It’s happened. It’s 28 Days Later, Night of the Living Dead, and The Walking Dead. Take your pick of any one of the other countless zombie apocalypse movies as your reference point, but let’s say it’s happened and now you need to find the safest states in a zombie apocalypse to migrate to.
There are, of course, studies on this topic, but they’re flawed. We’re going to look at why they’re flawed and then I’m going to go into the details of my own study on this topic and go through the results that I find.
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have an understanding of my logic and I’d appreciate it if you left a comment letting me know where your state ranked in my analysis and what – if any – criteria you think I should have included that I left out.
Alternatively, if you’d rather watch than read, see my latest YouTube video on this very subject.
Could a zombie apocalypse really happen? It’s a reasonable question, but it’s a question that has different meanings depending on who’s posing the question. Fans of zombie fiction post the question as a make believe, hypothetical imagination of a post-collapse world. Preppers, on the other hand, they often speak of the “zombie apocalypse” as a means to describe any type of situation where the collapse happens and everyone is fighting each other for survival. It’s a safer way to describe what might one day come.
When people talk about the safest states in a zombie apocalypse, they’re often using criteria for the former, reanimated humans. The undead. That said, what makes one state safer in a zombie apocalypse also makes a state safer in a more real world collapse situation.
Google “best states for a zombie apocalypse” and you’ll get a few results, most of which reference each other. There are a few problems with their analyses. For starters, they’re not studies performed by real preppers, so they just throw criteria at the “study” without really thinking it through.
The reason that they even do these “studies” is because their articles are what’s called link magnets. Link magnets are articles that they hope other sites will link to. When that happens, it gives Google algorithm credibility to the site, making their sites rank higher in search results. And for them, it works. Unfortunately, they’re not reliable sources on this subject – at all.
One of those “studies” is from the website Cable TV. Think about it, do you want to get your zombie apocalypse advice from CableTV.com?
You only need to look at their results to find out why their “study” is so flawed. Any prepper knows, California is about the WORST state in the nation to be in if you want to survive the apocalypse. If anything, the apocalypse will probably START in California.
Among the other worst states on their list include Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Look, if you’re going to call my home state of Maine out for anything, you’d better know what you’re talking about. California is a safer state to be in than Maine during a zombie apocalypse? Pfffft!
What exactly is their logic based on?
To find out where the best place to survive a zombie apocalypse was, we looked at the population density in each state, the gross receipts of farms per capita, and the state’s electricity percentage from solar.
I can get behind using population density as a metric, but there are problems with using gross receipts of farms per capita and the state’s use of solar power. The problem with using gross receipts of farms per capita, and that’s probably a big reason why they listed North Dakota as the safest, is because this favors massive farming states where gigantic, industrial scale farms plant single-season crops of one, maybe two types, and rely on RoundUp or other pesticides and commercial fertilizers to make the crops grow.
What happens when the season’s seeds don’t get delivered? What happens when RoundUp doesn’t roll out?
Give these farms one season without being resupplied with seeds and chemicals and the farms are done. No new seeds to plant. No fertilizer to spread. No fuel to run their massive farm equipment. No pesticides to kill insects. There are not nearly enough people in these states to farm those same lands by hand even if they could. They might be able to process enough food for themselves, but so will people in other states. Being in a large-scale farmland state doesn’t offer you an inherent advantage over some other state OTHER THAN that you have low population density, which we’ll account for separately.
Similarly, what does it matter if a state gets a lot of its power from solar? For a zombie apocalypse, it doesn’t matter at all. The entire grid is going to go down. Replacement parts, skilled workers, that grid isn’t going to come back up for a long time, it doesn’t matter the source. And if energy resources did matter, better to favor states that have coal resources like Wyoming, West Virginia, or Pennsylvania. Or maybe the most-forested states, like Vermont, New Hampshire, and the most forested state of all – Maine!
Another one of the top results is from a site called Lawn Love whose “study” covers the best cities in a zombie apocalypse. Because nothing screams zombie survival expertise like a lawn care business…
Granted, this list is on the best cities for surviving a zombie apocalypse, but look at the results. Number one is Orlando, Florida? Seriously!? There are 2700 people per square mile in Orlando. Their criteria include the number of supermarkets per 100,000 residents – note: this doesn’t account for the many thousands of TOURISTS that would be trapped around all the Disney resorts.
The Lawn Love study’s criteria includes the number of homes with basements, kitchens with plumbing, the number of hospitals, etc. If there’s anything Night of the Living Dead taught is it’s DON’T go into the basement in a zombie apocalypse! Also, hospitals will be the WORST places to be in a zombie apocalypse. That’s where people will go once infected.
As I said, these studies are FLAWED.
Miami, by the way, they rank as the 8th safest city, ahead of Boise, Idaho. I don’t know about you, but if I’m given a chance to survive the zombie apocalypse and I can choose between Miami and Boise… it wouldn’t be Miami.
Safest States in a Zombie Apocalypse – My Results
Given the poor logic I’ve found in other studies, I set out to conduct my own analysis. Not everything the other studies used was flawed, and I salvaged some aspects of those studies while tossing other criteria aside.
So, this begs the question, what criteria should be used in determining the safest states to ride out a zombie apocalypse.
Certainly, population density should be near the top. The fewer people there are, the fewer zombies there are. Simple. This alone isn’t enough, because if we look just at that, Alaska wins by a landslide, but you want a balance. Trying to eke out post-collapse life by yourself in the Alaskan outback… good luck with that. Too many people means too many zombies, but too few people means too few resources and partnerships for survival.
Many studies on this topic also reference gun ownership as a determining factor. This is a good factor to consider. It doesn’t account for ammunition per capita – assuming that can be measured – but it’s probably safe to assume that the more guns a state has the more ammo it has. Ammo will only last so long in a zombie apocalypse, however. Then it comes down to citizens’ ability to FIGHT.
Residents’ health should also be considered. The more fit the citizens are, the faster they can run, and the longer they can fight.
Access to Water
Food is an important factor, so we could look at the length of the growing season, and that would favor states in the south, but don’t underestimate the power of winter in a zombie apocalypse. Yes, it will be cold, but have you ever seen a zombie try to move in knee-deep snow? Winter would be the perfect time to walk the landscape in snowshoes and drive a spear tip into the head of the undead. For that reason, I’m going to value longer summer and longer winter equally and discard growing season as a factor.
What’s more important than the availability of food is the availability of potable water. Nevada is the 9th least densely populated state, but what happens after the grid fails the tap water goes off, and you’re left searching for fresh water to drink in Nevada. Good luck with that.
So, let’s see what we get when we run these four factors:
- Population density
- Household firearm ownership rates
- Population health
- Water resources
I weigh them all equally.
Here I entered all 50 states and where they rank under each category. You can see the sources for my numbers here.
The lower the number the higher the rank, so if I total a state’s rank in each category and divide by four, I then have the state’s overall rank.
I sort the total score column from low to high and then we have the results!
Safest states in a zombie apocalypse:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Alaska, despite my comments about how its remoteness can be a detriment, comes out as the safest state in a zombie apocalypse with a score of 10.5. Its health score was its worst score, but high rankings in population density, gun ownership and water availability compensated for it.
North Dakota, similar to the other study, tied with Vermont for the 2nd and 3rd spots, each with a score of 15. North Dakota was better in population density, but Vermont residents are much healthier, the healthiest in the nation.
The fourth safest state, with a score of 16.5, is Utah where the health of its residents helped push it into the top 10.
Idaho and Wyoming tie for the fifth and sixth spots with a score of 16.75. Wyoming is very rural with many gun owners. Idaho came out a bit ahead with water and health.
The seventh and eighth spots are a tie between Maine and Montana, each with a score of 17.25. Maine was rather well-balanced across all four categories. Montana did well in population density and gun ownership.
Ninth place, with a score of 19, goes to South Dakota. Again, low population density and high gun ownership rates pushed it up the safest state list.
Rounding out the top ten is Minnesota, with a score of 19.75. Average ratings in most categories except for health, where it ranks seventh in the nation.
|Safest States||Population Density||Gun Ownership||Health Rank||Water Resources||State Score|
Sources of data:
The absolute worst states to survive a zombie apocalypse using this methodology goes to Indiana. Sorry, hoosiers, you’re all gonna die. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, and yes, even Florida, you are all in tough shape as well.
Is the criteria I used to rank the states ideal? I don’t know, but I think it’s better than what some other states did. There would be exceptions in every state, of course. Southern California is going to be worse off than Northern California, for example. Rural Pennsylvania will fare better than the Philadelphia area.
Those are my thoughts. Sorry if your state didn’t rank as highly as you may have liked, but hey – not everyone can survive the zombie apocalypse. In fact, most won’t.
Stay safe out there.