With the constant stream of violent news in the media and across various social platforms, one would think that the U.S. murder rate is on the rise. Is that really true, though?
The homicide rate in the U.S. is actually quite a bit lower than it was 30 years ago, when it hit a high of 9.8 homicides per 100,000 people, a rate that has fluctuated between 4 and 5.4 over the past decade. Unfortunately, this lower rate doesn't apply to the entire country.
Using data pulled from the FBI’s annual “Crime in the United States” report, the TruePeopleSearch Insights team compared the rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter crimes from 2010 to the rate in 2018 across more than 300 metropolitan statistical areas to find where murder rates in the U.S. have increased and decreased the most over the course of these eight years. You may be surprised to find which small city in Illinois found itself at the top of the list with a murder rate that skyrocketed over this period of time.
The metropolitan statistical area of Danville, IL, had the largest increase in the rate of murders and non-negligent manslaughter, with an increase of 19.5 per every 100,000 residents between 2010 and 2018. Their 20.8 rate in 2018 was the second-highest murder rate in the U.S. and far higher than their 1.3 rate back in 2010. Could this jump in murders have led to the 2.4% decline in their already small population of 77,000 residents?
The metropolitan statistical area where murder and non-negligent manslaughter rates were found to be on the decline the most was Merced, CA, with a decrease of 7.2 per 100,000 residents between 2010 and 2018. Even with an 8.9% increase in the population of 270,000 residents, this area saw their higher-than-average murder rate of 10.5 shrink considerably to just 3.3 in 2018.
What state has the most murders? Over the past 50 years, it’s been California. We charted the answer to this question with a graphic that tallies up the total number of murders that have been committed in each state since 1969. It’s color-coded by the region of the country the state is in, so it’s easy to see which areas have been the most affected by this violent crime. The top 20 is mostly made up of states from the Southeast, the Midwest, and the Northeast, but one western state, California, holds the lead for the most murders over a majority of these 50 years, save for the time between 1970 to 1975 when New York held the lead. California's final tally in 2018 reached an unbelievable 123,532 murders committed in the state since 1969, which amounts to 49% more than Texas, in second place with 82,994 total murders during that time.