Well, it’s that time again, the time when Money magazine comes out with their top 100 places to live in America. Of course, you and I know this list is flawed simply by the criteria Money magazine uses to come up with the list. I should say, you and I know this list is flawed if you want to survive! It’s a great list if you must live near crowds, ballet, art museums, colleges and other nonsense. You know, places me and you would rather NOT live! Especially during a man made disaster or economic collapse. So this year, I decided to come up with the 10 best places to survive in America. If you don’t agree with some of these places, that’s fine. It’s MY list, not yours!
Money magazine uses criteria such as employment rates, crime, home values, schools, things to do, health care. Although some of these sound good, Money’s writers put a little too much emphasis on some of those things while not taking into account that they should. I also have a sneaky suspicion that advertiser money is also a ranking factor. Also, if you notice, most of these places are metro areas, meaning they’re suburbs of major cities. I believe most of us would not choose to live a self reliant lifestyle in the shadow of a major city, nor would we want to try and survive there should there be a emergency.
How I Selected The 10 Best Places To Survive In America
Here’s some of the criteria I used to come up with my list.
The single biggest factor was the price of real estate. Hey, the best place to survive in America isn’t worth squat if you can’t afford to buy a place there! And for anyone who has lived a self reliant lifestyle, you know that you can make it happen nearly anyplace as long as you have some determination and knowledge. It will also help if you have a solid work ethic.
Next, I looked at the climate. While not a big factor, it has to be taken into account. While some may prefer the dry heat of the deserts, others prefer the cooler temps of the upper midwest.
Another criteria that I looked at is the availability of natural resources. If a collapse or other type of man made disaster were to strike, then the availability of natural resources will suddenly become very important to a lot of folks.
So without further delay, here are my choices of the Top 25 places to Survive in America.
1. Red Oak, Oklahoma
This little town of about 500 or so lies in Southeastern Oklahoma. I’ve long felt that this area was a overlooked gem when talking about places to survive.
The land prices are some of the most reasonable in the Nation. I recently found a 4 acre tract there with a small cabin on it for $25,000. It’s not unusual to find larger tracts of land for less than $1000 per acre. Try doing that in other areas!
The Quachita National Forest is near by. This area consist of mountainous lands with valleys with streams and rivers.The forest provides great opportunities for hunting, exploring, hiking and fishing.
If you feel the need for a larger city, Fort Smith Arkansas is about 50 miles away.
Construction and timber comprise most of the employment in the area, but as with any where else, there’s always something for everyone.
2. Mountain Home, Arkansas
Mountain Home is located in North Central Arkansas and it lies in the Ozark Mountains. The population of Mountain Home is around 13,000. Like most Southern mountain ranges, it offers a little something for everyone. Hardwood ridges with valleys that have clear flowing streams.
This area isn’t as remote as it once was, but if someone looks hard enough, you can find that remote property you’ve always dreamed of. There are several rivers in the area that provide not only good water, but an abundance of fish and other natural resources. The mountains surrounding the area are known as good areas to hunt small game as well as Black Bear, Deer and Wild Hogs.
While the land prices are not as cheap as they are in other desirable survival areas, they’ll still much more reasonable than places such as California or Arizona.
Mountain Home is getting a good reputation as a touristy spot. Eureka Springs is down the road about an hour or so and is more well known than Mountain Home. So if you despise tourist, then you might want to steer away from the whole area. Then again, if you see tourist as a source of money for your cash only family business, you might find this area as very desirable!
3. West Liberty, Kentucky
Yeah, you guessed it, another small town in the Southern mountains. If you’re beginning to see that I prefer the Southern mountains, then you’re right! Mainly because they’re affordable!
West Liberty is a town of about 3 thousand in the Eastern part of the State. The surrounding area is mountainous and offers plenty of remote land for the self reliant person or anyone wanting to get away from the crowds. You’ll also find a lot of this land ideal for living off the grid! I recently found 60 acres for sale near West Liberty for $32,000! Now that’s some cheap land!
The immediate area has been hit hard by the economy lately, so expect it might be hard to find a good paying job. But then again, you may be resourceful and be able to scratch out your own living.
If I was looking for a place far removed from civilization with a moderate climate, I’d seriously give this area of Kentucky a good looking over!
4. Pennsboro, West Virginia
I hesitated even mentioning any place in West Virginia due to is location near some of the largest population centers in the U.S. But in reality, some of you in those metro areas are probably going to be looking for a place to bug out or relocate if the SHTF. So I present to you, a very good place to do so.
Pennsboro is another small town located in a poor rural area. The perfect place many of us would prefer to live! There’s about 1200 people who call Pennsboro home.
You can get lost in the immediate area, literally! But isn’t the whole point of living away from the major population centers?
If an outdoor type lifestyle is your cup of tea, then you’ll find it hard to find an area like Pennsboro West Virginia.
5. Carlin, Nevada
Okay, here’s a place for you Desert Rats! If you love the hot, dry high desert type climate, you’ll think you died and went to Heaven in this area. Land is dirt cheap. How cheap is that you ask? How about 220 acres for $45,000, or how about 40 acres for $4,000. Yes, that’s right, 40 acres for $4,000!
Now, if you haven’t been out there, you probably wouldn’t know that most of this land is high desert. Which is just above desert on the places that are in hospitable to most folks! But it’s there if you’re willing to pay for it and many people actually prefer these places. The climate is one of very hot during the Summer and it can get downright bone crushing cold in the Winter.
Carlin itself has about 2 thousand folks living in it. Most of the jobs in the area come from Mining and the Service industry (read Casino’s!). It’s fairly close to Elko and then a nice drive down the road to Winnemucca.
The downside, other than the lack of water on some of the land for sale, is that it lies near I-80. Of course, I consider that a downside, you may not!
6. Hettinger, North Dakota
North Dakota is another state that I hesitated to list. Not because of its location near huge population centers like West Virginia, (unless you’re counting Jack Rabbits!) but because of its severe Winters. But as with any place that has low land prices, the land is what you make of it. So if you can handle the long North Dakota Winters, then the area round Hettinger is likely to be your cup of tea.
There are around 1000 people give or take who call Hettinger home. The town lies in the Southwest part of the state, just a little North of the South Dakota line. The surrounding land is mixed use and there are some good deals on land if you hunt them out.
There is an abundance of natural resources, although not as many as in the Southern mountains in my opinion. But on the other hand, if you’re a gardener or wanting to live a more farm or agricultural lifestyle, it would be difficult to find a more reasonably priced place than this area. I’ve seen a number of tracts going for less than $1000 per acre.
7. Sierra Blanca, Texas
This is another place you Desert Rats may want to take a look at. Here again this is another “iffy” spot due to the number of illegal aliens that pass through the area. The town itself is just off of I-10 which is another drawback. But 5 to 10 acre tracts in the area are priced really well and if someone doesn’t mind the heat and illegals, then this area may be ideal for you.
You also have to figure that the taxes for the land are not jacked up either. With Texas being one of only a handful of States that do not have a personal income tax, you may want to put this on your list of places to visit. But be warned, in some parts of the State, they make up for not having personal income tax by having huge property tax! This is something to keep in mind before moving to Texas.
8. Thayer, Missouri
Thayer or Alton, either place would be a good choice for someone looking to get away from the population mass. The land is reasonably price, the climate is moderate and there are plenty of natural resources available.
Thayer is located in the South Central part of the state and has about 2000 people living there. It’s a small, quiet and quaint town. You’ll find plenty of game in the surrounding areas as well as good soil for growing crops or livestock.
There are also a ton of outdoor activities in the area, including several lakes and rivers. Sightseeing and hiking are a big draw here and the area has a moderate tourist population in the Summer.
If a house in a small town is your idea of a survival retreat, then you can find affordable homes in Thayer and Alton.
9. Cedar City, Utah
Cedar City has quite a few smaller pieces of land for fairly reasonable prices. While maybe not as cheap as other places, some of these lots have great mountain views. Most of the immediate area is hilly to mountainous. Cedar City itself has about 25 to 30,000 people. One of the largest towns I’ve chose for this list. But as I said earlier, the availability of land and the low cost of the parcels in the area is what helped it make the Top 10 Best Places To Survive in America.
Besides low land cost, there are a lot of things one can do around Cedar City if you get bored on the ole homestead. Most involve the outdoors, which is another reason most of us like to get away from the Metro areas.
Also, Utah in general has an independent attitude when it comes to States. I like that! The population there reminds me a lot of many old school Texans! They don’t want your Government handouts, they want you to get out of their way, leave them alone and they’ll take care of their self! This is the kind of people who will be living high and mighty should a economic collapse comes.
10. Pikeville, Tennessee
Last but not least is Pikeville Tennessee. There are a lot of smaller acreage around Pikeville. And while it may cost a little more per acre than some of the other areas, it has great natural resources close by and a lot of the parcels of land offer you some privacy due to being so remote.
Pikeville itself has bout 2 thousand people, so you won’t feel overly crowded. Plus, as an added bonus, Pikeville is in the Sequatchie Valley. One of the most picturesque places in the East if you ask me!
Disadvantage of Buying Rural and Remote Properties
One thing you have to keep in mind when you’re talking about rural property, and this goes for rural property anywhere, not just in the East, is that a lot of these places also attract people from the drug industry. This is due to the same reason you and I are attracted to them. Fewer people and remote, cheap land. While I see it more in rural Eastern States such Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. Every year, people (and sometimes whole families) go missing and are never heard from again in these rural counties. So be safe when looking at land in rural areas.
Another disadvantage that some see in remote properties is the distance to shopping and health care. If you slip with an axe and bury it in your leg, you may have a hard time getting out of your homestead and to a hospital. Just something to keep in mind.
What About Other States?
The truth is, you can find a remote or rural areas in every state to move to if you really want to get away from major population centers. There are even places such as these in States such as California and New York. The reason I left these states out of the list, as well as many of the upper Midwest states such as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois is because not only do they have larger population centers, but the State government and in many instances the local government, tend to lean toward the Liberal side. This can affect you with unfavorable laws being passed as well as increased taxes on real estate.
There are still remote places along our Southern border in New Mexico, Arizona and California not to mention Texas. But with the drug cartels taking over our border states while our Government sits back and does nothing, these would not be my first, second or third choices. Even though I would love to do a long term Gold hunting trip in AZ, it’s not worth the headache of watching over your back every minute.
You can also find remote places in Oregon and Washington state, but for the same reasons I wouldn’t move to the Upper Midwest states mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t move to these Western states.
The East coast suffers from having huge population centers like Washington, Baltimore, Boston, Raleigh and others. Population centers are easy targets for a variety of reasons and you sure don’t want to be living near, or downwind of one in case of an attack. For this reason, I left the Eastern seaboard out of my list, even though I know there is reasonable land prices in North and South Carolina. There’s just too many people in these places for me!
So What Are My Favorite Places To Survive?
Contrary to the popular belief from many so called Survival Experts, I believe the rural properties in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee offers the average Joe great places to get away from the Sheeple and practice living the way they want to. You don’t need some huge bunker complex in Idaho or Montana to be self reliant and be prepared for a economic collapse or man made disaster.
Have fun with this list. Do your own research and make your own list. Use your own criteria and let me know where you’d choose to Survive at in America!