Best Place To Live with a Survival Context


Recently having received an email from a Reader who asked for an opinion of where is the best place to live from the standpoint of survival interests and preparedness, here are a few considerations… (this pertains to the US)

The criteria from the Reader are as follows:

-Well developed agriculture for plant based diet
-Well developed infrastructure
-Interest in clean energy
-Friendly people
-Predators/Poisonous life forms
-Fresh waters
-Pollution/Susceptibility to Pollution via atmospheric/ocean currents
-Seismic activity

Ken adds:
Tax burden

Nuclear power plant locations

Population density

Water sources

OK, lets look at these one at a time…

Well developed agriculture for plant based diet
From a survivalist or self-sufficiency standpoint, this would be somewhat related to the ability to grow some of your own food, and therefore is hinged to the climate of the region, length of the growing season, as well as the general soil condition (e.g. deserts won’t work well). The further south, the longer the growing season. Having said that, northerners do just fine so long as they plan well and begin some crops indoors or in a greenhouse environment. Parts of the northwest are very favorable for agriculture – growing season – climate – adequate rainfall, such as Oregon and Washington state.

Well developed infrastructure
Personally, I would not choose to live in ‘the city’. One reason is because I’m just not a city-dweller type person. Second, a city depends too much upon infrastructure (it has to) for my own comfort zone should disaster strike. For example, a major power outage could bring social chaos in a short period of time. However, a good benefit of living near enough to a city are the services rendered – such as better health care – hospitals if needed, and much more. I believe that a good ‘safe’ distance from any major city is ideal, say, an hour drive. Some fear the Golden Horde – zombies exiting the cities during disaster, and will prefer to live further away.

Interest in clean energy
Utilization of clean energy can be executed almost anywhere. Solar energy is more efficient the closer to the equator – the further south, the more effective sunlight. Southwestern states are ideal due to less cloud cover during the year and abundant sunshine – however these regions are often desert areas. No matter where you live (except perhaps in some neighborhood developments or zones where rules prohibit it), solar photovoltaic panels, solar hot water systems, and wind power can be utilized. I believe that ‘interest’ in clean energy is growing nationwide.

Friendly people
This is subjective to some degree. ‘The south’ has a general reputation for having a friendly attitude. Having traveled quite a lot during a previous career, I agree with that. ‘The west’ compared to ‘the east’ is of a friendlier demeanor. I’ve lived on both coasts and know this to be true. Also, generally, the more remote you are, the more the community will be tightly-knit, that is, if you move into a countryside community, it may take longer to ‘be accepted’. So long as you yourself are not an ass, I suppose this won’t be an issue in most cases.

If you are looking for freedom and liberty, stay away from the cities and high population dense regions of the country – where rules and regulations always abound. Perhaps New Hampshire with their motto, ‘Live Free or Die’, may suit you. Freedom loving regions that stand out, no doubt include areas like Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, perhaps eastern Oregon or eastern Washington. However there are plenty of other regions with little restrictions on freedom and liberty. One way to determine this is to examine gun laws of each state, which are often directly proportional to the level of freedom and personal liberty there.

Living along the seacoast at sea-level presents risks from flooding of hurricanes or tsunamis. Living at high altitude will reduce the length of the growing season due to a colder climate. Many entire states are at a very high altitude – up and down the Rocky Mountains for example. Having spent some time exploring the Sierra Nevada mountain range, I personally enjoy altitude climates there at approximately 1,500 – 2,000 feet (‘the foothills’). It’s different in other parts of the country though because overall weather patterns vary. The short opinion though, avoid sea level or living immediately along the coast (save that for vacations). Be aware of the growing season effectiveness at your geographical location and altitude.

Climate is immensely important. Some people will not be able to ‘happily’ deal with certain types of weather and climate conditions. Too Hot – Too Cold – Too Humid – Too Wet – Too Dry – Too many Mosquitoes! – etc… It is important though that the natural rainfall is adequate to sustain a summer garden. This rules out some of the west and much of the southwest which rely upon reservoirs for their summer water. The northwest is abundant with rain (especially coastal), however I personally would become too gloomy due to the excessive number of rainy days (everyone’s different though). I do enjoy climates with four seasons, so long as the winter is not too long. Whatever suits your desire is probably OK, provided you don’t risk living in a dry desert region that depends solely upon infrastructure to provide your water needs during the summer months. Be aware of micro-climates, which can be very different from the regional climate! Do your research.

Predators/Poisonous life forms
The west and northwest have bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and poisonous spiders. Although there are deaths each year, provided you take common-sense precautions, you will likely be just fine. I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider and lived to tell about it for example… I’m certain that there are some black widows around my wood pile, and I’ve encountered bears while in the Trinity Wilderness area of northern CA. The key is knowing your region and dangers, and knowing how to be cautious about it. Parts of the south have alligators. I would personally rather deal with poisonous spiders and the slight risk of running across a bear than an alligator – but that’s just me… Everyone has their phobias. The least likely regions for dangerous predators compared to other regions, will probably be the central and northeastern US.

Fresh waters
Very important. Fresh, clean water is the single most important ingredient to survival. You will find more of this in the mountainous regions. Obviously the southwest US and desert region is a no-go in this category. Best areas – northwest, southeast, northeast, and some northern states. Be aware of the current drought conditions in parts of the south and central US. A property with a natural and year-round stream is ideal. Alongside a pond or lake is great. Known ‘good’ well water in the area is good. Adequate rainfall and perhaps a rainwater collection system will fit your needs.

Pollution/Susceptibility to Pollution via atmospheric/ocean currents
Pollution will be concentrated at lower altitudes and where the most people live. Be aware of what is ‘upstream’ from your location, both by way of air currents and water flow. All regions have prevailing wind directions. In the west, the winds and storms come from the Pacific – sometimes from the southwest and usually from the northwest – meaning that the air will be relatively ‘clean’ coming from an ocean expanse. The jet stream generally blows from west to east across the country. The northeast usually has prevailing wind patterns from the west or northwest (from upstate NY or Canada) – but sometimes from the northeast (ocean) . The point is, discover the weather pattern and prevailing wind pattern, and you will know what’s heading your way by looking upstream. To avoid pollution, stay away from the cities and major transportation corridors.

Seismic activity
The worst place in this category is up and down the California coast. There is also a fairly high risk along the coastal northwest. The New Madrid fault zone is another frightful area, although no one knows when this one will rip again, if ever again. Truly, there are earthquake risks almost anywhere, although well known fault zones are the places to stay away from.

In conclusion
It’s often easier to find reasons NOT to live somewhere. I do believe that there really is no perfect or best place to live. It comes down to what you can live with, and what your own priorities are. Everyone values risks and priorities differently, and these are often offset by other factors that may be important to you. The process I would use to find a best place to live, would be to analyze first (using the internet to discover statistics, etc.), then choose several possible areas of interest and go and visit them. Often times ‘you will know it’ when it’s right. It will just feel right to you. Trust your instincts.

Very generally speaking, in the context of survival risks, in all cases avoid city centers and very high populous regions. Consider parts of the northwest US, or parts of the south – how about northwest Arkansas for example (I’ve looked closely at this one – low taxes, good geography, etc. but not sure about the summer heat and humidity though).

The best place to live is very difficult to identify from one person’s point of view because of the wide range of factors under consideration, that differ for everyone. A hard core survivalist may choose northwestern Montana, say in a small town like ‘Plains’ (just an example – never been there) within an hour drive of Missoula for important services. A moderate survivalist may choose a place within an hour drive of Fort Smith – Arkansas or perhaps within the region of Hot Springs (so long as you’re not up against Little Rock). There are all sorts of smart choices around the country that could be made. The key is to think about all the aspects, prioritize, and then go visit them!

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  1. This assumes you are free to move. Your job, your spouse’s job, the quality of schools, distance from elderly parents . . .

    In the end, you may have to settle for _where_ it is practical to live, and then maneuver yourself into the best home situation for that region. I’d druther live further from Houston because of pollution and the large urban population. But I also don’t want my husband to face an hour long commute, twice a day. We compromised with a mini-ranch thirty minutes from his office. Less land than I want, but in a workday regional or national emergency, he could walk home in less than a day without passing through any high crime areas.

    1. Exactly… It’s all a compromise between many things. It’s never the same for any two people. Regarding ‘free to move’, I do understand the reasoning – however, unless in prison, we all really are free to move. It’s a mindset, a series of decisions, and then action.

  2. We are in east Texas and yes it’s hot but we have wonderful A/C and the water tables are very tasty. Look where the water comes from on some of your bottles of water you buy, and a lot of it comes out of the north part of east texas. My ground is not cracked, my well is not dry, I was able to raise some vegies this year too. I probably won’t have more than 8″ of snow EVER. Yes, it’s hot, but we have pleanty where I’m at and we are in the country as well. It’s where I’m supposed to be and I’m grateful and prepared with a lot of like minded people around me. I pray you find your way, in the mess we are in now………….

    1. Hey there in Texas,

      Yes we live in troubled times. I am glad you are happy there. I was just looking for a place to go. Don’t want to be in Missouri anymore. How are the jobs in Texas? I think if we have martial law we will have to ride a horse because I know that they won’t be selling gas unless rationed. I think that th most important place to live is where people are friendly and work together.

    2. Hi Brenda..
      Thank you for your comments. I am thinking about relocating to east texxas. Just not sure where!!
      I would enjoy visiting with you..
      Hope to hear from you..

  3. Thanks for turning me email into this post. I have put some more thought and research into this and I am very interested in the Lake Titicaca. The people there know how to survive with a lot less than we have in North America. Food, shelter, water, and climate are doable there. It has altitude, Year round daytime average high temps are T-shirt weather unless it is windy. Night can be probably -10 at worst in winter. If the crap ever hit the fan on a global scale and I had some random chance to get dropped off there I would turn to a life of hard work and simplicity to survive. Assuming a family would put me up of course. Language barriers though…

    I just really want to see how the next 20 years plays out on earth.

    Someone mentioned the North island of New Zealand and that sounds like something I may check into.

    1. You can’t just ‘move to New Zealand’…Unlike the U.S., they have fairly stringent immigration laws. You can’t stay any longer than 3 months without extensive paperwork & specific visa, which requires that you invest a minimum $600k into their real estate/stock markets & show minimum $48k annual income. (even for retirees)

  4. North Island of New Zealand is HIGHLY volcanic. One of the biggest explosions of the last 5000 years happened at Lake Taupo. Having cycled around the caldera twice, and visiting Egmont National Park, I can definitely tell you north island is sitting on live magma – no matter how quite it seems today. There’s evidence of volcanism nearly anywhere you go. |

    Please don’t think I’m being a Troll here – just speaking from direct experience on the island. It is EXTREMELY beautiful and I would highly recommend visiting at least once. Living there would be great but don’t think it’s without it’s own ‘faults’.

    Additionally, New Zealand has some pretty strict residency requirements; most millionaires wouldn’t be invited for longer than about 6mths. They (government ‘they’) either want super cheap labor, or financial powerhouses living among them. The people are awesome and couldn’t care less about you living there in my experience unless you start to cause trouble.

    I have friends living in Argentina’s interior who would be classified as truly off-grid and absolutely LOVE it there. Might be worth investigating…

  5. The problem with New Zealand or Australia is that is TSHTF and the U.S. is no longer a world power or willing to use their power China is going to annex Australia and New Zealand along with most of the islands in the South Pacific. So if you really thing a SHTF scenerio is real the smart move would be to leave New Zealand the P.I. or Australia. China is hungry for resources and land and they are building up their military for something big. The exact thing that makes many of us think we need a place to survive bad times is what gives China the hope that they will one day soon be able to act with impunity.

    All of those attributes listed are good, cannot argue with the logic. However the same things that attract you will attract everyone else too. Before you move or rush off to other countries consider what you can do right where you are. Most other countries don’t want you and when TSHTF they will want you even less and you will stand out like a sore thumb. Moving to a country or a location you know little about is like selling your old problem car and buying someone else’s old problem car. So don’t be too eager to trade your known problems for unknown problems.

  6. Don’t forget that both the Chinese government and the saudi Arabia government are buying up USA farmland and USA ranchland. There ought to be laws against this-only American citizens can purchase American land. But since they are buying it up, what does tha tell you?
    I’ve been reading several survival sites and they tell you to buy land away from the city-like 40 to 50 miles. And to have a garder and raise livestock. But, the way i figure it is when the SHTF, after all the stores are looted and burned down, the zombies will start traveling futher out. Gasoline may be hard to find, but what if they decide to ride motercycles and dirt bikes? They would could number in the 100’s or 1000’s, depending on how close to a major metropoltian area you live near. Everybody writes stuff like “oh I’d shoot anybody taking my garder plants and chickens.”
    Well, how long could you stand up to 100’s of zombies or desperate, hungry people looking for food and will fight to get it?
    That’s the problem if you have a job and you need to comute to work in the city, 40 or 50 miles away. Some people have moved closer in because of high gasoline prices.
    And it’s getting more expensive to purchase land. While homes have dropped in price, land continues to go up. And, many sports figures, movie stars, millionaires all want a place out in the country. This drives up prices too.
    Have to find a place way out there.

  7. Ha ha, gotto love that New Zealand comment “recent studies New Zealand rated as one of the friendliest countries”… I guess thats why >70% of NZ has emigrated to Australia. The missus who’s from Blenheim says that the North Island is too dangerous due to the Maori boys & gangs that live there. You only have to look at areas on the Gold Coast like Upper ‘Bro Town’ Coomera and the like that’s being destroyed by these gang mined yobbo’s.

    Super nice place to visit New Zealand is! No jobs however because industry, power and fuel is too expensive & they have hardly any natural resources… However did I mention nice place to visit?!?

  8. Here is an interesting Re-Post,

    [moderator edit: full re-posts are not allowed due to copyright infringement risks]
    Excerpts or quotes are Okay though ;)
    Include the source link too. (I believe this one was from Rawles site, Survival Blog)

    Here is the ‘just’ of the post you had intended to share, (and thanks for sharing)

    What is the best place to live in the United States? I get asked that question all the time. My answer can be summed up in two words: it depends. The truth is that the answer is going to be different for each person. All of us have different goals and different needs…

    The following are some thoughts about the best place to live in the United States….


    #1 Utah – Low population density, except in Salt Lake City area. Utah has a below average cost of living and good food production potential, although irrigation is usually required. It has good water quality, average tax rates and low property taxes. It’s crime rate and government corruption levels are moderate, and it’s rated as a very friendly-gun state. Homeschooling in Utah is easy as it has no homeschooling regulations. There are only a few military targets. Overall, there are a lot of areas that are very suitable for survival retreats and numerous small towns that are also good locations. The 50% of Mormon (LDS) population means that more people here are preparedness minded than anywhere else in the country. Survival type products are easy to find, and a lot of LDS resources are open to non-members. (Too much religious control for me)

    #2 Idaho – Idaho offers a low cost of living and low population density. The food production potential is average with irrigation being required in most parts of the state. There is good water quality, low levels of pollution, but higher than average taxes. You’ll find a low crime rate here with very friendly gun laws. Homeschoolers won’t have to deal with any regulations, and overall the state as a very high Personal Liberty rating. Many people here are preparedness minded, the state is more conservative than most, and there are numerous locations for good survival retreats or residential areas suitable for survival-minded families.

    #3 Montana – A classic survivalist state with very low population density. It has a moderate cost of living, excellent water quality, low taxes, and a moderate crime rate. It ranks high in gun liberty and has very low homeschooling regulations. However near Great Falls there is a the largest Minuteman missile base in the country, which makes it a primary target for hundreds of warheads. Stay away from that area and you have a state that rates high in personal freedom and has plenty of room to spread out and explore.

    #4 Washington — As long as you avoid the Seattle area and give it a very wide berth, there’s a lot about the state to make it very survive-able. As a state, it has an average population density and cost of living index. Most of the state has a nice growing season of 150-210 days per year and the water quality is good. It has moderately good gun laws but more homeschooling regulation than many other states. One nice feature is that it has no income tax.

    #5 Colorado – Joel Skousen gives Colorado 4 stars in spite of some significant, primary military targets near Denver and Colorado Springs, and, he claims, “secret” military bases. Outside Denver, there’s a below average population density, average cost of lving in the state, and depending on where you live, you have either a below average growing season or a very nice one with 180 days or so. Colorado offers below average taxes and a low crime rate. Denver has restrictive gun laws but other parts of the state are gun-friendly.

    1. The only thing about all of your states, is that they get cold during the winter. I have lived in the South and the hot climate, and I have also lived in Canada, and I know that if anything happened where we had no power and the I was in survival mode, Canada and the cold is not where i would want to be.

    2. I agree entirely with the States that you mentioned. A number of years ago I had done my own analysis of the lower 48 and came up with Arkansas and Missouri at the top of the list (of my own criteria) – with a slight favor towards northwest Arkansas. Although I do not live there for a number of unrelated reasons, it would be a good place to consider if one is starting from scratch, so to speak.

    3. Make a move to eastern Colorado Great Plains Territory. Conservative people, rich soil, high agricultural production, everyone is armed (even the few liberals) the crime rate is low and we sit on top of the Ogalalla Aquifer. Our communities are tight knit and religious while the land is plentiful and relatively inexpensive.

      Eastern Colorado affords the new resident to choose to live either near or far from a highly populated area. Some counties have less than 10,000 people with 250,000+ head of cattle, food is readily available and easy to grow.

      Bring a decent attitude, common sense, firearms and your tools.

  9. Northwest Arkansas is a good region to choose, first of all the heat isn’t as bad as southern Arkansas and Louisiana, but the humidity is about the same, but if you have ever lived in the South, it can be tolerated. Also the people in the region are known for leaving each other alone due to the meth labs and moonshine manufacturing. Also, the hills allow for coverage, and the ability to make a house on the side of the mountain allowing you to create some sort of fallout shelter inside the mountainside. And
    Arkansas is one of those states that has few to no gun laws.

  10. Are there any Caves or grottos in the USA where you could drive an RV in and survive whatever holocaust we are heading to? can these be purchased? are they on public land or government land?..I survived WWII and can adapt, but europe has more places to go to and hide (back then they had).. any suggestions?

    1. I’ve also been wondering about SHTF places in Europe. My husband is German and we’ve been looking at Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, and Austria. The only problem with Switzerland is they’ve been severely limiting their immigration so it would be hard even for us.

  11. GREAT….GREAT…WEBSITE. HOWEVER, after this news gets out to the hordes, I imagine all safe locations now might be guarded turning away survivors.

    In the foreseeable future. it is going to be really tough. Better relocate now if you’re smart and could afford to.

  12. I own a place in the Peruvian amazon, total isolated surrounded by virgin protected rainforest that is home to incredible wildlife. Opportunities here for true survival, basic to extreme.

    Welcome to come check it out, comfortable lodge with all facilities as base camp. If you are interested in owning land nearby for your own project that can be arranged. Be glad to have a partner with the guts and resources to take it all the way.

    1. My wife’s from Peru, I’ve lived there off and on over the years. We’ll be living there permanently most likely sooner than later. Would be nice to know someone and have your lodge location and contact info as the future unfolds. Curious about the land pricing too.

      Email me your info my friend. Thanks.


  13. Here’s a couple of thoughts from many long discussions about this topic.

    1. Given the long persistant drought, there’s some belief that no matter what, some areas around the Great Lakes might have water when no other areas might not. Not my first choice by any means.

    2. Maine is not densely populated, has abundant wildlife, woods, and one could disappear into it. There are lots of inlets there for sea life of diverse kinds.

    3. There are any number of less densely populated regions in the USA on the Eastern side of the Mississippi River, but these are redneck regions who won’t take kindly to strangers. They are also heavily armed. Many are outside of the routes of the zombie horde zones. Many have excellent meadowland and forests. Many of these places have avoided the Great Drought. A lot of folks trying to get to them might die before reaching their destination.

    4. Look at any recent Drought map, and I think it knocks out a lot of the Western Redoubt section of the country. It’s too arid and life exists there only based upon piped in water. Their aquifers are largely drying up too.

    5. Any states bordering Mexico can expect for fleeing folks to come across in full force and especially in the absence of patroling.

    1. There is definitely apparently a prepper ‘stronghold’ there, and logistically, geographically, and agriculturally, it appears to be one of many good general choices. Over the years I have driven through portions of the state of TN, and have spent several weeks in central-eastern TN. I was impressed with the lay-of-the-land there. I don’t live near there, so cannot offer much personal experience in the region. Perhaps others who read this and know the region – will comment…

      Having said that, there are always pros and cons of any place. There’s no such thing as the perfect survival retreat location – although one should strive to find a place with far more pros than cons… they do exist.

  14. All the way from Flag to White Mountains is underrated. Excellent choice along the rim in central AZ. Lots of springs, 4 seasons, elk, deer, turkey, pig, bear, etc.

    1. I lived in Flag and Payson for over 20 years… I would agree except for water… water is precious.

  15. Colorado would be one of my choices
    To the person he said it’s way too cold, remember it’s easier to keep warm in the cold environments then to keep cool in a hot environment

  16. Im going to comment for a few lines. I currently live in WA state. In the 3rd largest city which is Vancouver. I do plan to move but not sure where.

    WA is good on rainfall(no lack of rain), agriculture is moderate because of the rain fall. It doesn’t get terribly too cold either. As far as freedom goes it is lacking just a bit especially compared to places like Wyoming.
    Eastern Wa is most likely the better option. But if you plan to homestead break out your wallet, grab your ankles , and fork over thousands to hire a contractor. Licenses to do stuff on your own land is insane. Property taxes are a little high. Solar power here is ok if its used In Conjunction with battery banks. But it does get cloudy so solar as the only source isnt a good idea. I would go to Wyoming personally since it offers the least negatives for me. Which the only negatives would be weather,

  17. My concern is that any place east of the major cities ie; Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, San Diego etc could see massive fallout in the event of a nuclear event. In the event of a HEMP event, nobody escapes that for any extended periood of time nor once you learn what that means wold you perhaps even want to. Anybody have thoughts about the areas west of Eugene OR and in the lower SW region of that state? No real targets in region, all fallout would flow eastward and the area may be far enough outside of the HEMP range which may be more central US focused.

    1. Aside from to much rain, anti-Christian foreigners, and similar info from scientists, geologist etc.,.. and new and old prophecies I recommend to stay away from western states. As a matter of fact move your families away from these A.S.A.P.!!

  18. Where you are closest to the most people who will do you good;church membership , eagle , moose club members etc… you trust with your life

  19. You don’t even mention Minnesota, and it’s one of the geographically safest places on the globe.