Ever want to get away from it all? Live off the land, drink rainwater, and read by candlelight?
Some states are better for a life among the trees.
They compared the 50 states based on 23 key factors, such as the cost of farmland, legality of self-generated utilities, and availability of renewable energy. They also considered indicators like climate, phone connectivity, and access to rural hospitals.
Iowa: Short for “(IoWa)nna Be Alone”? For the best chance of surviving on your lonesome in the wilderness, pick a desolate spot in Iowa. The Hawkeye State is the No. 1 state for living off the grid in our third annual ranking.
Improvements in its Infrastructure and Safety scores helped the state move four spots up this year and to eclipse Texas, our previous gold medalist. The Hawkeye State also remains tied in the top spot for generating your own utilities and a leader in renewable energy production (No. 7), especially wind power (No. 3 in projected 10-year growth).
The Great Plains Escape: Flyover country might not be as popular of a region to inhabit as the urban coasts, but that makes it the ideal place to live off the grid.
Six flyover states — the Great Plains, in particular — landed in our top 10. Texas (No. 2 overall) maintains its lead in the region this year, while Colorado ranks the lowest at No. 35. Most placed in the top 10 of our Feasibility and Infrastructure categories — in other words, they actively encourage a self-sustaining lifestyle.
Gridlocked Northeast: Unless you can produce your own electricity, collect your own drinking water, and manage your own waste, it’s hard to unplug from the grid.
Nine of our worst 10 states also have the strictest off-grid laws, and seven of them are in the Northeastern U.S. New Jersey finished last overall. Granted, this region is also the most densely populated, so close encounters with the human kind are inevitable.
See the five best (and five worst) states for a self-reliant way of life below, followed by highlights and lowlights from our analysis. (See how your state fared.)