The Best and Worst States for Zombie Apocalypse Survival

Believe it or not, it’s Zombie Awareness Month, so it’s safe to say that the thought of a possible zombie apocalypse is on everyone’s minds right now. We’re talking Google breakout searches like “Are zombies coming in 2024”, “10 ways to survive the zombie apocalypse”, and “Would a zombie apocalypse be possible?”

It’s evident that Americans are gearing up for the undead, in the not-so-distant future. With that said, we wanted to know which states offer the highest and lowest chance of survival, based on three essential factors: environmental conditions (36%), hiding spots (25%), and valuable professions (39%). We weighted these factors into our very own ‘Zombie Apocalypse Survival Index’ to reveal which states are safe havens, and which could be a zombies’ favorite buffet. 

Key Findings:

  • California is the ultimate zombie safe zone, with a perfect score of 100
  • For those in the South-Central region, Texas is your second-best option with a score of 88.39
  • The third-safest state is Florida, with a total score of 73.28. This is the best option for those situated on the East Coast
  • Avoid Rhode Island at all costs, as it’s shaping up to be the ultimate zombie hotspot

The scoring spectrum

Don’t sharpen your stakes just yet, as you might be living in or near some of America’s safe zones. To be considered a safe zone, states had to excel in the various critical areas:

  • Freshwater accessibility
  • Firearm ownership rates
  • Abundance of gas stations, farms, army bases, and prisons
  • High presence of military and law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, farmers, scientists and engineers
  • Low population density and crime rate

Zombie-proof states: Where to live, when the dead walk

The best state to stake out in during a zombie apocalypse is California, with a perfect score of 100. The Golden State wins gold in their A-list lineup of valuable professions, safe havens, and environmental factors. As they have the highest valuable professions per capita, assembling a dream team of military and law enforcement, healthcare experts, scientists and engineers, and farmers, should easily help you fight the dead. California also boasts a staggering 73 army bases (the most in the nation), and an abundance of farms and prisons to hide in. Although they’re not the roomiest (ranking 11th in population density) and have the fifth lowest firearm ownership rate (16.3%), its low crime rate (30th out of 50) and horde of gas stations easily makes up for it. Combine all these factors together, the undead won’t be seen strolling down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Yeehaw, Texas is your second-best bet for riding out the zombie apocalypse rodeo, as it lassoed in 88.39 points according to our index. Despite the fact that the Lone Star State has the highest crime rate nationwide, it compensates with the bounty of 10,904 gas stations (highest in the country) to fuel your getaway car – in case of traitor alliances or zombie mobs. Texas leads the nation with the highest number of farms (246,000), second in army bases, and third in prisons per capita. Looking to trade in those less-than-trustworthy sidekicks? Don’t fret, Texas is the runner-up for valuable sidekick professions, right behind California. Despite being a large and arid state, it places 6th place in freshwater accessibility; while comfortably placing itself in the middle of nationwide rankings for population density and firearm ownership rate (35.5%). Time to dust off your cowboy boots and holster those rifles! 

Hey zombies, get out of my swamp! Florida sports the bronze medal for the third safest state to navigate the zombie apocalypse, with a score of 73.28. The Sunshine State reigns as champion when it comes to state prisons (143) and army base numbers (41) – we can thank Florida Man for these perfect hideout spots. Even though their population density lands them eight, their low crime rate (28.8%), seventh-highest freshwater accessibility, and third-highest number of gas stations (6,243) easily makes up for it. Zombies, beware! 

Rounding out the top five list, Virginia takes fourth place with a score of 66.31, as Michigan solidifies its position in fifth, with 64.51 points. So whether you’re on the East or West coast, or somewhere in between, you have a lifeline of escape options in case of the zombie apocalypse.

Don’t open, dead inside: States to avoid like the plague

If you happen to be living in one of these zombie hotspots, it might be time to pack a survival kit, create an escape plan (for the purely hypothetical zombie outbreak, of course), or simply hone down on your sprinting skills.

The absolute last place you want to be is in Rhode Island, as they rank dead last (50th) with big, fat zero points. You can kiss distance and privacy goodbye as Rhode Island unfortunately boasts the second-highest population density (per square mile). Not only that, but your self-defense options are pretty limited as their firearm ownership rate is only 13.9% – this ranks as fourth-worst nationwide (in terms of defense). You can also forget the idea of a getaway car since they come second to last in gas station numbers. We hope you’re good at hide and seek too since farms (49th), army bases (47th), and prisons (47th) aren’t in abundance here; oh and reliable sidekicks as they’re short in supply, so we strongly recommend you set your sights on a different state for your survival. 

It’s not just Rhode Island you should avoid because the Upper East Coast doesn’t fare too well either. New Jersey (49th) scores 10.12 points, Connecticut (48th) with 10.97 points, and Delaware (47th) with 17.64 points all share the similar and less-than-ideal survival factors as Rhode Island. To round off the bottom five, Nevada sits in 46th with a total score of 21.47. Not only will they have to fend off zombies, but also for potential alien invasions – talk about a double whammy!


Whether you’re a zombie-fanatic, a meticulous planner, or pondering the zombie apocalypse while watching “Shaun of the Dead” for its 20th anniversary, our index is ready to guide and assist you with your survival plans.


In May 2024, we asked ChatGPT to create a general criteria for the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Index. Once created, we grouped some of the suggested factors into different weighted categories:

  1. Environmental (36%)
    1. Population density (per square mile) – 7%
    2. Firearm ownership rates – 10%
    3. Freshwater accessibility (water surface area per square mile) – 9%
    4. Crime rate (per 100k) – 4%
    5. Number of gas stations – 6%
  2. Hiding spots (25%)
    1. Number of farms – 7%
    2. Number of army bases – 10%
    3. Number of prisons – 8%
  3. Valuable professions (39%)
    1. Number of military and law enforcement workers per capita – 10%
    2. Number of healthcare professionals per capita – 12%
    3. Number of scientists and engineers per capita – 10%
    4. Number of farmers per capita – 7%

Each state was then scored on a scale of 0-100 to find the best and worst states for zombie apocalypse survival. 

State-specific data were collected from the following sites:

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Feel free to use the data or visuals on this page for non-commercial purposes. Please be sure to include proper attribution linking back to this page to give credit to the authors. 

For any questions, please contact rhiannon.odonohoe[at]