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It's Survival Of
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you guys think are the ratios of population density to survival rates during a large scale disaster?

Yes, there are a lot of factors that come into play, but I'm looking for averages.

For example; If an EMP were set off high enough to black out the entire US, how many people would have survived a year? 10%? 1%...

Jackson Heights New York has almost 100,000 people per square mile. My guess is, the survival rate in that area would be less than 1%. after a year.

Is there a direct correlation of population to survivability?

If so, shouldn't one of our biggest preps be to seek lower population density?

Personally, if you live in an area with over 100ppl per square mile you may want to consider moving. There's 640 acres in a square mile, so that's 6.4 acres per person for all resources. Many will argue that you really only need an acre a person for food, many will counter that. I'd add, for your consideration, space for harvesting wood, raising animals, living environment, etc... 6.4 acres starts to shrink mighty fast.

And this is a good number based on good times, things will get ugly before they get better, and a lot of people are going to lose their lives before a balance is found.

If you don't know how big your town is, check it out here

Obviously, we can't all move to a rural region, but if that's even a slight possibility for you, I think you should consider it.

Keep in mind, there is a curve to the population/survival correlation. Nomad lifestyle is a very rough life style, and without failsafes, only the experienced will survive that lifestyle long term.

There is strength in numbers, but you are only as strong as your weakest link.
 

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Dumpster Diver
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I do think it is obvious that a lower population density facilitates surviving & providing for ones own needs far better,, and is safer from crowd troubles,, (unless you are entirely alone in a family group,, in which case a few others nearby to band together for mutual defense is necessary)

on the other hand, if , big IF,, outside aid was coming, from another area of the state or country, or even from say Great Britain,,, I think that aid would be directed first to the more densely populated areas and the rural folk would not see it until weeks or months later..
 

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Various authorities on "survivalism" suggest 10 ppl per square mile population density. And suggest areas where it's easier to grow food and raise animals. Of course, adequate water is a must and desert areas would require special handling and actions on the part of the survivor.

Yes, I fully expect if it were a nation-wide disaster (such as a CME), the relief/rescue efforts would be focused on the major cities first. Suits me fine.

As to guns versus no guns: bow-and-arrow, knife, tire irons, wooden clubs, improvised devices, etc. kill almost as effectively as guns. Just a thought.
 

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i saw a health index rating a few years ago on another site. it basically broke down what % of people in an area needed meds to live, were overweight, and age breakdown. i thought about your scenario when i saw it and i didnt think a whole lot of people would actually make it that long. even if you dont think about starvation and freezing you would have %30 die just from general poor health. diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity to the point of not being able to walk more than 50 yards... we are an unhealthy country.
 

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It's Survival Of
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Obviously, I lean towards low numbers of survivors the more densely populated an area is.

I don't think there will be much if any conditional changes on this. Canadians may be great people, but great people can starve just the same as Americans.

A starving Canadian mother would break a plastic baby bottle and slit your throat for it to feed her kids just as fast an American mother would :taped:

Guns, make it faster, knives make it cleaner, but bare hands work as well. History has proven, people don't need weapons to be violent. Think of prison... and they're getting 3 square a day!

Sorry to be so vivid in my description. People today are civilized through civilization. Remove civilization, and you will see the raw animal in people.

And I agree with most survivalists, 10ppl per mile is a good number, but how many of us are willing to move to an area with that low of a population? To some, that might be a SHTF scenario all by itself :thumb:

I'm personally moving from an area of about 90ppl per mile to somewhere closer to ~50ppl per mile. granted, I'll be on the edge of miles of acres with 0ppl per mile. I'll still be a short drive from that bustling town of 90ppl per mile :D:

I like to tell myself that's a nice safe medium (emphasis on the "safe" part).

So I guess, my own personal thoughts are; 50ppl per square mile is a safe population density...

What do you think is safe? (promotes survivability)

What do you think is unsafe? (diminishes survivability)
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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If we had an EMP such as in One Second After, I suspect 10 percent would be high almost anywhere. The exception would be places where people are already fairly self-sufficient, and most important, not particularly dependent upon technologies that might be destroyed by EMP.

The Amish come to mind.

I don't think you can come up with a basic figure on this. It depends (and I know you said this but it's still the determining factor) on issues like natural soil fertility, rainfall, water sources, lack of population pressure from nearby areas, issues concerning dealing with dead bodies and lack of sanitation and disease, and so on.

It's not like you can divide the country into 1-mile squares, put up REALLY high walls at those boundaries, and see what happens.

Wherever there is population pressure, lack of resources, violence, whatever, people will move away from those areas. Thus, your "per square mile" density will change quite quickly, rendering the original calculation meaningless.

Now if you could just keep 'em there until they died or thrived.... :)
 

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I really think it depends on how violent your neighbours are. we'd survive better here in Canada just above the American border simply because there are a lot fewer guns and people are more willing to help their neighbours

you do realize that in a serious SHTF and WROL the border will simply dissolve .... even if the Canadian gooberment takes out the bridge crossings I'll guarantee you'll see raiders coming across .... they'll head for the eazy booty everytime ....
 

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Important Well Established Consideration And Thank You

Excellent question. Ideally, the small remote farming community, (pop. 500?) MIGHT have the best chance of getting through 1 month, 1 year and 1 decade after a major TEOTWAWKI or SHTF catastrophe. However, the dynamics of a post collapse environment would be extreme. In the end it might always depend upon just good people.

And.....never start a new paragraph with a conjunction. No...wait. What I mean is "No Matter Where You Go....There You Are. You Take It With You". We live in rural SW OR in a small mountain valley town of about 1100 folks. We all know each other, or nearly so. Even here....there are too many deer rifles and not enough food on the shelves.

Not good. HB of CJ (old coot)
 

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It depends on what the disaster is and also what the population is made up of, if you had a population of say mormans who have lots of preppers and just might hold together you could have a very high population density .
The sort of people who have no stored food and who will just riot and shoot each other, I dont see them surviving that well .
The swiss might do very well, the japanese I think would do better than the people in haiti,
 

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It's Survival Of
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And.....never start a new paragraph with a conjunction. No...wait. What I mean is "No Matter Where You Go....There You Are. You Take It With You". We live in rural SW OR in a small mountain valley town of about 1100 folks. We all know each other, or nearly so. Even here....there are too many deer rifles and not enough food on the shelves.

Not good. HB of CJ (old coot)
Hey take it easy on me... I never technically passed the 6th grade, or any grade past that. I do alright on my good days. :thumb:

And just so I don't leave it like that, yes I went back and took my GED. I then pursued college and got a degree I don't use today.

hoo kneeds en edumacascion.
 

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This is not just some average number: 1. The place has to be at least 200 miles away from a large city, SEPARATED from it by some serous natural obstacles. 2. It has to be far outside of even the smallest town, SEPARATED from it by a serious obstacle. 3. The climate can not be too harsh NOW. If the climate changes to be much colder, the places currently cold without meaningful growing season, would be completely uninhabitable.
4. The place itself should be built like a fortress: no matter where you are, you would be attacked by bands of raiders. And many many other details.
 

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This is an almost impossible question to answer as there are WAY too many variables to consider in order to answer it accurately.

1) What sort of event occurred? This has two ways in which it effects the results:

- The amount of advance notice people had will affect population density in a number of ways ranging from organized evacuations to selective evacuations and relocations by individual decision (such as going to stay with family until "it" blows over). It will also affect the amount of travel going on, people going away to school and on vacation, etc. For example, I live in a school and tourist based city; depending on the time of year our resident population varies dramatically. The advance warning also has an effect on incidental deaths (IE: if we are expecting a certain threat, we mitigate it in a lot of ways). As well, certain types of threats will change human behavior, having a serious effect on the casualty numbers of certain types of events.

- The nature of the event determines the numbers on immediate and secondary to the event deaths. In your EMP example, there are not a lot of immediate deaths, but there will be LOTS of secondary to the event deaths as planes fall from the sky, people on life support have it fail, etc etc. A nuke has immediate deaths, then secondary thermal and such effects...then the tertiary radiation cases and such. The number of immediate and secondary deaths are going to have a huge effect on population density.


2) What time of year did the event occur. This has several different types of effects on population numbers and the effect of the event:

- Season can not only mitigate the effects of the event (fire trying to spread in wet season) but can concentrate the effects (everyone is inside during the bad weather that causes the mudslide). It can also have major effects on post event survival as clearly an event causing people to lose power and shelter unexpectedly in winter is more severe than in summer (for most people).

- Time of year, as previously discussed, can affect the numbers making up the regional population. People coming in or going away for vacations are a classic example, while the way some mining and logging regions inflate during the work season and deflate during down time is another.


3) What region did it occur in? Some regions are more sparsely or densely populated year round than others, no matter the seasons and employment types, thus causing their populations to be much more stable. This can be a good and bad thing depending on the nature of the event and other factors.


4) Being in a more sparsely populated region during some events actually complicates your odds of survival. For example, in a more sparsely populated region, you are more likely to have less law enforcement officers, less doctors, less teachers, etc etc so that the loss of one or two such people in the event has a much more profound effect on the overall population during recovery periods. As well, during efforts to restore essential services, sparsely populated regions will be lower down on recovery and assistance lists for road repair, electrical restoration, supplies, etc.


5) Related to #4, some events will pretty much require a coming together of the survivors in order to do anything more than just get by. If you want to rebuild, have kids who will one day have children of their own, have quality of life, etc there are many benefits to coming together as a group over sitting in BOLs as small families of isolated survivors. In a sparse population region, this is a lot harder to do.


And that does not even get into other factors. Sparsely populated regions are popular locations for government retreats, facilities like HAARP, and the like. By trying to head for the hill, you may in fact end up running CLOSER to government oversight than you had been where you were. Oh, and don't kid yourself, you will NOT (in almost all cases) know there is a government facility near you until the event comes down and the small town of 700 your BOL was nearest to is crawling with Humvees.

Sparsely populated regions are ALSO just the sorts of places everyone who survives is going to read is ideal to head to. Been in any sort of book store lately? Everywhere we can see TEOTWAWKI books and such, easily available to all survivors after the event, saying "head to the hills young man!". Everyone with a AAA road map will be looking for safe places to head to as the cities become places they don't want to be anymore.

I could go on, but I think I made the point. There are just too many factors to realistically and usefully answer this question without creating a true case by case scenario. Guesstimating percentages of survivors, no matter how you do it, is nothing but mental masturbation and really a pointless exercise.

I mean, come up with whatever number you like if you don't care whether it is accurate or not. I just recommend you not base any of your actual prep plans on that number.
 

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I think we can safely say, the two variables are related to one another something like my fancy graph indicates.


The exact details of the graph, depend on the exact details of the circumstances.

eta: No negative population in my chart, undead aren't covered.
 

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Writer's block
I think you overcomplicate things:One moves to a location based on his personal factors, his natural character and world view. Not to forget his financial situation, his health and age. None of the little details really matter, IMO. And of course, the write-up reflects Canadian mentality, that absolutely doesn't apply to most members here. Which goes back to my statement about people's world view, which is pretty much a primary factor. For example you mention doctors, teachers and LEOs. In America, the presence of these is a negative or neutral, not a positive. And the deaths in EMP from people in the hospitals etc., are a miniscule proportion of all deaths in the event (any scenario, not just EMP), which is a lack of food, which results in violence and disease. By the way, EMP is not a major factor (on an individual scale) if one lives in a potentially survivable area: practically everyone owns an EMP proof vehicle.
 

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TheFittest; The Joke Was Not Meant On You

I was playing the joke on myself...not you. Sorry for the confusion, but then I confuse easily nowadays. Until you mentioned it, I did not even know that YOU also started a paragraph....with a conjunction. The laugh is on both of us it seems. Opps.

Ideally, it might be best if a small community of tribe size, (about 200?) could inhabit a very very remote furtile place with no other people around and also have the ability to either store or produce their own needs indefinitely. Not a very probable situation

HB of CJ (old coot) I did not graduate from freshman English 101 until I was 32 years old. I stil kants speeel korrectlie. :) :) Left Handed is my excuse. Old coot also. :) Love this excellent forum. I spend too much time here. Anything else? Duhh.
 

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I agree that population-density over 10/sq mile is getting too populated.

Population-density is only one of a dozen [or more] factors.

When we were deciding on where to move to, we stuck with 10 or less.

In rural areas, you already have a much higher percentage of folks who are already living off-grid subsistence farming. The incidence of hunters / fishermen / trappers is also fairly high. I mean people who normally routinely feed their families with meat that they go tin the woods [not trophy hunters who hired a guide once 5 years ago].
 
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