We collected 2019 and 2020 murder data from all 50 states. (Comprehensive 2021 data is not yet available.) We pulled the data from yearly crime reports released by state governments, specifically the Departments of Justice and Safety. For states that didn’t issue state crime reports, we pulled data from reputable local news sources. To allow for comparison, we calculated the state’s per capita murder rate, the number of murders per 100,000 residents, and categorized states by their presidential vote in the 2020 election, resulting in an even 25-25 split.
We found that murder rates are, on average, 40% higher in the 25 states Donald Trump won in the last presidential election compared to those that voted for Joe Biden. In addition, murder rates in many of these red states dwarf those in blue states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. And finally, many of the states with the worst murder rates—like Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas—are ones that few would describe as urban. Only 2 of America’s top 100 cities in population are located in these high murder rate states. And not a single one of the top 10 murder states registers in the top 15 for population density.
The chart below shows the top 10 murder rate states in 2020. Mississippi had the highest homicide rate at 20.50 murders per 100,000 residents, followed by Louisiana at 15.79, Kentucky at 14.32, Alabama at 14.2, and Missouri at 14. The national average was 6.5 per 100,000 residents, but the top five states had rates more than twice that high.
- In Trump states, the rate was 8.20 murders per 100,000 residents.
- In Biden states, the rate was 5.78 murders per 100,000 residents.
✱ Ohio (7) had a substantially higher per capita murder rate than California. ( 5.59)
Fun for the entire family, see how many of the top ten murder states are in the red shaded Bible Belt !
A U.S. News & World Report results are similar with Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina Tennessee having the highest per capita homicide rate per 100,000 people in 2020.
Ohio’s own The Center Square also came up with similar results. Their article states: All data used in this story, including population figures used to calculate population-adjusted crime rates, is from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report.