August 17, 2022
The Mountain State
Homicides were up by nearly 30% in the United States in 2020, the largest single-year increase on record. The surge in deadly violence capped a decade in which the national murder rate was already trending upward.
The historic spike in murders in 2020 came during a tumultuous year in American history. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and surging unemployment, gun sales spiked, and the murder of George Floyd rattled confidence in law enforcement and sparked nationwide protests.
Over the 10-year period from 2011 to 2020, the number of murders reported in the U.S. climbed by 47%. Now, the national murder rate is the highest it has been since 1997.
All but six states reported an increase in homicides over the past decade. According to FBI data, the number of murders reported in West Virginia climbed from 87 in 2011 to 117 in 2020. The 34.5% increase ranks as the 32nd largest among the 44 states that reported an uptick in murders.
Currently, the murder rate in West Virginia is in line with the national average. There were 6.6 murders for every 100,000 people in the state in 2020, compared to the national homicide rate of 6.5 per 100,000.
All data in this article is from the FBI's 2011 and 2020 Uniform Crime Report.