With the largest population, California also recorded the largest number of homicides in 2020, at 2,203 for the year. Texas had the second-highest number of murders, with 1,931 for the year. These high numbers are likely a result of population though, as both states had a murder rate per 100,000 residents below the national average.

Homicide victim demographics

There was a total of 21,570 reported homicide cases in the U.S. in 2020. When looking at murder victims by gender and ethnicity, the vast majority were male, while just over half of victims were African American. Geographically the rate of murders varied significantly between states. Louisiana was the most dangerous state with 15.8 murders per 100,000 residents, while New Hampshire was the safest with a murder rate of 0.9 per 100,000 population.

Are murders up?

In short, no – since the 1990s the number of murders in the U.S. has decreased significantly. In 1990, the murder rate per 100,000 people stood at 9.4; and stood at 6.5 in 2020. It should be noted though that number of homicides increased slightly from 2014 to 2017, although figures declined again in 2018 and 2019, before ticking up again in 2020. Despite this decline, when viewed in international comparison the U.S. murder rate is still notably high. For example, the Canadian homicide rate stood at 1.8 in 2019, while the homicide rate in England and Wales was even lower at 1.22 per 100,000 residents.


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Total number of homicides in the United States in 2020, by state


table column chart
CharacteristicNumber of murder victims
California2,203
Texas1,931
Florida1,290
Illinois1,151
Pennsylvania1,009
Georgia943
North Carolina852
Ohio820
New York808
Michigan754
Louisiana734
Missouri723
Tennessee663
Maryland553
South Carolina549
Virginia524
Arizona513
Indiana505
Alabama471
New Jersey329
Kentucky323
Arkansas321
Mississippi315
Wisconsin308
Washington301
Oklahoma296
Colorado294
District of Columbia201
Minnesota190
Nevada180
New Mexico164
Massachusetts160
Connecticut140
Oregon125
West Virginia117
Iowa111
Utah102
Kansas100
Delaware73
Nebraska69
Montana54
Alaska49
Idaho41
Hawaii41
South Dakota40
North Dakota32
Rhode Island32
Maine22
Wyoming18
Vermont14
New Hampshire12



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