Population density and survival retreat location are inversely proportional. That is, most survival retreat locations will tend to be located in low population density areas.
A survival retreat, whether you live there full time or as a 2nd ‘home’ or BOL, is a location outside and away from the main stream population for refuge, safety, privacy, shelter, a place of freedom and protection from danger or damage, possibly being concealed or hidden, and/or a place where you simply enjoy being while feeling secure, safe, and calm.
No doubt there are a variety of interpretations and definitions of a survival retreat, and its purpose.
Some will lean towards the safety aspect of a remote survival retreat location while taking comfort in being away from mass population density in the event of a major disruption. Others will prefer the idea of privacy or solitude of being unseen, or not being bothered by neighbors. There are many and various personal reasons for desiring a retreat location, and preppers today are exploring the possibility more and more.
Some people are already living year round in a location that many would consider a “survival retreat”, while others may have a retreat location that is only used occasionally, while still others only dream about having their own.
While determining an ideal location for a survival retreat, a very big concern will be the surrounding population density, which will ideally be low, and some distance away from any large population center.
There are obvious practical considerations while determining the remoteness of a survival retreat. The further away, the more self-sufficient you must be, year round. You need to keep in mind the products and services that you will need, those which you cannot provide yourself. Most of us cannot survive on our own without the help or services from others. If someone lived fifty or a hundred miles away from the nearest town, that someone would have to be pretty self-sufficient and adept at making it on their own, for example. On the other hand if that someone is living 5 miles outside a town of 3,000 people, and say 20 miles from a town of 15,000 people, they will have fairly convenient access to services they may need while still being somewhat isolated.
An ideal choice of a nearby town may be one of 5,000 or less. Just enough population to provide the basic services that you will need (you can’t do everything yourself – or at least most of us can’t). There are so many variables, that it really comes down to doing a lot of research in the area, its services, and how they will compliment your own skills and things you will need.
How far should this small town be from a larger population center? For other needs such as quality care, hospitalization, and other professional services? Determining that ideal distance, is an interesting exercise in itself. In a worst case societal meltdown scenario, how far will the ‘reach’ be of the roving zombie hordes – at what point during a horde trek will the supplies diminish and thin out such that it is mostly stopped? What is a safe distance?
The following population density maps may help get you started.
Population Density Maps
For those looking for an ideal retreat location in the USA, I have come across several population density maps that may be useful, and if nothing else, interesting to look at.
USA population density map – 3D view
USA population density per square mile
USA population density map – flat view
Urban population density of North America
Based upon satellite measurements of city lights, this image is a map of the urban population density of North America. Most major cities are in level areas along an ocean, bay, large lake, or navigable river. I find it interesting to look at the image until you visualize the light gray areas rising up higher in elevation, and then observe how most everyone lives at very low elevations (dark areas).
World population density map