U.S. Hate Crime Trends: What Disaggregation of Three Decades of Data Reveals About a Changing Threat and an Invisible Record

Levin, Brian,Nolan, James,Perst, Kiana | April 3, 2023

When prejudice-related data are combined and analyzed over time, critical information is uncovered about overall trends, related intermittent spikes, and less common sharp inflectional shifts in aggression. These shifts impact social cohesion and grievously harm specific sub-groups when aggression escalates and is redirected or mainstreamed. These data, so critical to public policy formation, show that we are in such a historic inflection period now. Moreover, analysis of the latest, though partial Federal Bureau of Investigation hate crime data release, when overlaid with available data from excluded large jurisdictions, reveals hate crimes hit a record high in 2021 in the United States that previously went unreported. This Essay analyzes the most recent national data as well as various numerical and policy milestones that accompanied the historic, yet incomplete, implementation of hate crime data collection and related statutes over recent decades. This analysis of emerging trends in the United States is undertaken in the context of bigoted aggression broken down over time.