Executions Overview

Executions by Race and Race of Victim

In 82% of the stud­ies [reviewed], race of the vic­tim was found to influ­ence the like­li­hood of being charged with cap­i­tal mur­der or receiv­ing the death penal­ty, i.e., those who mur­dered whites were found more like­ly to be sen­tenced to death than those who mur­dered blacks.”

– United States General Accounting Office, Death Penalty Sentencing, February 1990

Race of Defendants Executed in the U.S. Since 1976

RaceNumberPercentage
Black51534.1%
Latino1288.5%
White84255.8%
Other251.7%

NOTE: The federal government counts some categories, such as Hispanics, as an ethnic group rather than a race. DPIC refers to all groups as races because the sources for much of our information use these categories.

Race of Victims Since 1976

RaceNumberPercentage
Black33515.4%
Latino1537.0%
White164875.5%
Other462.1%

NOTE: Number of Victims refers to the victims in the underlying murder in cases where an execution has occurred since the restoration of the death penalty in 1976. There are more victims than executions because some cases involve more than one victim.

Race of Victim Figures up to 4/1/2019 from NAACP-LDF “Death Row USA (April 1, 2019)” in addition to DPIC data.

Persons Executed for Interracial Murders in the U.S. Since 1976

The cases represented here are cases of one defendant executed for the murder of one or more victims of one race. Cases involving multiple victims of several different races are not included here.

White Defendant / Black Victim (21)

Black Defendant / White Victim (291)