If you, like me, devote significant time to thinking about your zombie apocalypse contingency plan (and maybe a little too much time watching zombie movies to make sure you’re not missing any important details), you’ve probably already considered where you’d prefer to be if/when the inevitable zombiefication of the world happens.
Some strategies are pretty obvious: It’s better not to be on an island or other location with only one way in and out, worse to be in a desert without any cover. Ideally, you want to have a buffer zone of something zombie-proof, like water (until it freezes, that is), and you always shoot for the head.
Now, though, we have a definitive ranking of where you do — or don’t — want to be if you’re in the U.S. when the zombie plague starts to spread.
Just in time for Halloween and season 6 of The Walking Dead, labor market analysis company EMSI has put together a helpful ranking of the U.S. cities that are best and least equipped to weather a zombie takeover.
In a finding that should be surprising to nobody who has ever attempted to drive in the greater Boston metro area, Boston took the top spot out of the 53 cities for zombie preparedness.
ESMI looked at four main factors when determining a city’s zombieworthiness: the ability to defend against zombies, the ability to contain the zombie virus, ability to cure the virus and a sufficient food supply to survive the epidemic. With its world-class hospitals and research centers, Boston was deemed the best city when it came to curing the virus. It ranked 17th for containment and 14th in ability to defend itself, though it just squeaked in at 29th on food supplies, so Boston residents had better hope the zombies don’t descend during the winter (though if it’s anything like last year, the zombies won’t be able to break through the 100-foot-high snowbanks).
In addition to celebrating their status as the most likely to survive, Bostonians will also likely be thrilled to hear that longtime rival New York is the major U.S. city that would be least likely to make it through the zombie end times, ranking dead last when it came to containment, mostly because of its huge and concentrated population (not to mention that whole island issue).
Out of the 53 cities analyzed, Virginia Beach has the best overall resources to defend itself against a zombie outbreak, while Grand Rapids is the least prepared. Making up for Grand Rapids’ lack of preparation is its well-stocked food supply, which is best positioned to keep residents alive through the zombie siege, unlike poor DC, where everyone will die of hunger while waiting for the zombies to leave.
Elevated Denver is best equipped to contain a zombie virus, in contrast to crowded, doomed New York. At the other end of the medical preparedness spectrum from Boston sits Charlotte, which has the fewest resources to cure a potential zombie virus.
After Boston, the other best spots to wait (or fight) out the zombie apocalypse are Salt Lake City, Columbus, Baltimore and Virginia Beach. The worst places to be, short of NYC, are Tampa, Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino and Chicago.
Plan your next move accordingly — and no matter where you go, don’t forget some flares and a sharp object.