FBI data shows increased amount of hate crimes in ‘blue states’

On Friday, the FBI released Uniform Crime Reporting statistics (UCR) for hate crimes last year, which showed a five percent increase in the raw number of reported incidents nationwide since 2015, up from 5,850 to 6,121 in 2016.

The UCR is a voluntary reporting system for local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.  Not all agencies participate in the UCR, although enough report to cover 90 percent of the U.S. population.  The state of Hawaii does not participate, but the report does reveal some important patterns for the remaining states.

Adjusting for the population covered, 2016’s national rate for hate crimes was 21.12 per million individuals — an increase of 2.5 percent from 20.61 per million in 2015.

Looking at the top 10 state and U.S. hate crime rates in the table below, the District of Columbia has by far the highest rate with 168.83 incidents per million residents.  In the nation’s capital city, 37 percent of the hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation, while 29 percent were racially motivated. 

The population adjusted rate of hate groups per million from the Southern Poverty Law Center is also extremely high for D.C.

Only four of the top 10 states in hate crimes were won by Trump in 2016: Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Arizona.

The chart below with the participating states shows that there is a surprising negative relationship between the hate crime rate and Trump’s percentage of the vote, accounting for 40 percent of the variability in hate crime rates.

Washington, D.C., is an extreme outlier with only 4.1 percent of the vote for Trump but a high hate crime rate.  If this analysis is rerun without D.C., the relationship is still negative but weaker accounting for 14 percent of the variability.

The graph above showing the inverse relationship between Trump’s share of the 2016 popular vote and hate crime rates is difficult to explain.  It could be that in states where Trump is popular, hate crimes are less likely to be reported, as the hate group density is positively associated with Trump’s vote.

It could also be the case that lone wolf hate crimes are more likely in states with fewer hate groups.  Further analysis of these numbers will be needed looking at types of hate crimes and hate groups.

Participating state Population
Total population % covered Total
number of
Hate Crimes per million Hate groups per million ’16 Trump %


289,814,003    323,127,513 89.69 6,121 21.12 2.84 46.7
Washington, D.C.


681,170  681,170 100.00 115 168.83 30.83 4.1


6,637,616 6,811,779 97.44 391 58.91 1.76 33.5


7,282,106 7,288,000 99.92 387 53.14 2.88 38.2


4,427,530 4,436,974 99.79 206 46.53 5.18 62.5


9,573,452 11,614,373 82.43 442 46.17 3.01 52.1
New Mexico


576,958 2,081,015 27.72 26 45.06 0.96 40.0


9,847,710 9,928,300 99.19 399 40.52 2.82 47.6


624,594 624,594 100.00 25 40.03 1.60 32.6


6,361,910 6,931,071 91.79 213 33.48 2.60 49.5
New Jersey


8,942,857 8,944,469 99.98 282 31.53 1.68 41.8