Relocation Resources for Liberty-Loving Survivalists
assembled by William S. Statler

Last updated: Thu, 13 Aug 2009

This article is years out-of-date, has many broken links, and will not be updated.

Purpose of this site

Relocation: A permanent or long-term move to a new home. This website focuses on rural and semi-rural locations (primarily in the US) that are compatible with a lifestyle of greater self-sufficiency and independence.

Resources: Links to useful websites; micro-reviews of useful books, maps, and other material.

Liberty-Loving: Folks who do not want, need, or trust anyone else to control how they live. People who seek the right to do as they see fit, and respect the equal right of every other person to do the same.

Survivalists: People who plan ahead for minor crises or major disasters.

The popular conception of a survivalist is the camo-clad guy who's prepared to hunker in his bunker with his 20-year supply of beans and rice and his arsenal of weapons and ammo for defense against the roving hordes of post-apocalyptic mutant welfare recipients. Modern survivalism is really much broader than that. If you've ever had the foresight to stock up on canned food just in case there's a snowstorm, or to pay off your credit cards just in case you lose your job, you're a survivalist.

As part of their survival planning, many people hope to leave their current homes for somewhere with fewer people, greater liberty, and enough land for growing food. If you're looking for a rural homestead but don't know where to start, I hope this site will be helpful.

Multipurpose Sites

National Atlas of the United States. This government site has a large number of pre-made printable maps covering a variety of data. But for greatest versatility, use the Map Maker to select data from a large list of data sources including such things as agricultural use, ecoregions, land cover, Federal lands, precipitation, tornadoes, hazardous waste sites, seismic and landslide hazards, Presidential election results, census and income data, aquifers, and many, many more. has detailed information on nearly every city, town, and county in the United States. Of particular interest is their forum, where you can often find firsthand descriptions of even the most rural spots.

Terrain, Climate, and Natural Resources

Maps and Satellite Imagery

Google Maps: excellent for roads and satellite photos, frequently with enough detail to see individual buildings even in rural areas.

The DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer topo map books for each state (also available in ten regional boxed sets). For convenience and clarity, no map software can beat these 11"x15½" paperback atlases. (Note: the above links are to the publisher's website, but you can usually buy these cheaper elsewhere.)

Climate Maps and Data

Interactive USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Sunset's Climate Zone Maps: much more detail than the USDA hardiness zone maps. Sunset divides the U.S. (lower 48) and southern Canada into 45 climate zones based on a number of criteria.

The aforementioned National Atlas of the United States has a collection of precipitation maps in PDF format for each state.

Natural Resources

USGS Water Resources of the United States.

USDA Web Soil Survey: soil maps and data.

Hazards, Natural or Manmade

USGS Seismic Hazards Maps. For additional local information, see the US Earthquake Information by State page.

The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory offers maps showing the likelihood of tornadoes, thunderstorms with high winds, and damaging hail. Also of interest are these maps from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln: all tornado tracks in the US lower 48 from 1950-2005, and F3 and stronger tornadoes for the same period.

GeoMAC Wildfire Map. By default, this displays current fires, but the buttons on the right let you display the locations of fires from previous years. Past results are no guarantee of future performance, as they say, but this can give you a rough idea of how flammable your chosen location is. (More info and a user's guide are on the GeoMAC home page.)

Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging

USFWS list of links to state agencies that manage fish and wildlife resources.

For yet more links, see this thread on The Survival Podcast Forum: State by State Conservation/Hunting/Fishing Resources.

Firearms and Other Weapons great summaries of state laws on concealed and in-vehicle firearms carrying, plus many links to federal, state, and Indian tribal laws, train/bus/airline rules, knife-related laws, etc. tons of info on laws affecting open (unconcealed) carrying of firearms.

The Brady Campaign, although vehemently opposed to gun rights, maintains an informative website that compares and summarizes state laws restricting firearms ownership and usage.

Real Estate and Housing

Trulia real estate listing price heat map. House price comparison at a glance, on a color-coded map. Individual state maps show prices by county; county maps are broken down by zip code. Very useful! But, two caveats: One, the maps show listing (i.e., asking) prices, not actual sales prices. And two, in rural areas the data is statistically erratic because of the very small number of listings and the wide variation in the type of property being sold.

Trulia also offers a searchable database of real estate for sale, as does is a similar site which includes data on recently-sold homes.

For services that specialize in rural land, farms, and homes with acreage, try:

Note that the above services will probably miss most "For Sale By Owner" properties — for these, you may need to seek out local classified ads.

Economy and Employment

NumbersUSA provides maps of income levels, population change, and foreign-born percentage. (Disclaimer: I do not endorse the political goals of this organization.)

Political and Social Climate

It's difficult to map out the politics and the social "feel" of an area without actually living there for a while. There can be huge differences from one county to the next, or even between adjacent neighborhoods. Major news media focus on the largest urban areas, which may give an erroneous impression that an entire state is run by big-government liberals and hence undesirable. Conversely, some very serious small-town crime and gang problems may remain invisible (unless you know which local news sources to check).

But here are a few not-entirely-satisfactory data sources that might help:

New York Times Presidential Election Results Map (requires Flash). Very nice interactive map showing the major-party popular vote in Presidential elections since 1992. Click on "County Leaders" to see how strongly D or R each county voted.

Maps of religious groups and membership by county, compiled by the Glenmary Research Center, can be viewed from this Valparaiso University page. The same data (plus some census and crime statistics) are available in a different format from the Association of Religion Data Archives.

The Southern Poverty Law Center maintains a map of active US hate groups. This one comes with a lot of caveats. SPLC focuses only on racist and anti-gay groups, and so will miss (for example) eco-terrorists or the black-clad idiots who throw rocks through Starbucks windows. Their map only shows headquarters and chapters of the groups, but the members may actually live anywhere. Also, SPLC has a history of bias against libertarian and conservative academics and groups. Finally, it is impossible for them to map the low-level intolerance that may be the social norm in some areas.

Medical Care and Other Services

Quality Check, a searchable database of hospitals and other healthcare organizations accredited by The Joint Commission.

Many rural hospitals do not have Joint Commission accreditation. Below are some state listings:

Things to Do, Things to See

...coming eventually...

Other People's Opinions

Recommendations compiled by other survivalists can be a timesaver, but be sure to check that their criteria align with your own.

Rawles (of SurvivalBlog) has a detailed article on Recommended Retreat Areas in the 19 western continental states.

The list of links and resources is non-copyrightable and in the public domain.
All other material copyright © 2009 William S. Statler. This work is licensed under a
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