BUG OUT: Staying Away From High Density Population Centers

Major Population Centers

When choosing a Bugout Location, one of the primary factors in picking a site should be the population density of that location. In my opinion, the farther you are away from large areas of people, the safer you will be.

Why Avoiding Big Cities During Bug-Out Disasters is Crucial

When planning to bug out, making the right decisions can be a matter of life or death. When it comes to bug-out scenarios, the importance of strategic planning and avoiding potential hazards should be oe of your top concerns – one of the biggest threats will be highly-populated urban centers.

We’ve talked about this many times in the past, but I think it’s worth repeating; during an all-out collapse scenario, people will likely become one of the largest threats to your safety and security. During a societal collapse situation, areas with the highest population densities will be the most vulnerable to high levels of social unrest and crime, will experience the highest likelihood for epidemics and disease, and will see the highest death tolls due to lack of resources and sanitation.

Top Threats in Big Cities that Make Them a Threat to Your Survival

Big City Threats

1. Overwhelmed Infrastructure:

Big cities are built for convenience and efficiency. However, when disaster strikes, the same systems that keep big cities running will quickly become their downfall. The sheer concentration of people means that infrastructure, such as roads, utilities, grocery stores, and emergency services, will be quickly overwhelmed. Trying to bug out after things go bad or attempting to move through crowded streets and highways will expose you to a large number of threats.

2. Limited Resources and Supplies:

In times of crisis and social unrest, demand for essential resources is going to go through the roof. Panic buying and people stockpiling shit they do not need will lead to a rapid depletion of supplies, leaving little for those who waited until the last minute. Accessing food, water, medical aid, and other necessities will become a life-or-death challenge. In contrast, rural and less densely populated areas of the country are more likely to have natural resources, such as freshwater sources and wildlife, providing better opportunities for self-sufficiency.

3. Heightened Security Risks:

During bug-out scenarios, people will become desperate and, in all likelihood, will quickly resort to violence or looting to secure what they need. With their tightly packed neighborhoods and limited escape routes, big cities can become breeding grounds for lawlessness and chaos. As a prepper, your primary concern is to protect yourself and your loved ones from being caught in a chaotic urban environment where you increase your vulnerability to crime and social unrest.

4. Communication Breakdowns:

Even small-scale disasters can cause a city’s communication systems to collapse or become overloaded. In cities, where reliance on technology is high, loss of communication can be particularly devastating. Staying informed about the disaster or threats, receiving emergency alerts, or coordinating with fellow preppers may become impossible in urban settings. Choosing rural areas with a smaller population ensures better chances of staying connected and informed.

5. Exposure to Health Risks:

Crowded cities are breeding grounds for contagious diseases, especially during disasters when sanitation and healthcare may be compromised. People in big cities are far more likely to be subjected to exposure to infected people or contaminated surroundings during a biological attack.

When preparing for bug-out disasters, the significance of avoiding big cities cannot be overstated. When choosing a bug out location or survival retreat, we recommend staying as far away from these high density population centers as possible. To get an idea of where these areas are, and which areas are the best locations to Bug Out to, check out these maps and satellite images.

Population Maps

Population density maps

Approximately 65 percent of the U.S. population, or nearly 2 out of every 3 Americans, live in the red line, known as the “100 Mile Border Zones.”

U.S. counties with lowest density, people per squre mile (2020)

1. Yukon-Koyukuk (Alaska) – 0.03
2. Lake and Peninsula (Alaska) – 0.06
3. Yakutat (Alaska) – 0.10
4. North Slope (Alaska) – 0.10
5. Denali (Alaska) – 0.16
6. Northwest Arctic (Alaska) – 0.21
7. Esmeralda (Nevada) – 0.25
8. Dillingham (Alaska) – 0.26
9. Garfield (Montana) – 0.26
10. Kenedy (Texas) – 0.28
11. Loving (Texas) – 0.28
12. Southeast Fairbanks (Alaska) – 0.29
13. Terrel (Texas) – 0.30
14. King (Texas) – 0,30
15. Petroleum (Montana) – 0,30
16. Harding (New Mexico) – 0,37
17. Carter (Montana) – 0,43
18. Nome (Alaska) – 0,44
19. Bethel (Alaska) – 0,49
20. Lincoln (Nevada) – 0.49

U.S. counties with highest population density, people per square mile (2020)

1. New York (New York) – 70828.33
2. Kings (New York) – 42513.96
3. Bronx (New York) – 35088.64
4. Queens (New York) – 21162.42
5. San Francisco (California) – 18352.05
6. Hudson (New Jersey) – 11888.95
7. Suffolk (Massachusetts) – 11682.96
8. District of Columbia (District of Columbia) – 10799.44
9. Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) – 10772.01
10. Manassas Park (Virginia) – 10407.00
11. Richmond (New York) – 9875.76
12. Arlington (Virginia) – 9285.96
13. Alexandria (Virginia) – 9201.19
14. Baltimore City (Maryland) – 6866.38
15. Essex (New Jersey) – 6168.09
16. Cook (Illinois) – 5301.71
17. Union (New Jersey) – 5150.45
18. Norfolk (Virginia) – 5026.96
19. Nassau (New York) – 4954.24
20. Harrisonburg (Virginia) – 4765.16

No matter what disaster hits, facing it in a large city is going to be a whole lot harder than facing it in a rural area. From breakdowns in delivery systems that will make it impossible to find food and water, to rampant looting and crime that will make living in the city a threat to your personal safety and security, the fact is most Major American cities are unsustainable death traps.

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  1. The satellite maps showing night lights – it must be remembered that it only shows the electrified areas with high population density. Central Africa is highly populated and incredibly dangerous, for example.

  2. Little do most people know but the real danger is an EMP either from the sun or man made (most likely China if they demand payment from the US and we cannot do it)

    An EMP will fry our grid because our grid is computerized which every circuit board will be fried due to the electricity going backwards briefly.

    Every transformer drum in the nation will need to be replaced and you think they store enough for a massive terrorist attack? Think again.

    I have heard from another source that parts for our grid come from guess where…………..China!

    There has been small groups that have urged Congress to harden our grid but Congress instead pushes these groups to the side and continues to act like jackasses.

  3. One more thing. Most vehicles (especially computerized ones) won’t operate because when you turn over the key it creates an electric spark and that spark won’t be there to ignite the gas combustion.

  4. In socal we practice barter and vaporizing. bugging out will not be an option with erny’s everywhere.

  5. Bugging out is a grave error in my humble opinion. You would go from your safe home and familiar neighborhood out into a sea of desperate people all heading in the same direction. Roads will become clogged, then what? Walk? Even if you get through, so will perhaps tens of thousands of others. Where will everyone go? Are people forgetting that other people already own the land all around cities of any size and far into the countryside? Where is all this free open land that bug out folks think they’re going to? Do people think they won’t be shot as looters by the legal landowners that are already living there if the SHTF? It’s better to be prepared and stock up your supplies for staying put for at least 2 or 3 months. The unprepared will die off quicker than most people would expect. There’s a far greater danger being out on the road with your family than staying put for awhile. Visit my blog to find out some interesting points that I calculated using the 2010 Census Results for the 289 largest cities in America with populations over 100K people. After all the 72 hour bug out bags are used up, there will be killing going on out on the highways in extreme proportions. Tempers will flare and many people will think they’re a badass until they get themselves killed. Starving people will go crazy and do anything to get food or die trying.

    • All Good Point. But what if you “KNOW”-or Suspect-there will be a Big Problem before it actually HAPPENS?? Sheltering in place during Hurricane Katrina-or even Sandy-was Not a very good option. Same if you live near Mount Saint Helens. As for the less obvious-TEOWAWKI scenarios, if an ISIS nuke hits-say-the NY Financial Center-it’s a 9/11 on Steroids, and you just KNOW the markets will tank (when they reopen in a new place) and the US Greenback will be worth Zimbabwean Currency in short order.

      THEN-if you can take the back roads-or perhaps, NO road-if you have an ATV-to a secret shelter you have already built-you might be OK.

  6. A few days ago I’ve heard a smart guy that told me “If you don’t want to pay taxes, move to a country without roads.”

  7. I live in a small town in the mountains of Northwest Georgia. And I find that me stocking up on supplies draws no undue attention. Like today I went to Wal-Mart and bought 42 boxes of Rice-A-Roni. And no one even asked me why I bought so much. I mention that to give a real life example of another benefit of a small town…they usually have a higher than normal concentration of Preppers.

  8. What about West Virginia, lower on the population compared to other areas in the east, higher elevation, might be a better option. I was thinking to stay away from the desserts and the west due to 1. distance from my home and 2. distance from Yellowstone should it ever erupt.

  9. Hello all. If you look at things logically then you will see that logic dictates that many people will be getting out, so with that in mind you must realize that most urban dwellers will think that the wilds will be the best place to head. “No disagreement there.” However one must remember once out of their vehicles typically people will travel no more than 8 miles to set up residency. So under these guidelines one would have to take into consideration 1: local pop. 2: most people will be within 1 mile from each other probably not knowing. So it becomes a mathematical equation, plan on this and be prepared to travel by foot further than others will most likely be willing to go. Also the least desirable location will most likely be the best, as long as it is able to be concealed and easily defensible. Just my $.02 worth.

  10. IMO, a “bugout location” really isn’t very realistic. I mean, what are you going to do when you get there? And that’s if you get there? If society breaks down due to say an EMP, well you then have to get to the bug-out location. If the EMP has knocked out lots of vehicles, the roads will be very clogged, so even if anarchy isn’t occurring yet, just getting to the bugout location could be very difficult.

    Rather, it is better to already be bugged out when the SHTF. This means being fairly self-reliant, and living in a community of like-minded people who know you and whom you can band together with to defend your community and sustain yourselves.

  11. We have property in The Bahamas for sale and might have what you are looking for.

    We have an affordable, very safe, and resourceful location on what is called a Family Island. It is a fairly remote location with only a few other neighbors that share miles of beach and rolling hills. The property has spectacular views of ocean and the beach is just steps away.

    The Island consists of mostly fisherman and farmers: Locally grown food (with a 12 month growing season), wild game, and world-class fishing are the way of life. We have all modern amenities with out all of the modern problems.

    The property is ready to build with roads and utilities, also perfect for off-the-grid. We can help you with building approvals and other needs to help your transition to the Island and getting your new home built.

    We are willing to work something out for you to secure this property (if it is what you’re looking for) while in transition. We also provide two weeks free at our Vacation Rental Beach House for property buyers.

    If you would like to know more about this property and what we can do for you then please contact us.

  12. Oh Lord Jesus help me know what to do. Do we really know where to go? I don’t know how much longer usa gonna be safe. feel something is coming.

  13. live in AZ family of 6. looking to share safe havan with others kinda like communal living!! anything going on like that? we would like to meet and join together our recourses and knowledge and contributions. anyone out there wanna share??

  14. Is anyone interested in sharing their prep journey on a Docu-series ? My name is Anjie and I’m in the Prepper Survival Network . I find prepping is essential in trying times we live in among the high political climates, wild fires, and hurricanes to take over. I work as a associate producer at a TV production company in NYC and we’re currently in the process of casting a docu-series about prepping, and I wanted to reach out to see if you or anyone in the community might be interested in hearing a bit more about the project were working on? please reach out to me via text :

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