Violent Hate Crimes Were Most Commonly Motivated by Bias Against Race, Ethnicity or National Origin
WASHINGTON — The rate of violent hate crime in the United States in 2019 (1.0 hate crimes per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) was not significantly different from the rate in 2005 (0.8 per 1,000), the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today. This is based on data reported by victims in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). During the 15-year period from 2005 to 2019, the rate of violent hate crime victimizations fluctuated, ranging from about 0.6 to 1.1 per 1,000.
On average, U.S. residents experienced approximately 246,900 hate crime victimizations each year between 2005 and 2019. The number of hate crimes ranged from about 173,600 to 305,390 during this period. The number of total, violent and property hate crime victimizations did not change significantly from 2005 to 2019.
Overall, hate crime victimizations accounted for 1.6% of all nonfatal victimizations in 2019, up from 0.9% in 2005. Victims indicated that nearly two-thirds (62%) of hate crimes during 2015-19 were simple assaults.
During the 5-year period of 2015-19, an estimated 59% of violent hate crime victimizations reported by victims were motivated by bias against their race, ethnicity or national origin. This was the most commonly reported motivation for violent hate crime. In nearly a quarter of violent hate crime victimizations, victims believed they were targeted because of bias against their gender (24%), against persons or groups they were associated with (23%) or against their sexual orientation (20%). Approximately 1 in 10 violent hate crime victimizations were thought to be motivated by bias against the victim’s disability (11%) or religion (9%).
Additionally, victims reported that more than half (56%) of violent hate crimes were committed by a stranger during the 5-year period of 2015-19. Victims also reported that a greater portion of violent hate crimes (23%) than violent nonhate crimes (13%) during this period involved multiple offenders.
From 2010 to 2019, the number of hate crimes recorded by law enforcement rose 10% (from 6,628 to 7,314 incidents), according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Hate Crime Statistics Program (HCSP). By comparison, the total volume of law enforcement-recorded crimes — including both hate and nonhate incidents — decreased 22% during the 10-year period from 2010 to 2019.
Counts recorded by law enforcement and those reported by victims differ because the data from the NCVS and HCSP were collected through different methods and victims often did not report to police. The HCSP and NCVS are the principal sources of annual information on hate crime in the United States and use the definition established by the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 (28 U.S.C. § 534).
Similar to the motivation for hate crimes reported in the NCVS, race, ethnicity or ancestry bias accounted for most (about 54%) hate crimes recorded by law enforcement from 2010 to 2019. During the 5‑year period of 2015-19, nearly half (49%) of these incidents were motivated by anti-black or anti-African American bias. During that same time period, law enforcement recorded increases in the number of hate crime victims of black or African-American (from 2,201 to 2,391 victims), Asian (from 136 to 215) and Arab descent (from 48 to 126).
Hate Crime Victimization, 2005–2019 (NCJ 300954) was written by BJS statisticians Grace Kena and Alexandra Thompson. Hate Crime Recorded by Law Enforcement, 2010–2019 (NCJ 301554) was written by BJS statistician Erica Smith. The reports, related documents and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs are available on the BJS website at bjs.ojp.gov.
A third-party report, Enhancing the Measurement of Hate Crime in the NCVS: Developing and Testing Improvements to the Survey Questions (NCJ 301033), was produced by RTI International for BJS under award number 2020-85-CX-K017 and is also available on the BJS website.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice is the principal federal agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable statistics on crime and criminal justice in the United States. Doris J. James is the acting director.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.