ku_klux_klan_salute.jpgMONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ The Southern Poverty Law Center says the number of hate groups in the U.S. has increased to the highest level it's ever reported.

Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, says hate groups, which include Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi and skinhead groups, rose to 1,002 in 2010. He says that's a 7.5 percent increase from the previous year.

In Alabama last year the number of hate groups was 33, an increase of one from 2009.

The center has counted and tracked hate and extremist groups since the 1980s.