Recession-proof areas of the United States do exist. Or at least there are areas of the United States that are so slightly effected by recessions compared to the rest of the country, that for all practical purposes they are recession-proof. Living in one of these areas might very well be the single most effective thing you could ever do as a prepper.
During the “Great Recession of 2008” I lived in the Florida Keys. South Florida was one of the worst hit areas in the entire Unites States during that economic downturn, but I was debt-free and working in a field that was totally unaffected by the “Great Recession”. I saw economic devastation all around me, which effected the entire region as severely as a Catagory 5 hurricane, even though I was personally unscathed.
A few years after the “Great Recession of 2008” had passed, I moved away from the Florida Keys to be near my aging father while he was still alive. I moved back to southwest Missouri, where I grew up. Back home again in the mid-west, after nearly 30 years, I noticed something different about the people, and the way they saw the world.
In the Florida Keys I had lived thru one of the most severe economic downturns since the Great Depression of 1929. But in southwest Missouri people didn’t seem to remember anything at all like what I had experienced in 2008 in south Florida. What I remembered was like a giant Tidal Wave of economic devastation, but in the Ozarks people seemed to remember that same recession as something more akin to the ripples from a passing kayak. I had to find out why, and what I learned changed my view of how the world really works.
In 2005-2008 recession, what I saw on the media certainly aligned with what I actually saw with my own eyes when I was living in the Florida Keys, which was one of the highest cost of living areas in this country. But in southwest Missouri, watching any media was like watching a fantasy TV show, it just doesn’t represent the reality of this region of the country. And that’s when I realized that different parts of the United States were as different from each other, as different countries are from each other.
You don’t need to renounce your citizenship and move to another country and live as an ex-Pat to find a better place to live. You could just as well reject the most recession prone areas of this country, and move to a better area. If you eliminate areas with potential economic issues, what’s left are the most stable, low cost of living and recession resistant areas in the entire U.S.
The entire U.S. has the same federal laws, taxes and interest rates. But local governments and states not only have widely differing laws and taxes, they also vary GREATLY in other things that affect the local and state economies. Things like boom & bust cycles of local industries, natural disasters and costs of living. It is these other things that make all the difference when the entire country, or even the entire world experiences economic downturns.
Today there are some parts of the country that are turning into third-world countries, with massive numbers of people fleeing the crime, unemployment and high taxation, looking for somewhere better to live. In other areas of this country, dealing with the same global crises, nobody is fleeing to areas of lower crime, unemployment or taxation, because they are already in the areas with the lowest crime, unemployment and taxation. Southwest Missouri is one of those areas.
After extensive studying of why some areas are less susceptible to economic downturns, here is what I discovered. Some regions have unique characteristics that make the vulnerable to occasional natural disasters that can do so much destruction that will literally destroy the economy in an entire region. Natural disasters of huge magnitude usually happen only every several decades, but when they do, they cause an instant depression across an entire region that can last for many years.
Hurricanes come to mind when you think about natural disasters, but earthquakes and flooding also can have the same level of economic destruction, sometimes covering entire regions of this great country. Everything is great for decades, but when the big disaster hits, like it has in the past, everything you have worked so hard for an entire lifetime can be gone in an instant.
After living nearly 30 years in Hurricane Central, aka the Florida Keys, I’ll never again live in a hurricane zone. The same is true of earthquake zones. The potential for recurring natural disasters eliminates large ares of the U.S. from consideration when you are looking for somewhere with a stable economic future. The mid-west has huge areas that vulnerable to 100 year floods. Have you ever noticed that 100 year events seem to happen a lot more often than once every hundred years? And though you probably thought of California when I mentioned earthquakes, the New Madrid Fault, along the Mississippi River near Memphis, has more destructive potential than even the San Andreas Fault in California. Experts expect that when the big one finally hits, Memphis and St. Louis could suffer massive devastation.
If you happened to notice that I live in southwest Missouri, specifically in Springfield, Missouri, you might be questioning my choice of an area so close to the most destructive fault line in the entire country. I am very aware of this, but extended study shows that not only is Springfield, MO a few hundred miles away from the New Madrid Fault, it also sets on top of a plateau. Experts say that Springfield is actually a safe zone when the big one does hit the New Madrid Fault.
The next thing that can cause an instant depression across an entire region of the country, even when the rest of the world is enjoying economic good-times, is boom-bust cycles of certain industries. Any area that is dominated by one industry is susceptible to an instant depression at any time, even when the rest of the world is prospering. Any area that is dominated by a military base is susceptible to a base closure after the next election when the political tides turn for example. Rental property that has no vacancies and ever increasing rents can become totally vacant almost overnight. And every business that caters to that military base lose most of their customers almost as quick.
Any area with a dominant agriculture industry is just as susceptible. Droughts, floods and widespread hail storms can all cause entire crops to be destroyed over large areas. Cattle operations are always susceptible to the next mad-cow disease. The oil industry is a poster child of boom-bust industries. And lets not forget Detroit and the auto-industry. Areas that are dependent primarily on tourism dollars like Las Vegas and Florida have lots of economic boom-busts too.
Then there are states that are so in-debt, that even by constantly raising there already highest tax rates in the entire country, can’t even slow down the economic disasters that are happening. You probably thought that I was talking about California, New York and Illinois. You were right, but there are lots more states in almost as bad financial condition. The states with the worst financial situations also happen to have the highest cost of living areas in the entire country. Who would have thought!
I didn’t start out looking for the best place in the United States to live. What I was trying to do was figure out where I DIDN’T want to live. As you can see, this eliminated huge parts of the country from my wish list. After I eliminated all the undesirable areas, only then did I start looking for where I wanted to live from what was left.
What I wanted, from those areas still on my wish-list, was somewhere that is big enough to have a totally diversified and thriving middle-class economy that is also extremely stable. Somewhere that not only had everything that modern society has to offer, but has a very low cost of living.
No matter what happens to the United States economy, or even the global economy, an area like this will be less effected than anywhere else. Everybody talks about prepping for what’s coming. Well, this is how I’m prepping. My bug-out location is Springfield, Missouri. When the SHTF and everybody’s looking for somewhere to go, I’m already here, because I live in my bug-out location.
There are other areas in the U.S. that would be just as suitable, but you have to do your research to find them.