If a zombie apocalypse broke out in America this moment, long would you last? Where's the place with the highest chance of survival? The brilliant folks at theWashington Post's Wonkblog decided to mark the return of AMC's The Walking Dead with a detailed interactive map measuring "Zombie Apocalypse Survivability" by region.
Post reporter Christopher Ingraham put some important numbers in a data blender to produce this customizable map, like population data from the most recent census, tweaked to account for county size and population density as well. Ingraham also measured gun access (by looking at "[the] number of firearm dealer licenses per 1,000 county residents, using August 2015 numbers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), veteran population (experienced gun users with combat training, of course), landscape features, and water access — after all, some zombie lore says they can't cross waterways, and if they can, it at least slows them down.
The result is a Zombie Apocalypse Survivability Index, of sorts — and it's fascinating.
We decided to give Ingraham's interactive a whirl by adjusting map settings to place the most importance on access to guns, veteran population and bodies of water.
The shades of green in the screengrab of that particular map indicate that if you are concerned the zombie apocalypse, your best bet is to hole up are in some of the coldest parts of the country—places like Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Maine, much of Vermont and New Hampshire.
The interactive is endlessly fascinating, and you should spend some time playing with it at the Post. The best part is that, no matter the configuration, one important factor stands out: population, which he "is insanely important." After all, more people means more potential zombies, which means higher rate of infection. The most important factor? "I'd put access to guns and water secondarily. It would be great to have some vets around to teach me how not to shoot myself in the foot, and terrain, well, eh," writes Ingraham.
We agree, it'd suck to blast your way through crowds of hungry, shambling zombie neighbors only to succumb to an infection from a bullet to the toe. Head over to Wonkblog and put your imagination to work. You might start buying winter gear and checking out real estate prices in Bozeman.