The latest scare being proffered by the media is that it isn’t safe to be an Asian in America. Headlines everywhere read “Asian hate crime is up 150%.”

Is this true? Technically, yes, at least according to the calculations of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino. However, when you look at the actual number of incidents, it becomes clear that violence against Asians is not an epidemic in this country.

The Center notes that there were 49 hate crimes targeted toward Asians in 2019 vs. 122 in 2020 in 16 major American cities (all the while hate crimes in general dropped 7%). That’s right. Only 122 hate crimes. This represents just 0.0000042% of the population in those cities![1] What percentage of the Asian population in these cities experienced a hate crime? Just 0.000035% of the 3,449,737 Asian residents. That means only 1 out of 28,277 Asians in those cities experienced a hate crime (and the bulk of these are verbal harassment or intimidation, not violent crime). An Asian living in these cities is more likely to:

  • Get hit by a meteorite (1 in 3000)
  • Win an Oscar (1 in 11,500)
  • Get drafted by the NBA (1 in ~4100)
  • Die in a mass shooting (1 in 11,125)
  • Get injured by a toilet (1 in 10,000)
  • Bowl a perfect game (1 in 11,500)

than be the victim of a hate crime.

According to the Center’s own data, the percentage of hate crimes directed against Asians was significantly lower than their population in those cities. While Asians constitute 12% of the population, they only constitute 7.1% of all hate crimes. So yes, the percentage of hate crimes against Asians increased in 2020, but the number of hate crimes is very small and Asians are underrepresented in the overall number of hate crimes relative to their population.

The 122 hate crimes reported by the Center were isolated to 16 cities, so the total number of hate crimes against Asians in America is much higher. Only 18.8% of Asian Americans live in those 16 cities. If we assume that Asians living in other parts of the country also experience hate crimes at the rate of 1 in every 28,277 Asians, this would result in an additional 528 hate crimes. Added to the 122 from the 16 major cities, and we arrive at a national total of just 650 hate crimes directed against Asians (out of a population of more than 18 million Asians).

While the media has focused on hate crimes against Asians, what’s more relevant is how often Asians are victim to a violent crime, and who is responsible for that crime. According to the FBI, Asians experience the lowest rate of violent crime at just 7.5 incidents per 1000 Asian people, or 2.3% of all violent crimes. In contrast, black people experience 18.7 incidents per 1000 black people, white people 21, and Hispanic people 21.3. Asians are the least likely racial group to experience violent crime in this country.

Who commits these violent crimes against Asians? If you listened to the media, you would think it is white people and the problem is “white supremacy.” If you look at the statistics, however, this narrative is clearly false. Whites were the offenders 29.6% of the time, followed by blacks at 18.9%, other Asians at 17.5%, and Hispanics at 9.7%.[2] While whites make up the largest block of violent offenders against Asians (29.6%), they are severely underrepresented compared to their population size (76%). The same is true of Hispanics (18% of the population vs. 9.7% of the offenders). However, both blacks and Asians are overrepresented compared to their population size. While blacks only constitute 13.4% of the population, they account for 18.9% of Asian victimization. While Asians only constitute 5.6% of the population, they account for 17.5% of Asian victimization. As a percentage of the population, Asians are most likely to be victimized by other Asians, followed by blacks, then Hispanics, and finally whites. Whites are the least likely to victimize an Asian.

Does any of this justify anti-Asian violence? Absolutely not. I oppose all violence against any race by any race. One instance is too many. What this does demonstrate is that the media narrative is false (and harmful). Asians have little to fear in the way of violence, and they surely don’t have any reason to fear white people. What we need on this issue is perspective, not hysteria.


[1]The total population of these cities is 28,828,767, which represents 8.8% of the total U.S. population.

[2]From the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 2017, reporting on violent victimizations for the period of 2012-2015 (, table 1). Violent victimizations include “rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.”

There was no category exclusively for Asians, so the “Asian” figures also include American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander. The statistics do not add up to 100% because there are also categories for single offenders of mixed race (3.6%), multiple offenders of various races (6.1%), and unknown race (14.5%).