At approximately 4 weeks after the electricity goes out and stays out (SHTF), people will be engaged in the most diverse activities. Here are my predictions of the main survival activities of people at that point.
Most of the Stay at Homes will either be in denial, too old to help themselves, or people with water and food at home or nearby.
Refugee camps will likely be haphazard stadium situations. Some of the local politicians will feel responsible be too prideful to tell everyone to go away, so they will bring all the people together, round up a couple bread trucks, and.....that's about it. It really will be the blind leading the blind.
Many people will attempt to travel, scavenge, and loot without getting violent.
About 5% of Americans will be incarcerated at some point in their life. I figure all these people and then some, will engage in violence in order to live. In fact, at about the 2 month mark, I predict about 14% will be engaged in violence in order to live. It could even be higher than that still. People will go to great lengths to live and allow their loved ones to live.
Water will stop running from the faucet and food will quickly be emptied from shelves, so I suppose about 19% of people will be forced to go to sources of water and food and they will probably end up camping there, because they have no other plans. We will see millions of people camped near main bodies of fresh water, even if they have nothing to eat. Lake Mead of Las Vegas and Pleasant Lake of Phoenix are two of the best examples of this. These places will be horrible sights to see. People will be starving and getting desperate. People will fight over scraps of food. A lot of violence and stealing will initiate in these locations. Cannibalism will probably initiate in one of these water holes. Peaceful people will turn violent at these water holes. Prostitution will occur. Many horrible things will occur in these places. As much as possible, you will want to avoid these places.
Some people will have no plan at all and they will just drive and wander aimlessly. Or some people will believe that the problem is only in their city, so they will attempt to travel to the next city to see if things are better there. They will continue to assume that the grass is greener on the other side, but will be met by disappointment at every location on the map.
I figure about 19% at this time will be attempting to find food on their own. If a man has a gun or a fishing pole, there's a good chance he'll attempt to use it to acquire food. Others, who happen to have seeds, might attempt to grow a garden, but they'll need to have a plan for food in the meantime before harvest. Some might attempt to forage, even experiment by eating random things in the wild. Overall, this group are the go-getters who have realized that the government is not coming to the rescue.
I figure 2% will be bugged out with supplies. Half of them will be preppers who were prepared to do such a thing if the day ever came. The other half were those smart enough to put 2 and 2 together to see that things were going to get ugly, and they quickly scrambled to put together enough supplies to attempt survival in the wilderness or a rural area.
By 4 weeks, up to 11% could be dead. Some of these will be medical patients, elderly that rely on machines, people running out of medication and having heart attacks etc., and people having emergencies, but no hospitals to save them. Some will actually die of thirst in this period. About 10% of America's population lives in the southwest where there is not enough of readily available water. We all have about 80 gallons of water in our water heaters and toilets, and then pools and local ponds/lakes/rivers, but some cities have very few reserves, such as Tucson, AZ. They are in serious trouble if the SHTF, so I think many of them and other desert dwellers will be in trouble. I'm not certain how many wells will work without electricity or how easy it will be for people to get water from them. If somebody knows, comment below. Others will die in city fires. Riots will happen and accidents will happen, so fires will be started. When city OR wildfires start, no one will be available to put them out. There will also be some deaths from violence in the first month. I figure most violent deaths will occur in the second month as most people near starvation, but some will die in the first month too.
Keep in mind, the activities of people will be very fluid and dynamic. Most people will do multiple activities in the pie chart. For example, they might remain at home, then go to the refugee camp, then loot peacefully, then camp on farmland, then wander aimlessly before they die.
Here's a look at my predictions of the US population in the first 12 weeks after the SHTF.
As you can see, it starts off with 100% at home, but after 12 weeks, only 3% are still at home and alive. Essentially, all Americans will be internally displaced - aka refugees in their own country. This will be hard for people to take. 5 of the categories grow and then decrease: refugee camps, scavengers, campers, wanderers, and the ones who struck out. 1 Category gains strength and is the dominant group of people after 12 weeks: those engaging in violence. 3 categories are slim, but grow a little: the ones bugged out, the ones adopted by a survival community, and the ones evolved into a survival community. We often hear about the survival rule of 3s, which indicates we can only survive 3 weeks without food, but the reality is that it's closer to the 7 week mark. That's about when deaths begin to happen at a rapid rate. From week 7 on, people begin to starve and die from violence/cannibalism at a very rapid rate. By 12 weeks, about 53% will be dead.
The first 3 months will be the most chaotic, but here's a look at the first 3 years. The chart only shows the actions of the LIVING. The dead are just removed from the chart. The timeline along the bottom gives you an idea of the population still alive. As you can see, after 1 year, approximately 86% of the population has perished. This is on par with the congressional report that indicated that 90% of Americans could perish in a year if there was an EMP attack.
3 categories grow and fade within a year: the scavengers, the campers, and the wanderers. They will simply run out of resources and either die or join a survival community.
Believe it or not, after 3 years, some people might still be in their original home. It would only be less than .5% of the original population, but they would make up about 5% of the surviving population. These people would probably be preppers or very resourceful people in good locations with a water source and the ability to grow/raise their own food. There are plenty of very rural homes in the US that have farm animals, someone who gardens, and someone who has a gun - that's a simple form of the necessary equation to survive.
2 categories are still around, but will be shrinking: the violent ones and the ones who struck out. Why is this? The violent ones will essentially be surviving off stealing and hoarding food products from pre-shtf. Eventually, the canned food will run out. At that point they will do 1 of 4 things:
1) They will kill each other off for the last remaining scraps. Some of this will happen. You might even have situations where a tyrant will purposefully widdle his own men down. He might have 400 men and decide one day that he really only needs 300. He'll have the 300 kill the 100. Less mouths to feed.
2) They will go on farm/garden raids. They will find people who are surviving and growing their own food and they will steal from them. After 2 years, fuel might have degraded too badly for them to use, so as ridiculous as it sounds, these guys might become biker gangs....as in bicycle gangs. Or they will ride horses or sail boats, but those are harder accomplishments. The small amount who are still engaging in violence after 3 years, will fit this category.
3) They will take over a survival community at gunpoint and force the community to continue producing food in order to feed them. It will likely be a slave labor - feudal system type of thing. So, if you survive 2-6 years into the collapse and come across a survival community, be alert to the type of social structure they have. They might have formed in this way.
4) They might evolve into a survival community themselves. Perhaps the tyrants will be smart enough to realize that they can't loot forever, so they will attempt to transition into a farming community. It might work if they can get seeds, some equipment, and some reference books or people who know what they're doing.
The violent groups that do option 3 or 4 will account for the majority of the increase in the 'Evolved into a Surviving Community' category.
The ones who strike out to hunt, fish, garden, and forage will mostly either die or evolve into a surviving group or be adopted by a surviving group. That's not to say that a person couldn't hunt, fish, and forage forever. Trappers did that pretty well in North America for a hundred years. So, the numbers of this group will dwindle, but be added to the numbers of the survival communities.
The group that bugged out with prepper supplies is actually decreasing in population, but is increasing in terms of percent among the surviving population. Not all of these people will survive, because about half of them were impromptu bug out people, who were ill prepared. Plus, not all actual preppers who bugged out will survive. My main guess for why they didn't survive is because they didn't get rural enough. Others who bugged out will evolve into a surviving community with others or be adopted into a survival group, which increases those other categories, but there will still be some families who bugged out who are still living by themselves and have not joined a larger survival community yet.
By 3 years after the shtf, the largest groups of survivors will be the surviving communities. The ones who make it into these groups will have been lucky enough or skilled enough to have survived the collapse of America. They're not entirely out of the woods yet, because there is still violence, illnesses, and droughts, among other things to deal with.
As explained already, these surviving communities formed out of the other categories dwindling. As a result, we can vaguely predict the nature and temperament of the survivors. Survivors can be divided into 2 types: the good guys who survived the honest way and the bad guys who survived by lying, stealing, and killing. It will be nearly evenly split between these two types a few years after the collapse. The good guys will be made up of the ones who stayed at home, the ones who struck out, the ones who bugged out, most of the ones who were adopted, and about a third to half of the ones who evolved into a surviving community. The bad guys will be made up of the ones doing violence still and half to two thirds of the ones who evolved into a surviving community. The bad guys will be located closer to cities and populated valleys, while the good guys will be located in more rural and mountainous areas. It's very possible that we could see wars between the mountain people (good guys) and the valley people (bad guys). If this theory interests you, you should read my post about power shifts after the collapse.
What are your thoughts about these predictions?