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Most people who become preppers start prepping right where they are. There’s nothing wrong with that, as it is always better to be prepared than not be prepared. But that doesn’t mean we have to stay in the same place the rest of our lives. Sometimes life sends us an unexpected blessing, where we get to make some choices that we hadn’t expected to make. One of the best of those is getting to choose where we live.
For most people, the decision of where to live is either based on their personal economics or where friends and family can be found. Although some people choose to live elsewhere, just because they like that place, that’s really not the norm. Yet for those of us who are preparing to survive disasters, there are definitely other criteria that apply. Our choice should be based upon where our families can best survive.
But just where is that?
There are a number of different ways that we can look at this question, so there’s really no one right answer. What might be the best answer for one person, may not work for another. While there are many general survival needs which apply to us all, there are also needs which are specific to a person or family. So our answers to such important questions will be varied as well.
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City or Country?
The first question we could ask is whether to live in the city or the country. Actually, this question breaks down farther than this, as it can include inner city, suburbs, rural communities, or out in remote areas. If we go with the idea that bugging in is better than bugging out, then this question boils down to which one of those areas is going to provide the best possibility for survival. But that can depend on the situation, as what works in one situation won’t work in another.
If any “aid” comes from the government, it will go to the major populations first. But those will be the places that are in the worst conditions, where the ratio of people to resources will be the worst and where gang activity is likely to be most severe. If things break down to the point where warlords have taken over, they will take over cities, not remote wilderness areas.
The suburbs are better than the city, and rural communities are better than the suburbs. The farther we move from the city center, the less probability of violence and the greater the potential for people to be working together. There will also probably be a better ratio of people to resources, although the fantasy that rural communities will be sitting on mountains of food is just that… a fantasy.
Going the other way, leaving rural communities behind and going into the wilderness has its own problems. To start with, living off the land is not easy. You are dependent upon yourself or your group for everything you need. That might work for a while; but what happens when something breaks and you need to find another one?
Another problem with living in isolation is the question of who your children will marry, when they come to that point in their lives. Are you only concerned with your own survival or that of the human race? At some point, your children will need others, even if you don’t. Unless you want them to abandon you to find those people, you must be close to where others are.
Climate and Geography
One of the more important factors in survival is climate. Whether you’re up in the north where you have a lot of cold weather to deal with, or in southern California, where you’re likely to have drought, is a critical factor for your survival. Ideally you want a moderate climate, where you have all four seasons and none of them is likely to be very severe.
Really it’s all about resources. Both climate and geography are going to affect your ability to either grow or harvest the resources you need from nature. Finding a place that will provide those resources is probably the hardest part of the equation. You obviously need water, food, shelter, and firewood. But you also need things like salt and good soil for growing your own vegetables.
There is no perfect answer for this one, merely a series of tradeoffs. The type of food you eat, for example, will depend on where you live. If you are surviving along the coastline, it will make more sense to go fishing for food than hunting. You might also have to use distillation to make seawater safe to drink, whereas someone in the mountains would be more concerned about filtering the water.
Politics and Population
One of the big concerns in the prepping community is the risk of the federal government becoming more and more authoritarian. Whether you’re on the left or the right, you have to admit that blue states generally have more restrictions. All you have to do is take a look at what happened during the pandemic.
If you want to be free to grow your own food, collect rainwater, raise animals, use firearms, and do whatever else you need to survive, you’re more likely to be left alone in a red state than in a blue state. That’s not a political opinion; it’s a simple fact.
Also remember that things like lockdowns, martial law, and other drastic measures are much more likely to occur in major population centers, rather than in rural communities. That’s just one more reason to avoid living in the city.
Let’s Throw a Few Statistics in Here
While it may not seem like it, there are actually some statistical things that make a difference in making a state good for surviving in. Ideally, we want states that rank highly in all of these areas.
Low Population Density
The following states have the lowest population density (from least dense to most dense):
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
The lower the population density, the less competition for resources; as well as the less likelihood that the government will be overbearing and controlling.
Greatest Agricultural Production
While it may be difficult to live off the land, states with the most agricultural production are most likely to have food that can be scavenged. Whether or not you scavenge is a moral issue that I’ll leave for another day; but it is something worth considering.
The best states for this are: California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and North Carolina.
Finding water can be a problem in some parts of the country. It does you no good to live in a place where there is a low population and a lot of food, if you’re going to die of dehydration.
The states with the most water are: Alaska, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Louisiana, California, New York, Texas, Minnesota, and North Carolina.
Putting it All Together
Clearly, there are a lot of factors to consider when looking for the ideal place to survive. There are probably areas within each of the 50 states which would be great for a survival retreat, just as there will be places in each state which are horrible for survival. Nevertheless, looking over the things I’ve mentioned above, it seems at least somewhat clear that there are some states which would be better to live in than others.
From what I see, I’d say the best states to survive in are:
- North and South Dakota
Several of those states are rather far north, making for a short growing season, but the pros outweigh that con.
If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. Remember, everyone has their own needs, their own skill base, and their own criteria. I’m going for a general answer to the question here, which is all but impossible for so complex a question.
One of the things any of us will have to do, regardless of where we chose to live and survive, is overcome whatever obstacles that location gives us. Living along the Gulf Coast means being prepared for hurricanes and living in the far north means figuring out how to grow enough food in the short growing season. One solution for that is an underground greenhouse, using geothermal heating to keep the greenhouse from freezing.
Whatever you do, avoid waiting until it is too late to move to your ideal survival location. If that’s not going to be possible, the next best thing is to figure out how to make the location you are in as ideal a survival location as possible. That might mean building a big enough still that you can desalinate seawater, or it might mean that underground greenhouse I just mentioned.
Either way, make sure it goes high up on your project list, rather than just hoping to move and not need it.
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