Discover The Most Racist City in Pennsylvania
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Discover The Most Racist City in Pennsylvania

Although Pennsylvania is proud of its varied culture and long history, the state has also struggled with prejudice and racism. The analytical website RoadSnacks has conducted a study that found the 164-person town of Refton in Lancaster County to be the most racist municipality in Pennsylvania.

Racism in Pennsylvania: A Historical Overview

Racism in Pennsylvania has deep historical roots, reaching all the way back to the time of legal slavery in the colonies. During the Civil War and the abolitionist struggle, the state was instrumental. The racial riots in 1842 in Philadelphia and the riots in 1964 in Chester, among other places, marred its otherwise illustrious past. There is also evidence of the influence of white nationalist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nations, and the American Nazi Party.

The western and central parts of Pennsylvania had the highest frequencies of racist Google searches, according to a 2013 research. Pennsylvania placed twelfth nationally.

Research Approach

The research team used VCU data that mapped the locations of Klaverns, or local KKK chapters, from 1915 to 1940 to compile their findings. The study proceeded to divide the number of Klaverns by the current population of each city in order to obtain the ratio of historic KKK presence per capita.

The research found 144 Klaverns in 101 different places across Pennsylvania. At 18, Philadelphia was well ahead of Pittsburgh, which came in second with 10. Refton has the highest ratio of Klaverns per capita after adjusting for population size, with 0.0061, or one Klavern for every 164 people.

Opportunities and Obstacles in Combating Racism in Pennsylvania

It will take the combined efforts of Pennsylvania’s elected officials, community leaders, activists, teachers, news outlets, and regular people to end racism in the Keystone State. Difficulties arise from factors such as inaccurate data, entrenched racial prejudices, opposition to anti-racism initiatives, and structural impediments.

The growing diversity of the state’s population, grassroots groups like BLM, and legislation aimed at eliminating racial inequality all present opportunities for transformation. The development of cultural competency and awareness is another goal of training and education programs.

Racial Discrimination in Pennsylvania Right Now

There is still a lot of racism in Pennsylvania, and it shows up in all sorts of places like schools, hospitals, workplaces, and even politics. When it came to racial equality, Pennsylvania scored forty-first out of fifty states in the 2019 State of Black America report. Ancestry, race, and ethnicity were the most common targets of the 345 hate crimes recorded in 2018, a 48% increase from the previous year.

The assassinations of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd sparked a rise of anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests. Many people took to the streets in Pennsylvanian cities like York, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh to demand change and justice.


Racism is a problem in Pennsylvania and the United States generally, impacting individuals of various walks of life, although Refton has been named the state’s most racist municipality. We can all do our part to build a more just and inclusive society by acknowledging the existence of racism and working together to combat it.

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