The Clustering of the Death PenaltyINTRODUCTION
Although the death penalty continues to exist in 32 states, it is actually carried out by only a small percentage of jurisdictions. For example, in 2012 only 9 states carried out an execution. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 through to April 2013, almost 82% of the executions have been in the South. Even within a state, the death penalty is usually only practiced in a handful of counties, though the expense is often shared by all taxpayers.
The Death Penalty Information Center has analyzed the use of the death penalty on a county basis, examining:
A. Executions By County
B. Death Row Inmates By County
C. Recent Death Sentences By County
The charts on this and related pages illustrate the geographical disparities in the use of the death penalty.
Total Number of Counties in the U.S. = 3,148 (source: U.S. Census Bureau)
Execution numbers accurate as of Jan. 1, 2013
These 15 counties accounted for 30% of the executions in the U.S. since 1976. They represent less than 1% of the total number of counties in the country, and less than 1% of the total number of counties in states with the death penalty.