Photo: David Herrera
Unless you’ve been living under a rock without WiFi, it’s now clear that the zombie apocalypse is not only real, but imminent. When it comes, you’ll want to be armed with the skills, knowledge, and automatic weapons needed to survive. Of course, you’ll also need to know where to hide out and, if necessary, mount an offensive.
The folks at Hopper.com ran the numbers, dissecting which states have the best anti-zombie infrastructure, and assigned each of them a Zombie Safety Score (ZSS). The lower the number, the less hospitable that state is to the undead.
Low population density means fewer future zombies. Then again, the right kind of population can make for highly valuable allies, so we factored the number of army recruits per 1,000 people (aged 18-24) as well as army bases in each state. Get to them before the zombies do.
A good zombie bunker is well-armed, so we tallied the gun stores in each state. We also totaled all of the Walmarts -- since they have everything -- and hospitals. Even if the doctors are all gone by the time you get there, first aid supplies can mean the difference between life and undeath.
You have your recruits and supplies, now you need a place to set up camp. Mountain states are a definite win. A high percentage of water-covered surface area is also a strong deterrent. Unless Ryan Lochte catches the bug, in which case he becomes more coherent, but you become a protein bar.
Photo: flickr/whatleydude, Ken Banks
Population density: 98.1 people/square mile
Supplies: 4,996 gun stores, 388 Walmarts, 371 hospitals
Geography: Mountains, plains, and Gulf
With more than twice as many gun stores as No. 2 in the category, Texas is Firearm Disney. It doesn't have as many American Apparels as Manhattan or free range organic vegan turkeys as California, but what it lacks in Hipstamatic uploads it makes up with a whopping 388 Walmarts. And 16 military bases give it plenty of additional firepower.
Hideout options: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, home to the highest point in the state at a tall-for-Texas 2,667 meters, is prime zombie-repelling geography. Set on over 80,000 acres of land and boasting over 80 miles of trails, it’ll buy you some time in the event a horde catches your scent.
Photo: Kalvin Chan, Bob Jagendorf
Population density: 353.4 people/square mile
Supplies: 2,062 gun stores, 247 Walmarts, 213 hospitals
Geography: Flat, but Waterworld
The Sunshine State is well stocked and offers a strong fighting force as well, with 3.25 combat personnel for every 1,000 residents of prime fighting age across 14 military installations. Population density’s high, though, so take to the water to escape the crowds, since 18% of Florida’s surface is covered in it.
Hideout options: If you can commandeer a sailboat or a pontoon and hang out offshore for a while, you’re golden. Otherwise, set up camp in Everglades National Park. With 1.5 million acres of swamp, grassland, and jungle, this park is host to a maze of winding rivers and 10,000 islands. Just beware zombiegators. The mindless football fans, not the undead reptiles.
Photo: Mike Baird, o5.com
Population density: 241.7 people/square mile
Supplies: 2,202 gun stores, 180 Walmarts, 354 hospitals
Geography: Mountainous, flanked by water, redwooded
A state as big as California is guaranteed to be well-supplied. What’s more, the state’s 25 military bases mean you’ll have a well-trained pool of recruits for your zombie-protection brigade. What really puts California at the top, though, is its varied geography.
Hideout options: Reaching 4,418 meters, Mount Whitney is a safe place to set up camp when the dead begin to rise. Perched between Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, it’s worth a trip even when you’re not running from flesh-eaters. You could also build a treehouse in one of the giant redwoods of California’s national parks, which can reach 380 feet. Or you could hunt down a cliffside sea cave along the state’s 380 miles of Pacific coastline.
THE 3 WORST STATES TO SURVIVE THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE
Now that you know where to go, it’s as important to know where not to go. Avoid zombie-friendly states like South Dakota, North Dakota and Vermont, which ranked at the bottom of our Zombie Safety Score. Proliferation might be slower in those states because nobody lives there, but your time’s gonna come thanks to their complete lack of supplies, dearth of eligible recruits and, with the exception of Vermont, geography like a gymnasium.