This Chart of Every Execution in US History Shows How Capital Punishment Has Changed

Time Magazine has put together an eye-popping chart showing every execution performed in the United States since 1770, and how each deed was done.

The interactive chart, which can be found here, was compiled by Chris Wilson with help from Emily Maltby and Lon Tweeten. When browsing the chart, mouseover actions call up the figures for a particular year, and include a breakdown of execution type.


As the chart shows, there have been 15,760 executions since 1700. Methods of execution include everything from burning (65) and firing squad (13), through to electrocution (4,439) and lethal injection (1,248). Hangings lead the way at 9,183 executions.

The first half of the 20th century was witness to a staggering number of executions, most of them by hanging and electrocution. The dramatic gap between 1967 and 1977 was on account of the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend the practice, but a later ruling brought it back. And as the final chunk of the diagram shows, lethal injections are the primary method used today, despite the controversy that surrounds it.

Data up until 1976 was pulled from research conducted by M. Watt Espy and John Ortiz Smykla, while anything after that came from the Death Penalty Information Center.


Read the entire article at TIME.

Email the author at and follow him at @dvorsky. Top image by TIME

Share This Story

Get our newsletter