The United States is more polarized than ever, divided along ideological lines into regions that may as well be entirely different countries. As if the antics in Washington DC aren’t enough, millions of American families are stuck in the political crossfire and wondering where to turn. Some fear an impending collapse, while others simply want to provide a safe and free environment for their children.
The best option for anyone feeling trapped in a web of government regulation may be to vote with his or her feet. These are the top five states for survivalists and the self-sufficient in 2013, based primarily on population density, sustainability and citizen freedoms.
Montana’s greatest weakness is its climate, which is less suited to agriculture than other states on this list. The western half sees cool summers, milder winters and the majority of the state’s rainfall, while the eastern half is arid and cold.
Unemployment is low, but there are few skilled jobs outside of major cities. On the other hand, Montana has a thriving survivalist mindset, a sparse population and is very gun-friendly. Land is relatively cheap and crime is rare. Steer clear of Great Falls, which is home to a large missile base that could become a target in times of war.
North Dakota is seeing a huge boom in prosperity as more and more oil reserves are opened to drilling within the state. With the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, it is also a prime destination for anyone in need of a new career.
Most of the state is covered in farmland, a testament to the viability of sustainable living there, and the general mindset is one of individualism and respect. Having spent years as “flyover country” before oil placed it on the map, North Dakota is the perfect low-key destination for survivalists.
Washington State has a bad reputation in some minds thanks to Seattle and its surrounding counties, but much of the state is deeply conservative. Central Washington, just east of the mountains, has rich land, a decent cost of living and an acceptable population density. Moving further east, the landscape transforms into high, semi-arid desert that requires extensive irrigation to farm.
Along the Idaho border, an increase in mountainous springs and rivers makes living off the land more viable. Gun control in Washington includes the right to both concealed and open carry and is protected by the state constitution, and there is no income tax.
Utah is home to a large proportion of survivalists, the Latter Day Saints community, and prone to few natural disasters. Like Montana, it suffers from a dry climate that is not especially conducive to farming, but land is cheap and gun rights are well-established.
Utah is also a state of breath-taking beauty and low population, and it has almost no regulations regarding homeschooling. More so than anywhere else in the United States, Utah is a state where prepping is the default lifestyle.
Idaho has long been a haven for many different groups determined to withdraw from modern American society. Although it has little rainfall, it is crossed by 52 rivers and hundreds of creeks that make small-scale agriculture possible. Furthermore, a rich wildlife population supplies plenty of hunting and fishing.
Winters are cold but see only mild snowfall, and the population is largely comprised of individuals seeking the freedom to live as they desire. Combining those benefits with lower-than-average crime rates and excellent gun laws, Idaho is a clear front-runner for families looking to relocate to a more independent community in 2013.