55 Interesting Facts About The U.S. Economy In 2012

How is the U.S. economy doing in 2012?  Unfortunately, it is not doing nearly as well as the mainstream media would have you believe.  Yes, things have stabilized for the moment but this bubble of false hope will not last for long.  The long-term trends that are ripping our economy and our financial system to shreds continue unabated.  When you step back and look at the broader picture, it is hard to deny that we are in really bad shape and that things are rapidly getting worse.  Later on in this article you will find a list of interesting facts that show the true state of the U.S. economy.  Hopefully many of you will find this list to be a useful tool that you can share with your family and friends.  Each day the foundations of our economy crumble a little bit more, and we need to wake up as many Americans as we can to what is really going on while there is still time.  We have accumulated way too much debt, we consume far more wealth than we produce, millions of our jobs are being shipped overseas, our big cities are decaying, family budgets are being squeezed more than ever, poverty is rampant and we have raised several generations of Americans that expect the government to fix all of their problems.  The U.S. economy is at a crossroads, and the decisions that the American people make in 2012 are going to be incredibly important.

The statistics listed below are presented without much commentary.  They pretty much speak for themselves.

After reading this list, it will be hard for anyone to argue that we are on the right track.

The following are 55 interesting facts about the U.S. economy in 2012….

#1 As you read this, there are more than 6 million mortgages in the United States that are overdue.

#2 In January, U.S. home prices were the lowest that they have been in more than a decade.

#3 In Florida right now, some drivers are paying nearly 6 dollars for a gallon of gas.

#4 On average, you could buy about 10 gallons of gas for an hour of work back in the mid-90s.  Today, the average hour of work will get you less than 6 gallons of gas.

#5 Sadly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.

#6 According to Gallup, the unemployment rate was at 8.3% in mid-January but rose to 9.0% in mid-February.

#7 The percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is not increasing.  The employment to population ratio has stayed very steady (hovering between 58% and 59%) since the beginning of 2010.

#8 If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States into one nation, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the entire world.

#9 When Barack Obama first took office, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million.  Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

#10 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is hovering close to an all-time record high.

#11 According to Reuters, approximately 23.7 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.

#12 There are about 88 million working age Americans that are not employed and that are not looking for employment.  That is an all-time record high.

#13 According to CareerBuilder, only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012.

#14 Back in the year 2000, about 20 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs.  Today, about 5 percent of all jobs in America are manufacturing jobs.

#15 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#16 Amazingly, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001.

#17 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

#18 During the Obama administration, worker health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent.

#19 An all-time record 49.9 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all at this point, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row.

#20 According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.

#21 In the United States today, corporate profits are at an all-time high.  The percentage of Americans that are living in “extreme poverty” is also at an all-time high according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

#22 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#23 The poorest 50 percent of all Americans now collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#24 The number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent since 2007.

#25 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#26 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of Americans on food stamps has increased from 32 million to 46 million.

#27 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages.  According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#28 In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.  Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.

#29 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

#30 After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.

#31 According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, total student loan debt in the United States will surpass the 1 trillion dollar mark at some point in 2012.  If you went out right now and starting spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

#32 Today, 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

#33 Incredibly, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#34 The average interest rate on a credit card that is carrying a balance is now up to 13.10 percent.

#35 Of the U.S. households that do have credit card debt, the average amount of credit card debt is an astounding $15,799.

#36 Overall, Americans are carrying a grand total of $798 billion in credit card debt.  If you were alive when Jesus was born and you spent a million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent $798 billion by now.

#37 It may be hard to believe, but the truth is that consumer debt in America has increased by a whopping 1700% since 1971.

#38 At this point, about 70 percent of all auto purchases in the United States involve an auto loan.

#39 In the United States today, 45 percent of all auto loans are made to subprime borrowers.

#40 Mortgage debt as a percentage of GDP has more than tripled since 1955.

#41 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#42 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1970 you would have to have more than $116 today.

#43 When Barack Obama first took office, an ounce of gold was going for about $850.  Today an ounce of gold costs more than $1700 an ounce.

#44 The number of Americans that are not paying federal incomes taxes is at an all-time high.

#45 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#46 The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#47 During 2012, the U.S. government must roll over nearly 3 trillion dollars of old debt.

#48 The U.S. debt to GDP ratio has now reached 101 percent.

#49 At the moment, the U.S. national debt is sitting at a grand total of $15,419,800,222,325.15.

#50 The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

#51 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#52 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

#53 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#54 Right now, the U.S. national debt is increasing by about 150 million dollars every single hour.

#55 Spending by the federal government accounted for about 2 percent of GDP back in 1800.  It accounted for 23.8 percent in 2011, and according to former U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker, it will account for 36.8 percent of GDP by 2040.

Bad news, eh?

But it isn’t just our economy that is decaying.

We are witnessing a tremendous amount of social decay as well.  As I wrote about the other day, America is rapidly decomposing right in front of our eyes.

When the water level of a river drops far enough, it will reveal rocks that have been hidden from view for a very long time.  Well, a similar thing is happening in America right now.  For decades, our debt-fueled prosperity has masked a lot of the social decay that has been going on.

But now that our prosperity is evaporating, a lot of frightening stuff is being revealed.

Unfortunately, another major financial crisis is rapidly approaching and economic conditions in the United States are going to get a lot worse.

So what is our country going to look like when that happens?

That is a very good question.

20 Signs You Might Be A Typical American Worker

Once upon a time, anyone that was relatively competent and willing to work hard could go out and easily get a job that would enable that person to financially support a family.  Unfortunately, that is simply no longer true anymore.  Well paying “middle income jobs” are being rapidly replaced with “low income jobs” and part-time jobs.  As the economy crumbles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the typical American worker to survive from month to month.  The number of companies that provide benefits such as health insurance has fallen steadily over the past ten years, and paychecks have not been keeping up with the rising prices of food and gas.  Average American families are seeing their budgets squeezed like never before, and many of them are going into huge amounts of debt in order to make up the difference.  Sadly, this is a problem that has developed over an extended period of time and that is not going to be reversed overnight.  Over the past four decades, the ratio of wages and salaries to GDP in America has fallen dramatically.  The typical American worker is not as valued as much as he or she used to be, and if current trends continue even more of us will be working part-time jobs or “low income jobs” in the years ahead.

In America today there is a great deal of focus on the unemployed, but there are also millions upon millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find.

It can be absolutely soul crushing to go all the way through school getting good grades, spend a ton of money on an education, and then work for 8 bucks an hour doing meaningless work for some predator corporation that simply does not care about how talented you are.

Today, an astounding 48 percent of all Americans are considered to be either “low income” or are living in poverty.

According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.

A lot of those people actually do have jobs.  Unfortunately, a part-time job that pays 8 or 9 dollars an hour just will not get you anywhere close to getting over the poverty line.

This is not the way that the U.S. economy used to work.  Back in the old days, good paying jobs that would allow you to live “the American Dream” were plentiful.

But now millions upon millions of Americans are scrambling for anything that they can get.  According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup, the percentage of Americans that are working part-time jobs but that would like full-time jobs is now higher than it has been at any other time in the last two years.

In this economy, a good paying full-time job is incredibly precious.  If you still have one, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.

Check out the following chart.  It is a chart that shows the level of wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP in the United States since the late 1940s.  As you can see, the slice of the pie being taken home by American workers has been dropping like a rock since about 1970….

Is that a clear trend or what?

And it is going to continue year after year as long as we continue to pursue the same foolish economic policies.

As our politicians continue to allow millions of American jobs to be shipped overseas, competition for the jobs that remain inside this country is becoming extremely intense.

Back in 1967, 97 percent of all U.S. men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.

As you read this, there are hordes of hard working American workers sitting at home staring at their televisions as they wonder why nobody will hire them.

Right now, if you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

That is absolutely insane.

But even if you do have a job that does not mean that you are in good shape.  The percentage of “low income jobs” just continues to climb.  Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

Many Americans work as hard as they can and still find that they must turn to the government for financial assistance.  According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

And that number is just going to keep climbing unless we change what we are doing as a nation.

Perhaps you are working a “low income job” right now.  Most of us have worked a job like that at least once in our lives.  Hopefully you will find the following list amusing.  Yes, I have exaggerated a few things slightly, but I think you will get the point.

The following are 20 signs you might be a typical American worker….

#1 If you are working three jobs and you still don’t have enough money at the end of the month, you might be a typical American worker.

#2 If your job involves asking the question “Would you like fries with that?”, you might be a typical American worker.

#3 If you shop at the dollar store because Wal-Mart is too expensive, you might be a typical American worker.

#4 If your job requires you to wear a smock, a brightly colored polo shirt or lots of “flair”, you might be a typical American worker.

#5 If people are constantly asking you where the restroom is while you are at work, you might be a typical American worker.

#6 If your employer hires extra part-time workers in order to avoid giving anyone full-time hours, you might be a typical American worker.

#7 If you are required to watch a mindless “training video” after being hired, you might be a typical American worker.

#8 If the company you work for is owned by someone on the other side of the world, you might be a typical American worker.

#9 If a trained seal could do your job and you feel like your expensive education is going to waste, you might be at typical American worker.

#10 If you don’t have any health insurance at all, you might be a typical American worker.  Only about 25 percent of all part-time workers in the United States receive employee benefits such as health insurance or paid sick leave.

#11 If your car is older than your kids are, you might be a typical American worker.

#12 If you can’t afford to buy the things that you are selling to the public, you might be a typical American worker.

#13 If the balances on your credit cards are larger than your bank accounts are, you might be a typical American worker.

#14 If going to Burger King is your idea of “fine dining”, then you might be a typical American worker.

#15 If it costs more to fill up your car with gas than you will make at your job today, you might be a typical American worker.  The price of gasoline has increased by 83 percent since Barack Obama first took office, and the average cost of a gallon of gas in the United States is now up to $3.52.

#16 If you eat your cereal with a fork so that you can save milk, you might be a typical American worker.

#17 If your electricity bill keeps going up but your paycheck never does, you might be a typical American worker.

#18 If it feels like you are losing an organ every time you pay for health insurance each month, you might be a typical American worker.

#19 If you feel like your employer is constantly tempted to replace you with someone younger and cheaper, then you might be a typical American worker.

#20 If you are so poor that you cannot even afford to pay attention, you might be a typical American worker.

Unfortunately, a lot more Americans are going to be forced into working these kinds of jobs if current trends continue.

Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs even though our population has increased by more than 30 million since then.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States, but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

The lack of good jobs in America has some very real consequences.  In particular, our young adults are really feeling the pain of not being able to find quality employment.

According to a recent poll conducted by Generation Opportunity, huge numbers of Americans in the 18 to 29 year old age bracket are delaying major life decisions due to the poor economy….

-44% are delaying buying a home

-28% are delaying saving for retirement

-27% are delaying paying off student loans or other debt

-27% are delaying going back to school or getting more education

-23% are delaying starting a family

-18% are delaying getting married

All of those things take a lot of money, and if you simply don’t have the money it makes things really tough.

Sadly, the economy is about to get even worse.

As I have written about previously, what is going on in Greece right now is a warning sign for the rest of the world, and we are on the precipice of another major global financial crisis.

There are an increasing number of voices in the financial world that believe that we are going to see a Greek default in March.  So will this actually happen?  I certainly don’t know.  But what some folks are currently saying about the situation sure does make for interesting reading.

In the old days, you could graduate from college, get a good job, work for the same company for 30 years, save up for retirement and count on a comfortable life in your old age.

That paradigm is now totally shattered.  The entire global economic system is in a state of chaos and things change faster today than they ever have before.

If you have a job today, it may be gone tomorrow.

The financial institution or insurance company that you are working with today may be out of business by next month.

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable.  That is why it is imperative to try to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the system.

It is tough to plan in such an environment, but one thing is for sure – tough times are coming and things are not going to get any easier than they are now.

The Worst Time Of The Year?

For a lot of Americans, this is the worst time of the year.  If you don’t have any money, it can be really hard to hear others go on and on about how good “Santa Claus” was to them this year.  For many, there is simply not much to be cheerful about as the year ends.  There are millions of people in this country that do not have a “happy family” to spend the holidays with, there are millions of people in this country that do not have any money to spend on gifts, and there are millions of people that are either already sleeping in the streets or that are in imminent danger of losing their homes.  It can be really difficult to feel “holiday cheer” when you are freezing cold and you don’t have any food in your stomach.  The realization that you are not going to enjoy any of the good things that other people get to enjoy this time of the year is enough to push many people over the edge.  Yes, for most of the country this time of the year is filled with food, family and fun but for millions of others this time of the year tends to magnify despair, depression and thoughts of suicide.  If you are blessed as we get ready to enter 2012, please remember those out there that are really hurting.  If someone does not help them, they might not make it to 2013.

In our society today, the “holiday season” is held up as the ultimate time of the year.  Often expectations are so high that they are almost impossible to fulfill.  The truth is that materialism is never going to bring anyone true fulfillment, and once Christmas is over many Americans are left with a very hollow feeling.

But all of the “Christmas hype” on television and in the movies can make it seem like this is a “magical” time of the year for most people.  For those that are in a tremendous amount of emotional pain, the holidays can be excruciating because they can feel as though they are “missing out” on all the fun and happiness that everyone else is experiencing.  That is why for many Americans that are “on the edge”, this can be the absolute worst time of the year.

When people go “over the edge”, the consequences can be devastating.

For example, have you noticed how there always seems to be a rash of murder-suicides at this time of the year?

One murder-suicide that made national headlines happened down in Texas.  It turns out that the killer actually dressed up as Santa Claus.  The following description of this stunning incident comes from an article posted on USA Today….

Police said the man they believe is responsible for a Christmas Day shooting that left him and six members of his extended family dead was dressed as Santa Claus.

Grapevine police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said Monday the shooter “showed up shortly before the incident took place” in the Santa outfit and was a member of the family opening gifts in the apartment.

Could you imagine being killed by a family member dressed as Santa Claus?

But sometimes people do not snap in a family setting.  For some, it is the work environment that sets them off.  Just consider the following example from a recent article in the Washington Post….

A Southern California Edison employee chatted calmly with co-workers in the moments between gunning down four managers during a rampage at an office complex, authorities said as the building reopened Tuesday.

Investigators still were trying to determine what pushed gunman Andre Turner to finish a normal workday by shooting the workers with a semiautomatic handgun before turning it on himself.

We have also seen shocking murder-suicides reported in recent days in Illinois, in California, in Colorado and in Arizona.

Every year we also see reports of Christmas presents being stolen right out from under the tree.  The following comes from an article in the Los Angeles Times….

A Northern California family victimized in a burglary a few days before Christmas is hoping to at least get their dog back.

The Lancers lost all of the presents under the tree along with their dog when their home in Morgan Hill, southeast of San Jose, was broken into last week, authorities said Sunday.

There are a lot of people out there that do not have any hesitation about stealing from others.  Desperate people do desperate things, and right now the number of desperate people in America is growing.

Tonight, there are millions upon millions of Americans that cannot find work and that are incredibly stressed.  The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.  If the number of Americans considered to be “looking for work” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate would be up to 11 percent.

But the Obama administration does not want to report such a depressing number.

8.6 percent just sounds so much more pleasant.

For even more crazy economic numbers that show just how bad the U.S. economy really was in 2011, just check out this article.

But of course our leaders are enjoying a good, long break from all of the “hard work” that they have put in toward fixing the economy.

Nancy Pelosi has jetted off to Hawaii and is spending her holidays in a suite that rents for $10,000 a night.

Barack Obama and his family are in Hawaii as well.  It has been estimated that their Hawaiian vacation will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million dollars.

It is shameful that our “leaders” are enjoying such luxury at a time when so many millions of Americans are barely surviving.

One of the reasons why my site has struck such a nerve is because the pain that millions of Americans are going through right now is very real.

For example, the following is a comment that a reader identified as “Ricci” left on one of my recent articles….

I sleep in my car. I have nowhere else to go. It gets really cold and hurts my bones. I would love love love to go back to work but I was hospitalized 12 times in two years. I wouldn’t be able to keep a job because of my health i’m not dependable. THESE are the people who are homeless. It’s also a LOT of veterans that are homeless. But I sleep in my car. Often on family property and I’m still stalked and harassed by police and I’m sick of it.

In another comment, Ricci shared even more of her story….

Wow….do you really think that? I am a licensed social worker for 10 years. In 2005 I lost a son & daughter 3 hours after they were born. For 3 years I suffered in pain, still working my ass off, but found I was very ill. After chemo, immuno-suppressants, and a myriad of other medications I could not afford, I went bankrupt and lost my house. By this time, I was awarded disability on the first try w/o an attorney. I wasn’t expected to live. But here I am. I can barely move somedays I hurt so much. I don’t have family willing to take me in. I look fine on the outside you know. If I would just have more faith or exercise more or eat the right foods I would be cured. Whatever. I often worked 50 to 60 hours a week to protect kids from real problems (not taken away for poverty as people say……so sick of the myths about social services). Anyway, before that I worked mental health, and worked in the school district. I have busted my ass to care for other people. My husband left, children died, and when my health failed I lost everything and fell through the cracks. It’s people like me who are homeless…I do not drink. I do not use drugs. I can barely get the medications I need even w/ supplemental insurance. I get stalked and harassed by police if I so much as get tired and pull over so I don’t wreck. I was on my dad’s property in my car 3 times in two months I was approached by police…one time there were 4 cops that came to my car……on our family’s private property. My car has totally been profiled. I’m so sick of it. At this point, I would be better off dead.

So what do you say to someone like Ricci?

I have never slept in my car.  I have never lost a son or daughter.  I have never lost a house.  I have never been homeless.

How can I identify with someone who has gone through all of that?

But we do need to tell people like Ricci not to ever give up.   The vast majority of us have been at very low points in our own lives, and the secret is to keep on fighting and to never, ever give up.  No matter how bad things get, they can always be turned around if you will just have faith.

We should remember to pray for people like Ricci and the millions of other Americans that are going through similar trials.  We should also look for ways to help people that are really hurting in our own communities.

Yes, we cannot possibly rescue everyone is hurting.  But what we can do is love the one that is in front of us.

Unfortunately, our economic problems are only going to get worse.  America is in the middle of a long-term decline that is rapidly accelerating.  That means that there are going to be lots more people that are going to lose their jobs and their homes.

So let us do what we can to focus on real world solutions and to focus on preparing for the hard times that are coming.

We waste so much time on unnecessary things.  For example, did you know that there are over 695,000 status updates on Facebook every single minute?

Every 60 seconds.

Amazing.

As bad as 2011 was, it looks like 2012 is going to be significantly worse.  It won’t be the end of the world of course, but huge challenges are ahead.  Now is the time to get our priorities in order and to start focusing on the things that really matter.

A Glimmer Of Hope

If you want to feel better about America, just spend some time in some of the really great small towns and rural communities that are scattered across this country.  Over the past several days, that is exactly what I had the privilege to do.  I have often written about how the “America” that so many of us love is fading away, but in many small towns throughout the United States that “America” is still very much alive.  The truth is that there are millions of Americans that still place a tremendous amount of value on God, family and country.  My wife and I are accustomed to big city ways, and so we were amazed at how friendly and how open the people that we encountered during our travels were.  A lot of times the elitists that run this country look down their noses at those that live in rural communities and small towns, but the reality is that those are some of the greatest people this country has.

Did you know that there are still some Americans in 2011 that do not lock their homes or their cars?

It’s true – my wife and I met some of these people during our travels.  They do not fear crime because very, very little crime ever happens where they live.

Of course if someone does try to rob them, let’s just say that the thieves would be in for some very unpleasant surprises.

My wife and I have also found that people in small towns are so much friendlier.  Everywhere we went people were saying hello and were eager to get into conversations.  We ended up talking with one hotel clerk for 15 to 20 minutes and he shared with us much of his life story.  He was a real “salt of the earth” type of guy and it was interesting to hear his unique perspective on life.  Every summer he makes jam and sells it in the hotel lobby and he encouraged us to stop by the next time we are in town to get some.

But he was not the only one that was extremely friendly.  People were eager to talk to us and were genuinely interested in what we were doing wherever we went.

Also, people sure seemed to smile a whole lot more in these small towns.  They just seemed happier.

This is so much different from what I have been used to.  Most of my life I have lived either in or near big cities.

When I worked as a lawyer in Washington D.C., I took the metro to work every morning.  Often the passengers were crammed into the metro cars like cattle, but most of the time there was absolutely no conversation among the passengers.  Usually it was just dead silence all the way into D.C.

In fact, if you did try to strike up a conversation with someone it usually created an awkward moment.

The truth is that in most big cities there is an unwritten rule that you really aren’t even supposed to make eye contact with people.  If someone tries to interact with you, it is usually because they want something from you.

So is living in a city with several million people really better than living in a town with only a few thousand people?

During our trip, my wife and I stopped in a little community store where they actually had cats for adoption scattered throughout the store.  We also ventured into a pizza parlor that could have been straight out of the 1970s or 1980s.  The floor of the pizzeria was a classic red and white checkerboard pattern and there was an old jukebox sitting in the corner.  It was great.

Today most of our big box stores are so “corporate” and so “sterile” that something gets lost.  When we eliminate the “human element” from everything the world becomes a colder place.

There are still places in America where people will take you at your word.

There are still places in America where people will invite you to stay with them even though they just met you.

There are still places in America where the air is clean, the people are authentically friendly and where the corporations don’t own all the businesses.

The other night my wife and I ordered some food at a “real” family restaurant and it was so much different from what we were used to.

Yes, the decor was a bit dated and the environment was not as “clinical” as you will find in most corporate-owned restaurants, but we had a great time.

I ordered some chicken, and when they brought it out it was not anything like the little bony pieces of chicken that they give you most places.  I had probably the thickest chicken breast that I have ever seen.  There was as much meat on that one chicken breast as there would be on five or six “tv dinner” chicken breasts.

So is small town life preferable?

Well, it is undeniable that living near a big city is much more convenient and most of the good jobs are in or near the big cities.

But as the economy collapses and as society becomes increasingly unstable, do you really want to find yourself in the middle of one of our urban areas?

This is a theme I have been talking about a lot recently.  The following are just a few of the articles that I have put out about the breakdown of society in recent weeks….

*”18 Signs The Collapse Of Society Is Accelerating

*”12 More Signs That Society Is Collapsing

*”Americans Gone Wild

It would be nice if things would calm down for a while, but that is just not happening.

In fact, what have we seen just this week?

A horrifying riot in Vancouver.

Aren’t Canadians supposed to be calmer than us?

You can see video of the shocking riots in Vancouver right here, or you can just view the video below….

Yes, there is nothing new about sports riots.

However, what is new is the level of the violence.

15 vehicles, including two police cruisers, were set on fire.  Windows were smashed and stores were openly looted in front of television cameras.  Police were pelted with rocks and debris.  A huge section of the city of Vancouver turned into a war zone.

And for what?

A hockey game?

So what is going to happen someday when those people have real problems?

Part of preparing for hard times is evaluating where you live.

Do you really want to live smack dab in the middle of a major urban area if we do see major rioting in this country someday?

What happened in Vancouver this week was absolutely mindless.

But thankfully, while all of this was going on my wife and I were also reminded that there are still large numbers of really wonderful people out there too.

Small town America is alive and well.  Yes, huge numbers of families are really struggling in this economic environment, but that does not mean that they have given up.  They still believe in America and they still believe in each other.

Yes, an economic collapse is coming.  But that doesn’t mean that all Americans are going to respond to it the same way.  If you don’t have a lot of faith in the community where you currently live, you might want to take a closer look at some of the truly great small towns scattered throughout this country.

You might just be surprised at what you find.

What Is The Best Place To Live In The United States To Prepare For The Coming Economic Collapse?

What is the best place to live in the United States?  I get asked that question all the time.  My answer can be summed up in two words: it depends.  The truth is that the answer is going to be different for each person.  All of us have different goals and different needs.  If you have a very strong network of family and friends where you live right now, you might want to think twice before moving hundreds or thousands of miles away.  If you have a great job where you live right now, you might want to hold on to it.  You should not just assume that you are going to be able to pick up and move to another part of the country and be able to get a similar job right away.  The United States is in the midst of a very serious economic decline right now, and wherever you live you are going to have to provide for your family.  Just because you move somewhere new does not mean that you are going to leave your problems behind.  In fact, you might find that they moved right along with you.  With all that being said, the reality is that there are some places in the U.S. that are going to be much more desirable than others when the economy totally falls apart.  For example, during a total economic collapse it will not be good to be living in a large city or in a densely populated area.  Just think about what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  If the entire nation is going through something like that, you don’t want to have hundreds of thousands of close neighbors at that point.  So when thinking about where you want to be when everything falls apart, population density should be a major factor.  But there are other factors as well and no area of the United States is perfect.

If you live in or near a major city right now, that is okay.  Most Americans do.  Even if you have limited financial resources at the moment, you can start developing a plan that will get you where you eventually want to go.  If you want to move to another part of the country you can start applying for jobs out there.  You can also be working hard to develop a business that would enable you to move.  Perhaps you have friends or family in more isolated areas that would allow you to stay with them during an economic collapse.

Those that possess more financial resources could start thinking about getting a second home in a location that is more rural.

The key is to come up with a plan and to be working towards accomplishing that plan.

If you don’t have a plan yet, hopefully the following information will give you something to think about.  Not all areas of the United States are equal, and all of them do have problems.

The following are some thoughts about the best place to live in the United States….

The Northeast

A major problem with the Northeast is that it is just so darn crowded.  Yes, there are some rural areas, but the overall population density of the region is so high that it would be really hard to go unnoticed for long in the event of a major economic collapse.

Another thing that is not great about the Northeast is that so much of the population lives near the coast.  As we saw in Japan recently, living near a coastline is not necessarily a good thing.  While it is likely safer to live along the east coast then the west coast, the truth is that there is an inherent level of insecurity when it comes to living in coastal areas.  You never know when the next hurricane, oil spill or tsunami is going to strike.

Also, the Northeast is really quite cold.  So staying warm and growing your own food would be more difficult than in some other areas of the country.

The Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic is one of the most beautiful areas of the nation.  Unfortunately, it suffers from many of the same problems that the Northeast does.

The Mid-Atlantic has a very high population density.  For example, the area around Washington D.C. is pretty much all suburbs for 50 miles in all directions.

The weather is nicer than in the Northeast and there are some less dense areas once you get south of Washington D.C.

If you think that the Mid-Atlantic might be for you, you might want to check out North Carolina or South Carolina.  The people tend to get friendlier the further south you go and there are definitely some areas that could potentially work.

Florida

Florida is generally not going to be a place that you want to be during an economic collapse.  The housing market has absolutely collapsed down there and the crime rate is already very high.  It is also very densely populated.

The weather is very nice down in Florida, but one big thing that you need to consider when it comes to Florida is the fact that it is very flat and most of Florida is just barely above sea level.  In fact, quite a bit of Florida is actually below sea level.

In addition, hurricanes are always a major threat in Florida.  It is a beautiful state, but there is a lot of risk to living down there.

The Southeast

The Southeast has really taken a pounding over the last few years.  First it was Hurricane Katrina, and then it was the BP oil spill and then it was the tornadoes of 2011.

There is a lot of poverty in that area of the country.  There is also a lot of crime.

There are a lot of great people who live down in the Southeast, but if you do not know your way around it can be a very difficult place to move to.

The Mid-South

One of my favorite places east of the Mississippi River are the mountains along the Tennessee/North Carolina border.  If you must be in the eastern half of the United States, that is not a bad choice.

Where you do not want to be is anywhere near the New Madrid fault zone.  The New Madrid fault zone covers portions of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.  The biggest earthquakes in the history of the United States were caused by the New Madrid fault. Many are convinced that we are going to see an absolutely catastrophic earthquake along the New Madrid fault at some point.

So if you want to live in the Mid-South, it is highly recommended that you stay far away from the New Madrid fault zone.

The Upper Midwest

The Upper Midwest was once one of the great manufacturing regions of the world, but now much of it is known as the “rust belt”.

Formerly great manufacturing cities such as Detroit are now absolute hellholes.  Tens of thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas.

There are some really great people (including some good friends of this column) that live up there, but the truth is that the region is really cold and unemployment is rampant.

The Upper Midwest is an area that people want to get out of.  It is probably not a great place to move to.

However, if you do need a job, one place to look is a little bit west of there.  Thanks to an abundance of natural resources, unemployment in North Dakota and South Dakota is very low.  If you really need a job you might want to look into those two states.

The Southwest

In the Southwest there are a whole lot of freedom-loving Americans, the weather is very warm and there is a lot of space to get lost.

However, the Southwest is also very dry and in many areas there is not a lot of water.  Drought and wildfires are quite common.

In addition, illegal immigration is rampant and is a constant security threat.

If you are familiar with that area of the country it is not a bad choice, but if you do not know what you are doing it could end up being disastrous for you.

The Great Plains

As long as you are far enough away from the New Madrid fault, the Great Plains is not a bad choice.

It is very, very flat out there, and it can be quite windy, but the good news is that you should be able to grow your own food.

In addition, the population density is generally very low in most areas.

One big negative, as we have seen recently, is tornadoes.  The United States experiences more tornadoes that anywhere else in the world, and “tornado alley” generally gets the worst of it.

The West Coast

During an economic collapse, the West Coast is not a place that you will really want to be.  Just take a look at the state of California already.  It is an economic nightmare.

Millions of people have left California over the past couple of decades.  The millions of people that have left have been replaced mostly with illegal aliens.

Oregon is better, although they have very high taxes and they are experiencing huge economic problems right now as well.

The best area along the West Coast is the Seattle area, but you won’t want to be anywhere near a major population center when things totally fall apart.

Also, the West Coast lies along the “Ring of Fire“.  Considering what just happened in Japan and what has been happening in other areas along the Ring of Fire lately, the West Coast is not an area that a lot of people are recommending.

The Northwest

Large numbers of freedom-loving Americans have been moving to the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.  You can also throw eastern Washington and eastern Oregon into this category as well.

It gets cold up in the Northwest, but not as cold as the Upper Midwest.  There are lots of rivers, streams and lakes and in certain areas there is plenty of rain.

The population density is very low in most areas and there is an abundance of wildlife.  Housing prices are reasonable and in many areas you can grow your own food.

The Northwest is one of the favorite areas of the United States for preppers.  It is far from perfect, but it does have a lot of advantages.

Alaska And Hawaii

Neither Alaska or Hawaii is recommended.  Alaska lies along the “Ring of Fire” and it is very, very cold.  Also, almost everything has to be either shipped or flown into Alaska.  In the event of a real economic collapse, supplies to Alaska could be cut off and shortages could develop very quickly.

Hawaii has a huge population and it does not have a lot of room.  Like Alaska, most supplies have to be either shipped in or flown in.  And one really bad tsunami could pretty much wipe Hawaii out.

But once again, there is no “right answer”.  There are areas of just about every U.S. state that could potentially work well during a major economic collapse.

When assessing where “the best place to live in the United States” is, it is important to examine your own personal factors.  What will work for me and for my family will not necessarily work for you and your family.

So what do all of you think about this list?  Which area of the country do you think is best for those Americans who are seeking to prepare themselves for the coming economic collapse?