What Country Executes the Most People?

China is the country that executes the most people—approximately 3,000 out of the total 3,682 executions worldwide were performed in China, according to 2012 statistics. Only 21 countries, or approximately 10% of the countries in the world, utilize capital punishment. The United States is the only country in the Americas to have performed executions in 2012. It is also the only Western country in the top five countries with the highest execution rates, after China, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. However, capital punishment is only legal in 32 states and execution rates vary significantly by state. For example, in 2012, Texas executed 15 people, followed by Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arizona, with six executions each.

More about executions:

  • The first execution on historical record dates back to the 16th century BC in Egypt when a member of nobility was charged with the crime of performing magic and sentenced to take his own life as punishment.

  • Up until the 1700s in Britain, over 222 different crimes were punishable by execution, including cutting down trees and counterfeiting stamps.

  • 111 countries, over half of the world’s countries, voted in favor of a 2012 United Nations resolution to abolish the use of executions.

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