Doomsday Prepping: The U.S. States With The Best Odds of Surviving an Apocalypse

author By Fintan Costello on 05/24/2023

Doomsday Prepping: Which U.S. States Have The Best Odds of Surviving?

Recent years have seen the Doomsday Clock reaching the closest to midnight it’s ever been. The Doomsday Clock is a metaphorical symbol which represents how close we are to a global catastrophe. It was created in 1947 by a group of atomic scientists, one of which was Albert Einstein, with the idea being that the closer we are to midnight, the closer we are to ‘Doomsday’ and the end of the world as we know it.

With the threat of an impending doomsday feeling more real than ever, how prepared are we for doomsday and which states have the best odds of surviving a global catastrophe?

To dive a little deeper into the world of doomsday prepping, conducted a survey of over 6,000 U.S. residents, investigating how prepared each state is for the apocalypse, and exactly what those preparations have involved.

What is Doomsday?

‘Doomsday’ is defined as the end of the world, or a time where something very bad will happen. While there is no definite answer to exactly what doomsday will entail, scientific speculations suggest that nuclear events, climate change, disease, and asteroid strikes are all possible candidates.

Who is Preparing For Doomsday?

To determine who is preparing for doomsday, respondents were asked if they had stored essentials away, or were planning to.

A follow up question was then asked to investigate the length of time residents’ supplies will last. According to The Prepared, someone who can survive for 31 days or longer at home without utilities or outside help is a ‘resilient citizen’. With this in mind, we filtered our results to show the percentage of resilient citizens in each state, based on those that have supplies to last them 31 days or longer.

Which U.S. States Are Preparing For Doomsday The Most?

According to our survey findings, Nebraska is the U.S. state home to the most people preparing for doomsday, with 51.35% of respondents stating that they have already stored some essentials away, or are planning to, in preparation for doomsday. On top of this, 37.84% of respondents from Nebraska were found to be resilient citizens, with at least one month’s worth of doomsday supplies stashed away.

In second place is the Treasure State of Montana, where exactly half (50%) of respondents have stashed away some essential items, or are planning to do so in the future. Despite having the most doomsday preppers, only 30% of respondents from Montana are resilient citizens with enough supplies to last a month or longer.

New Mexico is the state with its residents the third most prepared for doomsday, with 47.50% of respondents having stored, or planning to store, items away. Unfortunately for residents of New Mexico, despite being one of the leading doomsday prepping states in the country, similarly to Montana, only 30% of residents would be considered resilient citizens.

The southern state of Mississippi takes fourth place. In this state, 47.27% of those surveyed are planning to stockpile essentials, including some that have started to do so already. An impressive 40% reported having enough supplies to last a month or longer, making it the state with the third-most resilient citizens.

Wisconsin follows closely behind, and rounds out the top five states leading the way with doomsday prepping. In this state, 44.55% of respondents said that they have begun, or plan to begin, storing items away ahead of doomsday, and 39.09% of these respondents have enough supplies to last a month or longer.

Which U.S. States Are The Least Prepared For Doomsday?

While investigating who is preparing for doomsday the most, we were also able to determine the states with the fewest number of doomsday preppers.

In the event of a global catastrophe, things aren’t looking quite so good in our least prepared state, Oklahoma, where only 28.38% of those surveyed have stored, or plan to store, some emergency supplies. Of these respondents, 32.43% have enough stored away to last a month or longer.

With only 29.41% having gathered, or planning to gather, some essential supplies, Idaho becomes the U.S. state with the second least number of people preparing for doomsday. Only 35.29% of these respondents reportedly have enough supplies to last a month or longer, making them resilient citizens.

The eastern states of Rhode Island and North Carolina share the position of the third-least prepared U.S. state, as 30% of respondents have considered storing items, or have already done so. Rhode Islanders inch slightly closer towards preparedness with 40% of these respondents having enough supplies to last a month or longer, while this figure stands at 32.50% in North Carolina.

Utah takes fifth place and is among the U.S. states preparing the least for doomsday. In this state, 31.15% of respondents have reported stockpiling items, or are planning to do so in the future, and a further 31.15% have enough supplies to last a month or more.

The States That Are Most Confident in Surviving Doomsday

In addition to the states doing the most doomsday prepping, we also uncovered the states that are most confident in their ability to survive a doomsday event. We asked respondents to agree or disagree with the following statement: “I feel I am capable of surviving a doomsday event”.

Our most confident state, and rightly so, is Nebraska — finishing in first place again. When respondents were asked if they feel capable of surviving a doomsday event, 64.86% stated that they do. This confidence likely stems from the fact that 51.35% of Nebraskans are prepared for the worst.

The northeasternmost state of Maine takes second place with 60% of respondents admitting they believe they could survive a doomsday event. Despite this, only 40% of respondents in Maine have stored, or plan to store, supplies.

Optimism remains high in Arizona where 59.42% of respondents feel confident in their ability to survive doomsday, yet only 42.75% have planned for this catastrophe.

Following closely behind Arizona is Wisconsin. The state, the fifth most prepared for an apocalypse in our study, is the fourth most confident in surviving doomsday, with 59.09% of residents responding “agree” to the statement.

Rounding out the top five most confident states in surviving doomsday is Louisiana, where 58.62% of those surveyed are believers in the ability to survive global catastrophe.

Which Are The Least Confident States in Surviving Doomsday?

While some states are highly confident in their ability to make it through the worst case scenario, others are a little more uncertain.

Rhode Island takes the place of our least confident state in surviving doomsday, with only 35% believing in their capability. This aligns with Rhode Islanders’ preparedness, as they also are among the five states preparing the least for doomsday, with just 30% having stored items away.

The second least confident state is the tropical paradise of Hawaii, where only 37.04% of residents believe they are capable of surviving a doomsday event. This is no surprise, given that only 33.33% of respondents are prepared for the catastrophic event, or are planning to.

In Minnesota, despite only 35.51% of respondents being prepared, 42.99% of those surveyed believe they could survive doomsday.

Oklahoma follows closely behind with a confidence figure of 43.24%. This is almost double the number of respondents that reported being prepared or planning to prepare—where the figure came in at 28.38%—the lowest of all states.

Idaho takes fifth place with 44.12% of respondents stating confidence in their ability to survive doomsday (while only 29.41% exhibit preparedness).

The Survival Skills Being Developed Ahead of Doomsday

Survival skills are absolutely essential to anyone hoping to make it through doomsday. From first aid and self defence to purifying water and foraging for food, our survey uncovers the most common survival skills Americans are developing to improve their chances of surviving the apocalypse.

Almost half (45.1%) of the doomsday-prepared respondents we surveyed reported having attempted to develop the skill of foraging in preparation for doomsday. Foraging is the act of searching for wild food sources, such as plants, berries and nuts.

This was the most popular survival skill being practised, followed closely by first aid, which 41.5% of respondents are developing skills in.

Other key skills U.S. residents are developing include:
• hunting and fishing (38.8%)
• purifying water (32.6%)
• building shelters (20.9%).

The Items U.S. Residents Are Storing in Preparation For Doomsday

There’s no definitive doomsday prep list that states everything you need, however, there are a number of items which are generally considered the most important. We asked respondents to state which three items they believe are most important to stockpile in preparation for doomsday.

Water and warm clothing came out on top, with 41.2% and 39.3% of respondents, respectively, choosing these items as the most important to store in preparation for doomsday.

Food comes in third place, with 38.2% of respondents listing this as one of the most important essential items to stockpile. Perhaps American’s newfound foraging skills might explain why food hasn’t made top of the list.

Even during the apocalypse, personal hygiene is on everybody’s minds, as our survey respondents’ fourth most important item to stockpile was toiletries. Surprisingly, 23.5% of respondents listed this in their top three essential items.

And don’t worry, our companions from the animal world aren’t going to be forgotten about in the event of an apocalypse, as 20.8% of respondents listed pet food in their top three essential items. Interestingly, this makes pet food the fifth most important item to stockpile—according to our survey respondents — before medical supplies, self defence weapons, and emergency tents and blankets.

Who is Preparing For Doomsday the Most: Men or Women?

When it comes to who is preparing for doomsday the most, it appears that men are most likely to have a doomsday plan. Our study found that 18.1% of men reported having stored items away ahead of doomsday, while this figure is around 10% lower for women at 8.8%.

Furthermore, when asked if they feel capable of surviving a doomsday event, over half (54.9%) of male participants reported confidence in their ability to survive, while just under half (47.1%) of female participants believe they are capable of surviving doomsday.

Men and women in the 40-65 age group were found to be the highest proportion of doomsday preppers, whereas the younger generation, both men and women aged 18-25, were least likely to have a doomsday plan.

In terms of what these preparations entail, both male and female respondents in our survey agree that water is the most important item to store ahead of doomsday. This is followed by warm clothing, and food.

How Much is Each State Spending on Doomsday Prepping?

The vast majority of doomsday preppers were found to be spending $1,000 to $4,999 on disaster preparation, though in some states, this figure rises to up to a staggering $10,000.

Our survey found that the largest proportion of big spenders live in Montana and New Mexico, where 5% of respondents have spent up to $10,000 on doomsday prepping. This is followed by Wisconsin (3.64%), South Carolina (3.09%), and West Virginia (3.03%).

As well as having the largest number of ‘big spenders’, Montana also has the largest proportion of residents who have spent nothing on doomsday prepping, as 70% of survey respondents admit putting no money towards their apocalypse plans. This is followed by Oregon, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Utah, each with a large number of residents who have not spent a single dime on doomsday prepping.

Which U.S. States Have The Least Trust in The Government When it Comes to Doomsday?

In the event of a doomsday scenario, all eyes are going to be on the White House to support and guide us. But just how much faith do U.S. residents have in the government?

Shockingly, 71.2% of all survey respondents state that they do not have faith in the government in the event of a doomsday scenario.

When results are broken down by state, residents of Arizona were found to have the least faith in the government, with over 81.88% expressing distrust. This leaves only one fifth of Arizonans believing the government will help them when the end of the world as we know it arrives.

This figure remains high in Kansas, where 78.18% of respondents lack faith in the government supporting them through global catastrophe, making it the second-least trusting state.

Our fourth-least trusting state is Alabama, where 77.66% of residents do not feel that they could depend on the White House for support during the apocalypse.

Over in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of American democracy, over three quarters (76.99%) of residents expressed a lack of trust in the government to guide them through doomsday.

Similarly over on the West Coast, Oregon becomes our fifth least government-trusting state (when it comes to doomsday), with 75.95% of residents stating having no faith in the government when it comes to a global catastrophe.

Which Doomsday Events Americans Think Are Likely to Occur

With so many people preparing for doomsday by storing away items and developing survival skills, we also asked respondents to select the catastrophic events they believe are most likely to occur.

Over half of respondents (55.8%) stated that climate change could be the cause of doomsday. This type of global catastrophe is likely to be the result of extreme temperatures or severe weather events. In relation to this, 46.7% of respondents also stated that natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and droughts, could trigger the arrival of doomsday.

Disease is another likely candidate, according to 36.5% of respondents. After the events of 2020, the threat of a pandemic feels more real than ever to many people and it’s estimated that the number of people predicting a doomsday caused by disease has increased over recent years as a result.

Food shortages and societal collapse are believed to be the fourth and fifth most likely doomsday events, according to 36.2% and 35% of respondents, respectively.

Some of the doomsday events Americans think are least likely to occur include:
• A zombie apocalypse (7.5%)
• UFO/alien invasion (7.2%)
• A fungus pandemic (6.7%).

Leading Cause of Doomsday Prepping

We all know that at some point the world as we know it is going to end. But what are the external factors that are leading people to start doomsday prepping?

Out of all our survey respondents, 59.4% stated that they have not begun doomsday prepping, and thus did not state a cause. The remaining 40.6% can be divided into the following categories:

Social media

Our findings show that 16.6% (the highest proportion of people preparing for doomsday) were motivated to do so as a result of social media and the content they’ve seen on different platforms. The effects that social media has on doomsday prepping should be no surprise given that doomsday and apocalypse videos have become a hit on social media since the pandemic.

News coverage

A further 10.2% of doomsday prepping can be attributed to news coverage. This was followed by friends and family (7.7%), watching movies (4.6%), and other (1.6%).

Doomsday Prep List: The Ultimate Checklist

Feeling inspired to put together a doomsday survival kit? We’ve created this checklist to help you prepare for the worst:

Water: we recommend 15 gallons per person.
Food: our doomsday prepper food list includes dried food, non-perishables and dehydrated meals.
Water filter: to treat dirty water and ensure you have a consistent supply to keep you hydrated.
Fire: matches and fire starters.
Light: headlamps, torches and candles.
Shelter: a tarpaulin sheet can be used to create shelter or patch up holes in your house.
Medical supplies: first aid and a supply of any medications you may need.
Communication devices: a radio could come in handy.
Hygiene supplies: wet wipes, hand sanitizer and soap.
Tools: a basic tool kit will help with building and repairs.
Cash: in the event of global catastrophe, cash may not be the solution to your problems.
That said, keeping a supply of cash will keep your options open in the event of some doomsday-style scenarios.

Methodology conducted a survey of 6,200 Americans between the dates of Wednesday, 3 May 2023 and Monday, 8 May 2023.

*Please note, the following states have been excluded due to less than 20 respondents:
• Vermont
• Wyoming
• Alaska
• North Dakota
• South Dakota
• Delaware

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