I think it's safe to say that most people have a sense of pride in where they live and come from.  Here in Big Sky Country, you will find all kinds of folks bursting with that legendary Montana friendliness and hospitality.

Take the town of Whitefish for example, it not only made the list of the Best Small Towns in America, but it also tops the list for the Friendliest Town in America which is really something special when you stop and think about it.

So, while Montana is home to the friendliest town in the United States, we also lead the nation in something not so pleasant.  In fact, it's the exact opposite.

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Montana is also home to a lot of hate according to data from 2020.  The Hill, reporting on information from the Southern Poverty Law Center shows Montana is home to the most hate groups per capita in the nation.

You might be asking yourself what is considered a hate group.  According to the SPLC, a hate group is defined as the following:

"An organization that attacks or maligns an entire class of people"

The Hill reports that Montana has six different "hate groups" that are located throughout the state.  The groups range from anti-muslim to white nationalist groups. Montana isn't the only state that ranks high on the list in our region.  Idaho also makes the Top 10 list with multiple hate groups.

Tero Vesalainen
Tero Vesalainen

So what is the reason behind it all?  Is it the fact that Montana is so remote that it becomes an easy place to hide? Is it the lack of diversity? Is it the transplants moving here?

I suppose you will get different answers depending on who you ask.

Maybe the fact that we have the 4th largest state with just over a million people could have something to do with it.  With that much land and that little of a population, it would certainly be easy for a group of like-minded people to pool their money together and set up their own little area.


Lack of diversity could also be a factor, however, Montana certainly has a few areas that are pretty progressive.

I know that transplants receive a lot of blame when it comes to the issues that we face here in Montana, but I'm not sure you can pin this one on them.  Most of the folks moving here are moving from much more diverse and populated areas.

While I'm not sure what the exact reason is, I think most Montanans would agree that it's not something that we necessarily want our state to be associated with.

Credit: The Hill, Southern Poverty Law Center

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