President Donald Trump’s successful campaign and election win unleashed a level of hatred not seen in the United States in decades. According to the latest annual intelligence report from civil rights advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center, 917 hate groups were active across the nation last year, up from 892 in 2015, and 784 in 2014. Hate-group activity burst into the open this past weekend when white nationalist groups convened on Charlottesville, Virginia. They fought with counter-protesters that led to the death of one person.
Because these groups have a tendency to hide the nature of their organizations, these tallies — while the best available numbers — likely underestimate the true levels of hate group activity. Based on data provided by SPLC, Montana leads the nation with 9.6 known active hate groups for every 1 million state residents. Indiana rounds out the list of 10 with 3.9 hate groups per 1 million. Nationwide, there are 2.8 hate groups for every 1 million Americans.
> Hate groups: 5.2/million
> Number of hate groups: 23
> Pct. pop. identifying as white: 87.4% (11th highest)
> Pct. pop foreign born: 3.6% (9th lowest)
The number of hate groups operating in Kentucky increased from 13 in 2015 to 23 in 2016. In keeping with national trends, the SPLC reported increases in the total number of neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and black separatist groups in the state. In addition, the total number of neo-Confederate organizations in Kentucky increased from two to four in 2016. Such groups are unique to the American South.
The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that championed Trump throughout his presidential campaign, has a chapter in Louisville. The city is home to at least four other hate groups, including three black separatist groups and a white nationalist organization.
Active hate groups in the United State rose dramatically after former President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. According to SPLC’s count, the number of hate groups surged 800% from 2008 to 2012, when the tally peaked at 1,360 groups. Obama’s race likely led to the hate group spike in 2012. SPLC’s observations suggest the promotion of far-right radicalism in Trump’s campaign rhetoric led to the more recent rise in hate crimes.