Jun 29, 2020 4:04 PM

Study: Nebraska ranks 3rd in 'Best States to Survive an Apocalypse'

Posted Jun 29, 2020 4:04 PM
Photo:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/wyncliffe/">Wyncliffe</a>&nbsp;(Flickr Creative Commons)<br>
Photo: Wyncliffe (Flickr Creative Commons)

By Trevor Wheelwright Edited By Mikayla Rivera

You wanna talk survival skills? The Walking Dead season 10 averaged 5.4 million viewers after many thought the show was dead (go figure). Americans still have the zombie itch since the finale was postponed, which left them gnawing for more insight on whether they could survive something like, you know, a global pandemic.

Well, we’re here to say that where you live matters in zombie land, so we wanted to update the country on which states are your best bets to survive during the apocalypse. We’ll also flesh out the reasoning behind our picks, which should give you something to chew on until you need to bug out.

Given the low population densities and bountiful farmlands, the Midwest is the best prepped in the event of a (zombie) apocalypse. You wanna be where the farms are and the people aren’t (more people in denser areas means more infections).

And feeding yourself (instead of being fed on) or trading for supplies with food will go a long way. While you could potentially take over the world with a solid solar setup, humans lived for a long time without electricity. It’s a powerful tool in the postapocalyptic world, but it’s not as essential as your basic survival.

Big, open, and undeveloped land is your best bet, which is why places like Montana and Idaho also land high on the list.

In the northeastern corner of the US, Vermont has the right vibe to survive with your tribe. Plus, we heard Burlington has a coat factory, so at least you’ll stay warm during the nuclear winter.

While you’d want to escape from Los Angeles, the more rural parts of California would be the perfect place to pack up and hunker down. The same goes for Las Vegas; it’s not worth the gamble. Compared to the rest of Nevada’s wide-open deserts, the City of Sin is one you don’t want to be in when the zombies come crawling.

The worst states for surviving a zombie apocalypse

While you might think you could find more resources and possibly gather with a good group of people, chances are if you’re in a densely populated area, you’re that much more likely to get infected or injured among the chaos. That means anyone in the East might have to go way out west before they can catch a breath.

Top 10 worst states for surviving a zombie apocalypse

If the turnpike turns into terror, New Jersey residents may be out of luck with the speedy spread of a virus amongst stalled traffic. With the exception of Vermont, the rest of the Northeast and East doesn’t fare much better with such a high population density.

Those big-city residents won’t want to fly down to Florida either, which had the ninth-highest population density and the 10th worst farming income. (Wait, does the vitamin C in Florida oranges help prevent zombie infections?)

The best and worst places to live during a zombie apocalypse

With the ever-looming fear of viral outbreaks, how does your state stack up in terms of survivability? We’ve broken down the country into quintiles to show five different levels of danger.

GREEN ZONES&nbsp;(You are safe in these states)



YELLOW ZONES&nbsp;(Consider moving)



RED ZONE&nbsp;(Pack your bags)


The methodology behind the mayhem

We compared each state’s population density, the gross receipts of farm per capita, and the percentage of electricity fueled by solar energy to find the best and worst states for surviving when society collapses.

Population density (45% of score)
Population density doesn’t help during a pandemic, especially if it’s packed with potential zombie hoards. Folks in the Midwest and more rural areas might not enjoy the bustling big-city life, but that matters a lot less when all the dance clubs look like the set of Thriller.

Gross receipts of farms per capita (35% of score)
Gross receipts of farms per capita is an indicator of how easy it would be to find food and supplies should the local Target get shut down in the madness. It also indicates that you may be able to get a trade supply going, depending on whether your livestock and crops are immune to the zombie virus.

That’s why California made the top of the list: even though there are a lot of folks there, there are a lot of farm commodities—here’s hoping the Golden State comes out shining.

Solar electricity (25% of score)
For those who will need a supply of electricity outside of their public utility provider—presuming we have the sunshine and a chance to survive—solar panels can provide the energy you need to rise like a technocratic phoenix in a world without Wi-Fi.

Washington’s high percentage of solar electricity ranked far above every other area. However, it fell at rank 29 because of a slightly higher population density than average (thanks, Seattle!).

Unlike undead and incurable zombies, our data could be normalized. We used a 0-1 scale with 1 being the most favorable scenario and zero being, like . . . well, ground zero. These adjusted measurements were then added together with the weights mentioned above to get a score out of 100.

The end…?

We’re not gonna lie: 2020 has been rough on Americans. And since even the best states still got less than an 80 out of 100 in our rankings, everyone in the United States may want to learn a few more survival skills—just in case their fellow residents turn evil.

To get a better idea of other apocalyptic scenarios and ways to survive, we recommend watching shows and movies like Doomsday Preppers (NatGeo/Netflix), Train to Busan (Netflix), and Westworld (HBO). We’re sure you can dig up something juicy if you sink your teeth into any streaming service search.

We’re not saying a zombie outbreak will happen, but, as they say, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”


  1. Statista (U.S Census Bureau), “Population density in the US, by state 2019
  2. United States Department of Agriculture, “Farm finance indicators State ranking
  3. SEIA, “Solar State By State