 9 percent black is on the higher end.)

Again, hate groups are scattered across the country, but those two factors together–low income and high diversity–appear to be crucial for engendering the rise of groups on the SPLC’s list.

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