With Record-Breaking Homicides in 2020, These States Had the Worst Numbers

The number of homicides in the United States jumped to more than 21,000 in 2020, the highest it has been since 1995, according to the latest crime statistics released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In total, there were 21,570 homicides in 2020, a sharp increase from 16,669 in 2019, according to the FBI's data. The number of homicides had previously decreased from 2016 to 2019 after increasing in 2014.

The data is not complete, as nationwide, thousands of law enforcement agencies did not report their crime data, the report said.

Still, the data paints a picture of where homicides increased in 2020—as well as where it declined.

Nationwide, there was a 29.4 percent increase in homicides from 2019 to 2020, according to FBI data. Arizona and California were the states that most closely match the national homicide increase. Arizona reported a 29 percent increase, while California reported a 30 percent increase in homicides.

South Dakota reported the highest increase. In 2020, 40 people were killed in the state compared to 16 in 2019—making for a 150 percent jump in homicides.

It is closely followed by Montana, which reported a 69 percent increase. In 2020, there were 54 homicides up from 32 in 2019.

Wisconsin reported a 62 percent increase in homicides—303 in 2020, up from 187 in 2019, according to the data. In Iowa, 111 homicides were reported in 2020, a jump from 70 in 2019, a 59 percent increase.

Georgia reported 943 homicides in 2020, up from 605 in 2019, making for a 56 percent increase. Delaware reported a 57 percent increase in homicides. In 2019, it reported 47. That number grew to 74 in 2020, according to the FBI.

Several states including Nebraska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, New York, Kentucky and Ohio reported more than a 40 percent increase.

A handful of states did report a drop in homicides. New Hampshire topped the list with a 63 percent decline. In 2020, there were 12 reported homicides in the Granite State, down from 33 in 2019.

Alaska also reported 28 percent fewer homicides. In 2020, there were 49 reported homicides, down from 69 in 2019, according to the FBI data. New Mexico reported an 11 percent decline, from 185 in 2019 to 164 in 2020. No other states reported a drop in homicides.

Only Maine reported no increase or drop. In both 2019 and 2020, the state reported 22 homicides.

There were about 1.28 million violent crimes in 2020, according to the report. Although the number of homicides increased, some types of crime including property crimes declined.

The increase in homicide has not gone unnoticed by Americans. A July poll found that a staggering 94 percent of registered voters from both parties believed that violent crime is an issue in the United States.

Police Tape
Homicides increased nationwide from 2019 to 2020. Some states saw a higher increase, while a few saw a fewer number of homicides. Here, police tape is seen in Austin, Texas in March 2018. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

Correction 09/27/2021, 4:38 p.m. ET: This article was updated to correct the number of homicide incidents reported in the U.S. last year.