An organization that tracks white supremacists and other far-right extremists says its annual count of "hate groups" has reached the highest level in more than two decades.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says the 1,020 hate groups it counted in 2018 is the most since 2011 and the highest number since it broadened its survey of such groups in the 1990s.
Heidi Beirich is director of the law center's Intelligence Project. She says the count reflects an "enlivened American hate movement" that has been growing for the past four years.
According to the report, the energy around white supremacism "metastasized" ahead of November's midterm elections, with a mail-bombing spree that failed and 15 people killed in three terrorist attacks — including the massacre at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.
Some organizations on the list have criticized or even sued over the hate-group labels, accusing the law center of political bias.
The law center defines a hate group as an organization that attacks or maligns an entire class of people.