Would Rural Areas Be Safer In A SHTF Situation?

By: Tom Chatham

In a situation where national infrastructure and life sustaining resources are suddenly cut off , population density will have a lot to do with how well you get by in the days following the crisis. When it happens, what you have on hand will likely be all you have to work with for an extended time. Those that lack supplies will seek out and take what they need in an increasingly hostile manner as time goes on. This is why being in a large city will likely be hazardous to your well being.

Very few will argue that being in a rural area when something catastrophic happens will greatly increase your chances of survival. A lower population density and more available natural resources to help you get by will make long term survival much easier. This is why so many people advocate heading for a rural area when something happens. The problem is unless you are already established in a rural area, survival will not necessarily be easier.

Leaving the city when supplies and infrastructure are shut down would work only up to a point. Rural areas are like anywhere else. They have infrastructure designed to service a certain number of people that normally live there. The housing, restaurants, roadways, water systems and grocery stores will only handle a small excess of people even in the best of times. When the city dwellers suddenly evacuate to the rural areas in mass, they will simply be taking many of their big city problems with them. They will likely find no housing, food supplies or other infrastructure they need to live.

Because of this many small towns will likely close their roads at some point and prevent entry to anyone who does not live there. They will suddenly realize their already finite resources will not be enough for themselves much less thousands of new people. This realization will likely come only after they have been inundated with strangers demanding supplies and housing. It is for this reason that rural dwellers should hope cities are locked down fairly quickly to prevent people from leaving.

When Henry Kaiser built a new shipyard in Richmond, Ca. in the 1940’s the town was suddenly overwhelmed with new workers. People lived in shoddy trailers they towed in, some slept in boarding houses in shifts and the schools ran three shifts a day. Eventually they built the new infrastructure they needed and life went on but this only happened because they were living in normal times when everything was working properly. Imagine an influx of people into a small town when supplies are already limited and likely to get worse as time goes on.

That is why it is essential that you establish yourself in a rural area before something happens. Simply hoping to show up following an event is no plan and will likely cause resentment by the locals when supplies run low.

Rural areas offer the opportunity to be much more self reliant than city spaces. This is the reason rural areas offer people a better chance to survive something like a grid down scenario. This is only true until the carrying capacity of the rural area is breached. That is when the city problems become rural problems. Simply moving a mass of unprepared people to another area with even less infrastructure will not solve the problem, it will only change the surroundings and create other problems.

There is an old saying that you never eat your seed stock. Self sufficient people know this because if they eat their seeds or butcher their breeding stock they will not have anything to raise the following year which will lead to eventual starvation or loss of future income. To an unprepared person that thinks food is produced in a factory, preserving seed stock makes no sense when they are hungry right now. They do not care about next year, they only care about today which is why they got into their situation in the first place. This is the type of situation that can doom a society if they lose the ability to produce future crops, even on a small scale.

Will rural areas be safer in a SHTF situation? Only if they can maintain order and protect the resources they have to insure long term sustainability of the community. Most communities are not prepared for this type of situation and will need a steep learning curve if they are to survive it. Many will likely not survive it.

Modern farming communities do not have the infrastructure to maintain themselves like many once did. Factory farming has moved much of the local production to central locations around the nation and few farmers produce their own seed locally. These and other modern systems will make it difficult for many farm communities to even care for their own much less thousands of new arrivals.

The only communities that are likely to survive in tact are the ones that are mostly self sufficient already and have a plan to maintain production and protect themselves from looters and overcrowding. Simply running to a rural area in a time of crisis is no cure all. Wherever you are, the key to survival will be advance preparation and a good plan.


Posted on January 17, 2018, in Commentary, Preparedness. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Problem is, most of us work in cities and need to keep a job to live. Many younger people know nothing about farming or living off grid. Retirees must live in cities (us, friends) for medical issue follow ups like thyroid tests, etc. Rx drugs from local drug store, easy access to grocery stores and hospitals, etc. and other shopping is something many have grown up not knowing any other way of life. Have been reading your blog for sometime. Luv Dave Hodges, Rockwell and others. I have known about globalist agendas for forty years now. Many former y2k preppers are no longer concerned about prepping or bugging out, thinking nothing will ever happen except weather issues like hurricanes which we prep for.

    • Yes, I know what you mean. Good jobs in rural areas are getting harder to find every year thats why 80% of the population lives in and around cities. You do not necessarily need to move to a rural area to establish yourself. Simply visiting there enough to be known by some of the locals will go a long way to being accepted if you suddenly show up one day. Several years ago I wrote some articles about prepping in the city and many people said no, no, no you must go the the country. The problem is that many people lack the ability to just throw on a 60 lb pack and walk to a small town. Many people will be forced to stay where they are because of their situation. That is why it is so important to prep and have a plan if you must stay.

  2. For an interesting perspective on how this might play out, I would recommend the television series Jericho featuring Skeet Urlich and Lennie James: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805663/?ref_=nv_sr_1

  3. Very perceptive thoughts. During the Katrina debacle some people were attempting to walk across a bridge into the next county and were fired upon by police. That could have been you or me.

    One prepper author, I think it was Howard Ruff, suggested that a small town, not in the middle of nowhere, would be a more likely place to move to. A college town (containing experts in agriculture and engineering) in a rural setting is my choice.

    • Yes. I think anyone that is serious about prepping should have a safe area to go to when necessary and they should be familiar with the area before hand as well as some of the locals. It would make things a lot easier when the time comes.

  4. I moved to an island with where winters are gentle rain for the most part. A sea with fish, forests with deer and rabbit … lots of ammo and a stash of food that would last at least a month. Also on high ground. Log growing seasons. I am always amazed at reliant most people are on the systems. I rely on it too, but I like to have a plan B.

  5. Moving to a rural area is more than just the physical move. Accepting and integrating into our culture is going to be necessary too. Just because you are here doesn’t make you “one of us”. Too often people look out into rural areas and not knowing what they are looking at, see a blank slate just waiting to be made into their own image of paradise.
    Lots of luck with that.
    Mostly its older retirees who can finally afford to move out to the “country” after making their fortunes somewhere else, usually a place more regulated and comfortable to their tastes, that come out here and eventually begin trying to get involved making it like “when I lived in (inset name of place other than current location)”. We don’t want that obviously.
    While hard to make a living in a small town, we who stayed and struggled through, don’t appreciate you trying to take over and make it like the place we chose to avoid. We were usually trying to avoid you.
    Figure out how to survive where you are at instead of pre-invading. All you are really trying to do is beat the horde. You dont really want to become like us, rather you want to enjoy the results of our privation, while having your latte too.

    • You hit that right on the nose chuck. Where I live those retired from government moved in and within 30 years completely changed the culture of the area. They get their big pensions and could care less about jobs for the locals. They want their coffee shops and antique stores and want everything their way.I know this is not the only rural area that has suffered from that type of invasion.

  6. You wont use the comment, that’s fine.
    But you get the idea.
    I don’t encourage people to colonize your home, don’t do it to us.

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