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Use Common Sense to Compare
Your Current Location to Another Location

Copyright March 1, 2011 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.



Please apply simple ordinary common sense to any important decision you need to make. This is especially important during hard times because the impact of a poor decision can be devastating to you and to your family.

Map of the World As an example, where would you prefer to live during a serious long-term hard times tragedy event?

Alaska?
New York?
Arizona?
Tennessee?
Switzerland?

How would you select the best place to live during hard times?

Would you consider the average number of people per square mile?
Would you consider the average number of people per square acre of farmland?

There is nothing wrong with either of the above two measures. However, if you only used the above two measures then you would probably arrive at the wrong answer because you would not be using common sense. You would be basing your decision on insufficient information and that would not be wise.

For example, if you believe that low population density is the single most important factor for selecting the best place to live during a serious hard times tragedy event then a logical choice would be to move into the middle of the Arizona desert, or to the North Pole. However, the average person would not choose these locations because people can't live there. A really low population density usually means the area is a very difficult place in which to survive and earn a living. During a serious hard times tragedy event do you want to force your family to try to survive in a place where people are just barely able to survive during good times?

Population density is frequently used as a measure for selecting a better area for two reasons:
  1. A high population density normally indicates more big cities and a big city will not be a safe place to live during a serious hard times tragedy event. (Note: During a serious long-term hard times tragedy event many of the people in every big city will self-destruct due to the absence of fresh water and food. Some of the surviving city dwellers will begin to roam the countryside in search of the things they need to survive and they will kill innocent people in the process.)

  2. A low population density normally indicates more people living on a farm or homestead and these people are already theoretically surviving off the land. (Note: Many of today's sustenance level farmers receive government aid in one form or another. If that government assistance is stopped then those farmers will not be able to feed their families and they will be forced to make the same types of decisions that city dwellers will be forced to make. Any person who has never lived in one of these poorer farming communities probably does not understand this concept and they have an unrealistic vision of life in these communities that probably resembles a "Little House on the Prairie" television drama. Life today is not like it was during the 1800s or the 1930s. During a serious long-term hard times event farming communities will also begin to self-destruct due to the absence of an adequate supply of food. However, in my opinion, farming communities located in the "Bible Belt" will fare better on the average when compared to farming communities that are located in areas where moral concepts and decisions are based on situational ethics.)
During a serious hard times tragedy event you should probably consider a multitude of different factors if you are considering moving to an area that was better suited for long-term survival. Population density is just one of those factors and it is not the most important factor. In fact, it is a relatively trivial factor when compared to some other really critical issues.

For example, there is no state where most of the people are evil. There is also no state where most of the people are good. Good people and evil people live in every state. Every state has prisons. Every state has charitable organizations that help the needy people in that state.

During a serious hard times tragedy event the percentage of people who will abandon their previous morals in order to survive will not be higher or lower from one state to the next. Every state will contain some people who will steal, rape, and murder. And every state will contain some people who will voluntarily sacrifice their time, money, resources, and even their lives, in order to help others. This will happen inside the big cities and in the farming communities. People are basically the same all over the world. It is only our educational backgrounds and our religious beliefs that creates the illusion that we are different. In the eyes of God our Creator, we are all equal. God did not bestow any special moral or ethical principles on one special group of people who live in one special spot in the world. This isn't based on the teachings of any one religious group -- it is nothing more than simple common sense. And I do not mind if you believe otherwise.

I have lived in Oklahoma, Virginia, Maine, Florida, Michigan, and a few other states. I personally did not notice any difference in the people who lived in those different areas. The majority of the people I came into contact with were intelligent, honest, and kind. I also met a limited number of people in each of those areas who were snobbish, rude, and selfish. But overall I did not notice any significant demographical differences among the people in all the different areas in which I have lived. If the reason you are thinking about moving to a new area is because you think the people there will be nicer than the people where you currently live, then you will probably be in for a big surprise. In my opinion it is our own individual personalities that determines how the average person will respond to us, and not the personalities of other people.

If you were to use common sense to select a state where the highest percentage of its current residents will probably survive a serious hard times tragedy event, then what factors would you consider to be the most important ones in the choice of that state?

In my opinion, if you are thinking about moving to another state then the following factors are just four of the many, many different issues that probably should be considered:
  1. Water Independence: Does the state currently have enough fresh water to completely satisfy the needs of everyone within the state, or does the state currently have to purchase its water from another state? How important is fresh water to your future survival?

  2. Food Independence: Does the state export more food than it imports, or does the state import more food than it exports? In other words, during a serious hard times tragedy event would it be possible for the state to feed everyone who lived there or would the state need to acquire food from outside its borders? Some farmland is extremely productive and it will generate extremely high crop yields every year. Other farmland is relatively poor and it will only generate low crop yields every year. Therefore, it is not the amount of farmland that is important but the quality of that farmland, the number of frost free days per year, the amount of average rainfall each month during the year, and the average wind conditions. During a serious hard times tragedy event every farm will be producing less food than before because there will be less fuel to run the automated farming equipment and there will be less commercial quality fertilizer available. Therefore, would you rather be living in a state that cannot feed its people at the current time under optimal farming conditions, or would you prefer to live in a state that currently produces a food surplus? In addition, if you were working the ground yourself by hand, would you rather be working high quality soil or low quality soil? Which type of soil would yield the best return for your hard work?

  3. Religious Freedom: Is there true religious freedom within the state, or does one religious group dominate and control the state? Every state will have more members in one religious group than the other groups. This is not the issue. The issue is whether or not that religious group practices religious tolerance or do they persecute individuals of another faith. Or is the state controlled by a small group of atheists at high levels in government who have passed laws that have stripped away the rights of honest people so that criminals can prosper?

  4. Firearm Freedom: Does the state allow you the freedom to own and carry firearms to protect yourself and your family members?
The above are just four of the important factors a person should consider if that person were using common sense to make a decision on which state might be the best one to live in during a serious hard times tragedy event. Trying to make this type of decision based on just one or two "simple statistics" would not be the best way to arrive at the best answer.

Waterfalls Now let's compare a few different states across the United States based on:
  1. Average Annual Rainfall in Inches: Rain is the source of renewable fresh water. Rain is absolutely necessary for human life, farm livestock, wild animals, farm produce, and timber production.

  2. Year 2009 Dollar Revenue per Acre of Farmland: This is important because it shows the average agricultural value of all the farmland in each state, assuming the land is used in its most efficient manner by the owners of that land.

  3. Average Number of Frost Free Days per Year: This directly impacts the number of crops that can be harvested per year. Some areas will allow two crops to be grown each year whereas other areas will only have enough warm weather to grow one crop. If there aren't enough frost free days this also limits the types of crops that can be grown in a region. Finally, if there are more frost free days then the winters will be shorter which means a family would need less firewood to survive the cold weather months.
Data of Fourteen Random States Across the United States


State
Annual
Rainfall
Revenue / Acre
of Farmland
Average Frost Free
Days per Year
Alaska 53.15 inches $ 45 60 days
Arizona 7.11 inches $ 135 150 days
Colorado 15.31 inches $ 210 90 days
Georgia 48.61 inches $ 802 210 days
Kansas 28.61 inches $ 299 180 days
Illinois 33.34 inches $ 608 150 days
Minnesota 26.36 inches $ 571 120 days
Montana 11.37 inches $ 54 120 days
New York 39.28 inches $ 577 120 days
Oklahoma 30.89 inches $ 168 210 days
Tennessee 48.49 inches $ 355 180 days
Texas 34.70 inches $ 156 210 days
Virginia 45.22 inches $ 434 180 days
Washington 27.66 inches $ 503 150 days

- - - Data Sources - - -

The above annual rainfall data is from: http://www.betweenwaters.com/etc/usrain.html

The above average frost free days data is from: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/freezefrost/frostfreemaps.html

The above farmland data is from: http://www.ers.usda.gov/statefacts/us.htm
The above web site contains information for the entire United States of America.
To view the data on one specific state change the ending "us.htm" to the state abbreviation, such as "va.htm" for Virginia or "tx.htm" for Texas.
The revenue per acre column was found by dividing the year 2009 total "final agricultural sector output" (including livestock and lumber) by the total amount of cropland and pastureland and woodland in production.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

On the average, in the entire United States of America the average revenue was $ 359 per acre during the year 2009. Some states did better than this and some states did worse.

On the average, all the states west of the Mississippi River receive an average of 24.3 inches of rain per year.
On the average, all the states east of the Mississippi River receive an average of 42.4 inches of rain per year.

Is average rainfall important to you today? The answer would depend on whether or not you were trying to grow crops, or manage livestock, or if you relied on a water well for your water.

Will average rainfall be important to you in the future during a serious long-term hard times tragedy event? Use common sense to answer this question yourself.

The above table data is the average statistic for an entire state. No one should make a decision based on the average data for an entire state because this would not be using good common sense. Good common sense would tell you that every state has a significant variation in all the above statistics from the west side of the state to the east side of the state, and from the north side of the state to the south side of the state. Any move decision should be based on the average statistics for the exact county within the state you are considering because each county will have either higher or lower statistics than the above state averages. This is because an average converts the high and low values into a composite average.

I am also not suggesting that you use the above criteria to select a state to move to. There are many other issues that are also important. The above factors are just three of the issues you should consider in choosing a new location if you are seriously considering a move.

There are a wide variety of other issues you should also consider. For example, do you currently have an extensive network of family members and relatives who live in close proximity to you, and do they have a life history of being hard working ethical individuals? If you have this type of supportive family, then a decision to separate yourself from your extended family may not be a very smart thing to do. If you move to a new area then you will be the "outsider" or "immigrant" and you may be treated as one if a serious hard times tragedy event unfolds rather suddenly.

The purpose of this article was not to list all the different issues you would need to think about before making a move. The purpose of this article was to caution you against making an important move decision based on a limited number of statistics and ignoring a wide variety of other statistics that may be of equal or greater significance to your decision. If you will pause and use common sense then you can easily think of many of these other important variables yourself.

In closing, please allow me let to ask one final question. Who do you depend on the most?
  1. Do you depend on yourself first and God second?
  2. Do you depend on God first and yourself second?
If you were to use common sense, which of the above two choices do you think would be the best choice for survival during a serious hard times tragedy event?

Respectfully,
Grandpappy.



Click on www.grandpappy.org for Robert's Home Page.

Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com