A Guide to Surviving America’s Zombie Apocalypse

We’re all pretty sure society as we know it will end with a zombie apocalypse. And with the The Walking Dead season premiere (and Halloween!) this month, it’s the perfect time to delve into the macabre reality of who in America will be left after the undead hordes have their way with us.

We pulled data on self-reliance through agriculture, weapon ownership, solar energy, and climate to find the best place to survive the zombie apocalypse. If you’re lucky, you may already live in a Zone 1 state. If not, well—prep your bug-out bag. You don’t want to be stuck in a Zone 4 state when SHTF (that’s doomsday-prepper speak for “shit hits the fan”).

Doomsday Map CableTV.com

Surprisingly, the most likely (California) and least likely (Nevada) states to survive are neighbors. But with the Sierra Nevadas protecting them, post-apocalyptic Californians can comfortably enjoy their agriculture and solar energy while taking potshots at Nevada’s overflowing zombie population.

The most survivable area of the US is the Midwest. It’s a cluster of Zone 1 and Zone 2 states, thanks primarily to its widespread food production. On the other hand, New England is Zone 4 across the board. Our suggestion if you live here? Hop on I-95 and make your way down to North Carolina, the nearest Zone 1.

Just try not to get eaten by zombies before you get there.

Other Crucial Survival Information

Yes, produce, defense, power, and a livable climate are essential to surviving a zombie apocalypse. But if pop culture has taught us anything, being one of the last remaining humans requires more than just the basics.

For example, Tallahassee from Zombieland (2009) taught us that “you gotta enjoy the little things.” Like Twinkies! If you’re on a postapocalyptic quest for those yellow, spongy, delicious bastards that will decompose long after you do, Hostess has three Twinkie bakeries in the US:

  • Emporia, Kansas
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
Twinkie Safe Havens Image

Important Note: When you’re preparing to raid the Twinkie stash, know that the correct terminology is “Twinkie bakery.” The rep at Hostess got real mad at us when we asked about “Twinkie factories.” The last thing you want to do is offend someone before you clean out their Twinkie supply.

Another good snack choice is instant ramen, which has a disgustingly long shelf life but actually tastes pretty good. More importantly, it could be used as a bartering tool to get you into California, the most survivable state.

Based on demographic data from Maruchan, Californians and hardcore ramen lovers have a lot in common. But with a population pushing 40 million, California will probably wipe out its own ramen supply pretty fast. Smuggle a bunch in from another state and you could be living like SoCal royalty.

Places you won't run out of Ramen

If you’re more of a fighter than a supplier, you may be drawn to special weaponry to make yourself indispensable to a zombie-fighting crew, like Daryl from The Walking Dead with his silent and deadly crossbow. Tactical skills (like shooting a crossbow) are something you should start practicing sooner than later—unless you live in Oregon where crossbows are illegal.

Crossbows are illegal in Oregon Image

Doomsday State Rankings

ZONE 1—GREEN

Survivability Rank

State

1st

California

2nd

Iowa

3rd

Nebraska

4th

Minnesota

5th

Illinois

6th

Kansas

7th

North Carolina

8th

Wisconsin

9th

Indiana

10th

Washington

11th

Texas

12th

Missouri

13th

Georgia

ZONE 2—BLUE

Survivability Rank

State

14th

Arkansas

15th

South Dakota

16th

Ohio

17th

North Dakota

18th

Florida

19th

Michigan

20th

Idaho

21st*

Pennsylvania

21st*

Colorado

23rd

Oklahoma

24th

Kentucky

25th

Mississippi

26th

Alabama

*Pennsylvania and Colorado tied for twenty-first place. Colorado has more solar power, but Pennsylvania has significantly more weapons.

ZONE 3—YELLOW

Survivability Rank

State

27th

Arizona

28th

New York

29th

Oregon

30th

Virginia

31st

Tennessee

32nd

Montana

33rd

New Mexico

34th

Louisiana

35th

South Carolina

36th

Maryland

37th

Utah

38th

Wyoming

ZONE 4—RED

Survivability Rank

State

39th

New Jersey

40th

Delaware

41st

Alaska

42nd

Rhode Island

43rd

New Hampshire

44th

Connecticut

45th

Maine

46th

West Virginia

47th

Massachusetts

48th

Vermont

49th

Hawaii

50th

Nevada

Methodology

We gathered the data for this article from resources provided by the USDA (2017 Cash Receipts by Commodity), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (Firearms Commerce in the United States Annual Statistical Update 2017), and SEIA (Solar State by State). We coupled that data with the average annual temperature for each US state to profile each state’s level of doomsday preparedness.

Results on agriculture, registered weapons, solar energy, and weather were assigned a ranking value and weighed equally for the final ranks of the states best prepared for doomsday.

We also added a dash of extra research for flavor. We called Hostess about the Twinkie bakeries, consulted InfoScout for Maruchan Ramen Consumer Insights, and checked with the North American Crossbow Federation for crossbow regulations.

Are you ready for the end of the world?

We hope this vital information has been helpful for your doomsday prep. Let us know what your zombie survival plan looks like in the comments. Don’t worry if you haven’t started yet—just don’t wait too long. We don’t know when the zombie contagion will start, but honestly it could be any day now.