U.S. Hate Crime Rates and Statistics

Committing a criminal act motivated by personal bias is known as a hate crime in the United States. U.S. hate crime statistics reveal that African Americans are most likely to be victimized in a hate crime. Refer to our guide on U.S. hate crime rates and statistics to learn more and for free state and national human rights resources.

Free Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

Full Bio →

Written by

Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single insurance company.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different insurance companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by insurance experts.

When there is a criminal act, and it is motivated by personal bias, it is considered a hate crime. This could include physical violence, threats, destruction of property, or any other form of harassment. Offenders target people based on their skin color, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin.

These acts do not just affect the individual; they affect groups, families, nations, and communities. Often, others will worry that they could become the next victim. They may become concerned for their homes, businesses, or places of worship.

Hate crimes have become such a widespread problem in the United States that forty-five of the fifty states have specific hate crime statutes. Race, ethnicity, and religion are all mentioned in these laws. Gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability are only mentioned in some of them.

Resource:

What is a hate crime?

Hate crimes are criminal acts, often violent, that are committed due to prejudice against a certain group of people. They target the very roots of the group’s identity, beliefs, and or lifestyle. Though most people think of the physical aspects of crime; vandalism, arson, and verbal harassment are common hate crime offenses.

Resource:

Compare The Best Insurance Quotes In The Country

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Rates and statistics

The FBI attempts to track hate crime trends throughout the country. Unfortunately, the numbers they provide the public each year may not be accurate. A lot of victims keep quiet about crimes committed against them out of fear and embarrassment. Additionally, law enforcement officers who are responsible for providing the FBI with hate crime statistics often fail to do so. Furthermore, there is little legal pressure to participate in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

In the 2016 report, there were 6,121 incidents of hate crimes in the country. African Americans were the most reported group with 1,739 incidents. Anti-Jewish crimes were the highest for religion, and anti-gay male incidents were highest for sexual orientation.

The U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics approximates there were around 250,000 incidents per year for the last 14 years. This number is based on its yearly National Crime Victimization Survey. This survey samples about 100,000 homes.

Motivations to commit these hate crimes have also been studied. The National Institute of Justice states that 60% of the time these offenses are motivated by racial biases. However, four common psychological factors of offenders – thrill-seeking, defensive, retaliatory, and mission- are often overlooked by statisticians.

  • Thrill seekers: 66% of offenders are those who are looking for excitement at others expense. Nine times out of ten their victims are strangers.
  • Defensive: 25% of offenders feel the victimized group is a threat to them and their community of people.
  • Retaliatory: 8% of offenders feel they need to “get back” at another group for events that happened in the past.
  • Mission: 1% of these crimes are committed by those who have made a career out of hate and crime. Their attacks are often very well thought out.

Resources:

Victims

African American

As mentioned earlier, in the FBI reports African American people were victimized more than any other group in the United States. It is estimated that for every million African Americans, fifty are victims of hate crimes. A lot of people believe it is hate groups committing most these offenses, but many of the crimes are committed by an offender acting alone.

Resource:

LGBTQ

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports a 17% increase in killings for the Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Queer community from 2015-2016, making it the deadliest year yet. This community is one of the most common targets of hate crimes. With more openly gay people, offenders have an easier way to find victims.

Resource:

Jewish

The Jewish community is the most victimized religious group in the United States. The media does not often show their struggle as it does other groups. Since the Jewish population in the United States is small in comparison to other commonly targeted groups, the numbers are not attention-grabbing.

Resources:

White

Prejudice against the white population is usually found in literature under reverse racism, a term used to describe racism against a majority group. Hate crimes may be unreported due to the majority status that the population holds within the country. There is a common belief that prejudice, and thus hate crimes, cannot occur against a majority population. However, hate crimes against whites have been on the rise according to the FBI.

Resource:

Hispanic

As the Hispanic population in America grows, more are becoming victims of hate crimes. The language barrier between law enforcement and other government officials makes reporting incidents accurately very difficult. Also, the Hispanic community is more likely to turn to family and friends for support as opposed to law enforcement.

Resource:

Asian and Pacific Islander

Hate crimes against Asians and Pacific Islanders go as far back as the 1800s. Back then, the white supremacist group, Arsonists of the Order of Caucasians, assassinated four men of Asian descent, because they felt this ethnic group was responsible for the lack of available jobs.

Resource:

Muslim

Since the beginning of the war on terror, Muslims have been the subject of a lot of American hatred. They are very misunderstood in the United States. Mosques around the country report religious holidays and Fridays as the most common days they are victimized. Pork placed near mosques and attacks on women in head covering religious garb are the most common crimes committed against them.

Resource:

Others

In 2009, Sikhs in New York City were asked if they had ever been the victim of a hate crime since living in America. Forty-one percent said they had.

In August 2016, an Arabic man was killed outside his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The offender was his neighbor, who had been consistently displaying racial tendencies toward his neighbors because they were Arabic for an entire year beforehand.

Christians have experienced arsons and graffiti of their churches, as well as physical violence towards their members due to their beliefs and media attention.

Resources:

The Future

It is difficult to say what direction hate crimes in the United States will go long term without more accurate reports. They may never be one hundred percent eliminated. However it is possible to reduce the number of incidents. Knowledge and prevention are the best ways to combat hate crimes. Better reporting and reaction from the US government can really improve the odds as well.

Resource:

Compare The Best Insurance Quotes In The Country

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Additional resources

Visit the New York State Police Department to learn about hate crime prevention.

For peer support and advice visit Victim Connect.

For Anonymous reporting, visit the Anti-Defamation League.

Free Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption