The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of Them?

by Tommy Grant

Every day awareness grows of the real-world threat of an EMP attack or a solar coronal mass ejection. In either one of these scenarios, the damage to the electrical grid and many of the electronics people rely on will be catastrophic.

Bugging out from a city to a remote location might be possible. However, getting to another state might be out of the question. When you consider that it might take years for everything to return to normal, you need to be prepared for the worst.

To have the best chances of outliving an EMP, you need to think about the resources in your state and nearby regions.

Criteria to Improve Your Chances of Outliving an EMP

To survive an EMP or the catastrophe of a solar coronal mass ejection, you need to have access to some basic resources, and the ability to protect yourself. You also need to become reasonably sustainable within a single growing season.

Related: How to Build Self-Watering Raised Garden Beds

In what’s to follow, we’ll work with the basic assumption that you’ve got some firearms to protect yourself with, and you can find a reasonable shelter. Let’s also assume that you have the skills to tend a garden and do a little hunting.

We’re also going to assume that if you’re living in one of these states or you have a rural bug-out property, you have or will quickly acquire some of the regional skills necessary.

Access to Freshwater

Access to freshwater is just as important as a secure shelter. If you don’t have water, you can’t keep the family hydrated, you can’t water your garden and any animals you’re raising will die. This also means that the location needs to have the ability to weather a drought.

A lot of modern farms rely on pumped groundwater to grow crops. After an EMP those pumps won’t be functional again and might not even be repairable!

Access to Easy Protein Sources

After an EMP the only sources of protein will be from farm animals or from hunting wild game. If your state or region doesn’t have much of either, your chances of outliving an EMP are going to be very low.

We don’t all need to become cattle ranchers, but keeping a few chickens can make a big difference in times of crisis. Feeding your flock this plant will double egg production, offering you and your family a continuous protein source.

Low Population Density

After an EMP everyone, everywhere is going to be scrabbling. Ordinary good people are going to be driven to do unsightly things in desperate moments when they’re trying to survive.

For you to outlive an EMP, you need to be as far away from these panicked masses of people as possible. This means highly urbanized states like New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maryland are all pretty much out of the picture.

Opportunity for Sustainable Agriculture

Outliving an EMP will take at least 3 to 5 years, and probably longer. Unless you’re sitting on a mountain of MREs and canned vegetables, you’ll eventually need to grow a lot of your own food.

So you need to live in a state or region where there’s enough arable land and water to grow a garden of 250 square feet or more per person. Check out this guide on how to make a year-round self-sustaining garden and start living independently.

State with the Best Chances of Outliving an EMP

With these factors in mind and a few others, we took a closer look at the best states and regions within those states where you’ve got a fighting chance of outliving an EMP. Some of them might surprise you.


The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of ThemIf I didn’t start out by saying that Texas is one of the best states for outliving an EMP, everyone in Texas would openly revolt. Texas is big, and there are a lot of areas where you can vanish far away from population centers. There’s a lot of game to choose from including a strong white-tailed deer population, feral hogs, wild turkeys, and even javelina.

There’s also a lot of beef you could trade for and reasonable access to other types of farm animals.

My beloved uncle Donald lived as a survivalist in Eastern Texas for over forty years. He kept bees, hunted voraciously, trapped animals, and kept a massive garden. Eastern and Central Texas get enough rain to let you keep a big garden. Any further west and things start to dry out.

Related: The Best Way to Train Your Dog for Hunting and Security

Western Texas might not be ideal for outliving an EMP. If you already have a ranch or a working rural property in West Texas, then you already have the skills to survive that hardscrabble life. If you don’t already have what it takes to survive in West Texas, it’s not an ideal bug-out destination.


Just like Texas deserves top billing in an article about the best places to outlive an EMP event. I do have some underlying concerns, depending on the time of year the hypothetical EMP occurs.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Montana. I have family living off the grid in Montana, and Jim Harrison is my spirit animal!

The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of Them

Yet, I have to point out that if the EMP occurs in the peak of summer, all those campgrounds, resorts, hotels, and rental cabins full of tourists near Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks will be a major problem. They won’t have more than a week’s worth of food and will be out wandering, looking across that big sky at the smoke coming out of your chimney.

If the EMP strikes in one of the other three seasons, Western Montana is an ideal place to weather the recovery process. The mountain streams give you access to water. There’s a reasonable amount of arable soil for growing your own vegetables. There’s abundant game and arguably the best trout fishing in the west.

Related: How to Catch Fish With a Bottle

If you already live there, then you probably have what it takes to survive what I consider to be the most brutal winter in the lower 48. You just have to be mindful of a wave of displaced tourists in the first few months.


The low population density of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula gives you a good chance of surviving an EMP. If you already live there, then you’ve got what it takes to survive the cold snowy winters.

The other three seasons in the UP are a delight with favorable temperatures that beat the heat. It’s the ideal climate for growing fruits, berries, and root vegetables.

There’s an abundance of wild game and tons of fishing opportunities. Deer and black bear populations thrive, and there are even moose in the northwestern part of the UP.

The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of ThemThe northern extremes of Michigan are also far from many serious military targets. A foreign power looking to maximize the impact of their EMP would focus more on targets to the Southeast and West. Depending on how things go down, the effects of a distant EMP might not be as catastrophic in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Central and Northern Minnesota offers an excellent opportunity to outlive an EMP, but you need to be able to handle the harsh winters. The land of 10,000 lakes guarantees you easy access to fresh water and fish that you can catch in all four seasons. Including ice fishing from insulated shanties in the wintertime.

These remote parts of Minnesota are speckled with subsistence farms and forests filled with a diverse spectrum of wild game. This makes it easy to raise your own animals and maintain a large garden while having easy access to three different primary protein sources.

Related: Is It Safe to Eat Roadkill?

A lot of people living in the Twin Cities and South have “Up North” cabins with woodstoves sitting on the edges of a lake. If you already live in Minnesota, you’ve got some of the best chances of bugging out to survive an EMP.


There’s a lot to love about Maine when looking for a state capable of surviving an EMP. The so-called Down-East has a higher population density, which isn’t ideal. Yet northern Maine and the interior forests approaching the Canadian border are remote and hard for outsiders to access.

The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of ThemThere’s also an established survivalist subculture in Maine.

Many people live off the grid, and boost their gardening success with cold frames, while maximizing what the coastal climate gives them.

Related: Off Grid Life: The Dark Side That No One Talks About

There’s even a barter system in rural Maine known as Dickering. This makes it easy to trade for things you need when money becomes useless. It also promotes a community feel, which is another important aspect of long-term survival and recovery after any disaster.

If you already live in Maine and have the skills to survive in its remote wilds, your chances of surviving an EMP. Yet it’s too remote to be a feasible bug-out destination for outsiders.

North Carolina

The mountains and forests of Western North Carolina are a prepper’s dream and a perfect place to ride out the aftermath of an EMP. If you’re in the know, there’s already a strong network of preppers in the hills of North Carolina, which gives you a support network to tap into if needed.

The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of ThemNorth Carolina has mild winters, and the altitude of the mountains helps mitigate the summer’s heat. There’s a fair amount of game and the growing season is long enough to let you grow a lot of your own food.

Land prices in the mountains of North Carolina are also very friendly.

The First States That Will Go Down During an EMP. Do You Live in the Red Zone?

If you’re in the US Southeast and you’re looking to develop a bug-out or bug-in property to survive an EMP, North Carolina should be high on your list.


A lot of what makes North Carolina a good place to outlive an EMP also makes Tennessee a good region to consider. The mountains of Eastern Tennessee offer the same friendly land prices and access to resources that you’ll find in neighboring North Carolina.

The growing season is long, and there’s reasonable access to water. The availability of game maybe isn’t what it used to be, but it’s enough to get by. The local laws are gun-friendly, to set yourself up, and the mountains let you see trouble coming.

Eastern Tennessee also has a good ol’ boys network intertwined with moonshine subculture that goes back to long before the bootlegging. If you already live there or have a cabin in the area, you have access to what you need to survive an EMP. Yet it would be hard to embed yourself there as a bug-out destination.


The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of ThemThe Ozark Mountains of Northern Arkansas is a great region to bug-in to survive an EMP. The population density of the area is low, and the mountain valleys limit access, or at least let you see people coming.

There’s a healthy population of wild game and rivers that are good for spear and fly fishing.

The land in many places is arable enough for keeping a survivalist garden. It also has a long growing season. Yet it isn’t that much of a mass agricultural region, which keeps it from being on the top of everyone’s mind.

Other than tornadoes, there aren’t a lot of major natural disasters that hit Arkansas full bore. Any gulf hurricanes that make landfall dwindle into thunderstorms by the time they reach Arkansas. So, you can set yourself up, make a solid underground storm shelter, and feel comfortable that Mother Nature isn’t going to destroy your best efforts.


If you already live in Coastal and Southeast Alaska, then you probably have what it takes to weather an EMP event. If you don’t already live there and don’t have those skills, the rugged environment can kill you faster than Chris McCandless.

The islands of Southeast Alaska are naturally isolated, and you’re not likely to run into too many outsiders. The Pacific Ocean moderates the climate without the brutal cold that attacks interior Alaska.

The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of ThemAlaska has plentiful game and a thriving moose population. Not to mention a lot of great trapping opportunities. Salmon swim up rivers and the seafood bounty just off the coast is some of the best in the world.

Alaska isn’t a bug-out destination by any means. Yet the rugged capable people living in its coastal regions have some of the best chances of surviving an EMP.


Hawaii is controversial in that it offers a stark contrast when it comes to the chances of surviving an EMP. If you live on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai, high population density, dependence on outside resources, and tourists make it nearly impossible to survive any prolonged catastrophic event.

Related: Items You Need to EMP-Proof Before It’s Too Late

Yet if you live on the Big Island or Molokai, chances are you already employ some subsistence skills in your everyday life. With water catchment systems, backyard gardens, a year-round growing season, the sea is still bountiful. and access to wind power is already in full force.

The Best States to Outlive an EMP. Do You Live in One of ThemOn Molokai, fish farming is still a thriving practice. There’s still enough of a connection to the old ways that celebrate the bounty of the mountain and the ocean.

A true reminder that before Captain Cook’s arrival, Hawaii was one of the few places on Earth that could feed its own people without having to look outside itself.

On the Big Island, feral goats and pigs are there for the taking and chickens wander the streets like squirrels. There’s even enough remote land far outside the lava zones to bug out from one part of the big island to another.

Many preppers would point out the extremely strict gun laws in Hawaii. Yet with the aloha spirit, people living in the right places don’t have as much need for firearms in a disaster.

If you’re not from Hawaii, it’s undoubtedly the worst bug-out location in the US. If you already live on Molokai or the Big Island, you have some of the better chances of surviving an EMP with what’s already at your fingertips.

Honorable Mention

There are a lot of other regions that deserve honorable mention as good places to outlive the aftermath of an EMP. Vermont and Upstate New York would be great if it wasn’t for all the high-population centers nearby that would come your way.

Parts of Ohio, Eastern Oregon, and Northern Utah are also great places to try to weather the effects of an EMP. Yet high population density nearby makes these places prime targets for people who need to bug out.

The truth is there’s no one place that is perfect for living through the prolonged strife after an EMP. If you already live in a region with low population numbers and access to sustainable resources, it’s far better to bug in than to try to bug out elsewhere.

Electromagnetic pulses can wreak havoc on electronic devices critical for safety. That is why you should also have the EMP Cloth in your stockpile. It is a specialized material engineered to effectively shield against all forms of electromagnetic waves. It has been in such high demand lately that it’s rarely in stock anymore, so secure yours from here before it’s too late.

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