One of the most prominent false narratives about Black homicides is that “Blacks mostly only kill other Blacks, so it is an intracommunity issue and not the concern of White people.” We recently debunked this false narrative with our reports about large numbers of Black-on-White homicides in North Dakota and Arkansas.
Another popular false narrative claims, “homicide rates increase with urbanization, and Black homicide rates are high because Blacks tend to live in the most densely populated areas.”
Today we will dispel the false narrative that urbanization causes high Black homicide rates. South Carolina has lots of small towns and villages that are majority Black. Many of these towns have homicide rates comparable to Chicago or even higher.
There are entire counties in South Carolina that are extremely rural, yet they still have very high Black homicide rates.
We calculated the homicide rates of South Carolina’s 46 counties using an average of three years. This is because, when you are dealing with low populations, it is easy to have a spike. A county of 15k people could have a record homicide rate one year and zero homicides the next. We listed the 46 countries below based on the Black percentage of the population. It is easy to see that race is a far more significant factor in homicide rates than population density and urbanization.
The biggest outlier on the list in McCormick, but that is only because of the uneven distribution of the homicides from year to year due to having such a low population. Between 2018 and 2020, the annual reports only list one homicide. However, the 2017 report lists three homicides. This would give McCormick a homicide rate of 10.2 per 100k from 2017-2020 vs. the 3.42 shown for 2018-2020. There is also data missing. In 2016 and 2015, the county reported zero homicides, yet at least one did occur in 2015. Two Black males murdered a 77-year-old shopkeeper in 2015.
Source: The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division publishes an annual list of homicides by county.
Notes: The 2018 annual report lists 393 homicides state-wide. This increases to 408 in the 2019 report. However, there is no updated county list. In 2019 annual report lists 441 homicides. This was updated to 452 in 2020, but there is no updated county list. Also, Edgefield is listed as having zero homicides each year. We looked at reports from many previous years, and Edgefield is always listed as zero. We can confirm that murders are occurring in this county that do not appear in the reports. For example, a White couple was murdered by a Black male in 2016.
It could be that Edgefield is submitting its homicide data too late to be included in the county homicide lists. Each year, the number of homicides for the previous year is always updated to a higher number.
According to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, 71.1% of homicide victims were Black, while 75.8% of known offenders were Black in 2020.
Download *.pdf file of data
Download *.ods spreadsheet file
|County||Population||Black %||2018 Murders||2019 Murders||2020 Murders||Ave. per 100k|
- From 2014-2020, the homicide rate of McCormick County was 23.4 per 100k
Chicago Homicides according to Chicago Sun-Times:
2018: 20.3 per 100k
2019: 18.7 per 100k
2020: 28.2 per 100k
Ave.: 22.4 (Seven rural South Carolina counties had a higher average during the same time period)