The Quest for Safety: Is Jackson County, Florida America’s Ideal Retreat Locale?

I recently found a YouTube slide show that is a good example of flawed statistical analysis: Economic Collapse Survival Map – Risk Analysis of best area in United States. In it, you will see how “Paul Revere” narrowed his search down to just Jackson County, Florida. While I’m sure that he was well-intentioned, this gent seems to have assigned undue weight on the factor of year-round crop production. In my estimation, if the power grids go down the key factors in survivability will be population density and proximity to urban areas rather than the ability to grow tomatoes in January.

As an example, let’s compare some statistics for Jackson County, Florida with Lewis County, Idaho. (I tried to pick a small county in the Redoubt with a similar land area.)

Jackson County, Florida:

Population: 49,746
Land Area: 954 square miles
Population Density: 54 per square mile
Institutionalized population: 5,690 (0.11 per county resident)
Number of cattle: 27,000 (0.542 per county resident)
Average size of farms: 247 acres
Average value of agricultural products sold per farm: $39,641
Total Cropland in County: 114,428 acres

Crime (in 2005):
Murders: 1
Rapes: 9
Robberies: 7
Assaults: 135
Burglaries: 236
Thefts: 354
Auto thefts: 33

Nearest Large City: Tallahassee
Population of Tallahassee: 181,376
Distance: 57 Miles (from Marianna)

Florida State Population: 19,317,568
State Population Density: 415.3 inhabitants per square mile

Lewis County, Idaho:

Population: 3,821
Land Area: 479 square miles
Population Density: 8 per square mile
Institutionalized population: 17 (.004 per county resident)
Number of cattle: 4,800 (1.256 per county resident)
Average size of farms: 1,224 acres
Average value of agricultural products sold per farm: $156,792
Total Cropland in County: 137,342 acres

Crime (in 2004):
Murders: 0
Rapes: 0
Robberies: 0
Assaults: 8
Burglaries: 18
Thefts: 39
Auto thefts: 6

Nearest Large City: Spokane, Washington
Population of Spokane: 210,103
Distance: 166 Miles (from Kamiah)

Idaho State Population: 1,595,728
State Population Density: 19.15 inhabitants per square mile

So… Where will you feel safer when the power grids go down, and when presumably a good portion of the institutionalized population could walk out the door?

I should mention that the difficulties of surviving a societal collapse in Florida are described my upcoming novel Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse. Granted, it is set in more populous central Florida (in the vicinity of Tavares) but a lot of the same problems would be evident: a large retiree population; an electric grid dependent on natural-gas fired power plant; an overall high population density; urban centers teeming with welfare-dependent people; a population that is largely disconnected from agrarian self-sufficiency; lack of respect for private property; large prison, jail, and hospital populations; and a fairly high crime rate.

But I must also mention one positive factor in Florida: Because of the high crime rate, the population has widely embraced concealed carry of firearms in the past decade. (Florida is nicknamed “The Gunshine State,” and has the highest per-capita number of concealed carry permits in the nation There are one million CCW permit holders in the state!)

In Idaho, few people feel the need to do so, but open carry of guns is perfectly legal both inside and outside of city limits, vehicular open carry is also legal both inside and outside of city limits, and no-permit concealed carry is allowed outside of city limits. (Which means 98% of the State.) And if you do want a concealed carry permit, then their issue is non-discretionary and affordable in Idaho. – J.W.R.