Population: 2 million.
Population Density: 18 per square mile (Rank 13 of JWR’s top 19 states).
Area: 110,561 square miles (rank 7 of 50).
Average car insurance cost: $937/yr. (rank 7 of 50).
Average home insurance cost: $479/yr. (rank 21 of 50).
Crime Safety Ranking: 49 of 50.
Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 76%.
Per capita income: $29,506 (15 rank of 50).
ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 25 of 50.
Comments: One editor listed in the acknowledgements stubbornly insists
that my ranking below is unfair to parts of Nevada. Nevada is really “a tale of two states”: Las Vegas and then all the rest. Las Vegas has the same urban problems as Los Angeles, which affects the insurance and crime numbers above. Las Vegas has a severe desert climate that is hostile to agriculture, and most residents are dependent on water from elsewhere. Las Vegas is not worth of consideration, and its influence on the state’s statistics conceals a very viable and potentially desirable relocation alternative in Northern Nevada.
Plusses: No income tax, relatively pro-gun ownership, except for Clark County’s (Las Vegas) handgun registration laws. Northern Nevada, particularly Reno and the Carson Valley (which will be listed second tier relocation region in my subsequent posts) have mild summers not requiring air-conditioning, ample water from snow melt from the Sierra Nevada mountain range, widespread ranching and hay production, better schools than Las Vegas, and solidly conservative political demographics (except for inner Reno). Healthy economy with many companies relocating from California. Northern Nevada is considered an ideal off-the-grid solar power location, with plenty of sun during the moderately chilly winters.
Nevada is not recommended for a survivalist with a small to moderate budget. However, for someone who is wealthy and who can stand the climate, Nevada should be bumped up a notch or two. Taxes will be a big issue for you—and Nevada has no income tax. As someone “of means” you will be able to afford lots of food storage, voluminous fuel storage, and a large greenhouse to make up for the hot summers/cold winters climate of the Nevada high country. (See my posts in a week or two for specific recommendations within Nevada.)
Minuses: Expensive land in the more desirable areas with plentiful water. May suffer from the “Golden Horde” effect–a huge wave of refugees and looters pouring in from more populous California in in the event of an abrupt TEOTWAWKI. Water is scarce in Nevada, at least south and east of the Sierras.Also consider: extremely high crime rate (Las Vegas severely skews this statistic), minimal agriculture (except for some hay growing and ranching in the northern portions of the state), high sales tax, expensive car registration for newer cars (but a friend in Nevada reports that a 10-year-old vehicle that was originally purchased for $50,000 costs only $68 per year to register), exploding population growth (the fastest in the U.S. due primarily to Las Vegas), the lowest church attendance rate in the country (ranked 50 of 50 – the state is more libertarian than conservative), and heavy dependence on gambling for tax revenue. Has a low rating in “education freedom” (ranked #47 of 50). While Nevada’s calculated per capita “tax burden” is 12% higher than the national average for all 50 states, much of this comes from tourist gambling revenues, so those non-gamblers in their prime earning years may still find Nevada to be a relatively low tax haven. Nevada has refreshingly lax incorporation laws. There is a risk that statewide political control could shift to the pro-tax liberals of Las Vegas (although the state Constitution requires a 2/3 majority to create an income tax). Some central and northern regions of the state with plentiful surface water are recommended—but with provisos.
JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 14 of 19 (Note: I’d probably rank it at 7 or 8 if it weren’t for Las Vegas.)