2022’s Best States to Live Off the Grid

Rocking chairs on a porch of a rustic cabin with sunset off in the distance

Whether you feel overconnected or want to save the planet, moving off the grid can help you both unplug and live more sustainably. 

But not all states are suited to a fully independent lifestyle, and some actively discourage off-grid housing.

To help you find your own remote slice of heaven, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best States to Live Off the Grid.

We compared all 50 states across 21 key factors, from off-grid legality and average per-acre cost of farmland to climate and crime rate.

Check out our ranking below, followed by some highlights, lowlights, and expert advice on smoothly transitioning to off-grid life.

Table of Contents

  1. State Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Ask the Experts
  4. Methodology
  5. Why This Study Matters

State Rankings

See how each state fared in our ranking:

OVERALL RANKStateOverall ScoreFeasibility RankInfrastructure RankCost RankClimate RankSafety Rank
1Texas71.8591254926
2North Dakota65.854913415
3Wyoming65.4621713913
4Montana65.3431311379
5Iowa65.2414337322
6Kentucky64.0621231968
7Oklahoma63.6813854216
7Minnesota63.68112030331
9New Mexico62.9341224724
10Missouri62.241621173012
11Nebraska62.1671832453
12Arkansas60.92153943420
13Wisconsin60.251925342610
14Oregon59.88829291522
15Washington59.51048222014
16Idaho59.36645163518
17Michigan58.92230272221
18Kansas58.61411021464
18South Dakota58.61293124446
20Illinois58.32185432819
21Tennessee57.643611121935
22West Virginia57.23344481423
23Ohio56.92247361239
24South Carolina56.72232691147
25Colorado56.613038103827
27Vermont55.692033461715
26Hawaii56.06114945125
29Maine55.181746411617
28Delaware55.6262833237
30Georgia54.613516152541
31Alabama53.79431432738
32Louisiana53.72324262940
33Florida53.2633431548
34Maryland53.242532402429
35Virginia52.31441923736
36Utah51.962836144046
37Rhode Island50.9539244497
40Connecticut50.472743481011
38Mississippi50.68424773632
39California50.67312492344
41North Carolina50.19451520445
42Alaska49.25150384328
43Arizona49.054036284833
44Massachusetts47.46383442342
45New Hampshire47.443741473031
46Indiana47.31476261843
47New York46.444822351330
48Pennsylvania38.27493539849
49Nevada37.74627185050
50New Jersey32.85040502134
Infographic showing the best states to live off the grid, a ranking based on off-grid legality, cost of farmland, climate, and more

Highlights and Lowlights

Great Plains, Great for Getting Away

Flyover states, it turns out, are indeed an ideal place to land and live off the grid. Nine of our top 10 are fully or partly in the Great Plains region of the U.S. Texas claims the No. 1 spot, while Missouri finishes in 10th place.

All of these states ranked in the top 20 of the Feasibility and Infrastructure categories — except for Missouri, which slips to No. 21 in the latter. 

Self-sufficiency is critical to an off-grid lifestyle, and our ranking of the Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch shows there’s no better place to grow your own crops than in the Great Plains.

Alaska, the ‘Silence Is Golden’ State 

Not into small talk? America’s northernmost state will happily indulge your anti-social tendencies.

Alaska might not be the most off-grid lifestyle-friendly state at No. 42 overall, but it’s the least densely populated and the least connected by phone. Even Henry David Thoreau would have felt lonely here.

You’d have to be very intentional about running into another human in The Last Frontier — that’s what makes Alaska such a magnet for ex-convicts.

Claustrophobia Coast

Bright lights plus big cities equals a very small chance of truly unplugging. 

East Coast states — particularly in New England and the Mid-Atlantic — make up half of our bottom 10, owing to their collectively poor performance in Feasibility and Safety. They include Massachusetts at No. 44, New Hampshire at No. 45, New York at No. 47, and Pennsylvania at No. 48. New Jersey finishes dead last.

This should come as no surprise, considering these states are also among the 10 most densely populated states. That means close encounters with the human kind are more likely — not ideal for those seeking isolation.

Ask The Experts

Interested in pursuing an off-the-grid lifestyle? Wondering if that solar panel is worth the investment? LawnStarter pulled together an expert panel to answer the following questions about a quiet life among the trees:

  1. What are the most important considerations for anyone contemplating living off-grid?
  2. Besides adequate natural resources, what else is crucial to a successful off-grid lifestyle?
  3. What types of people are best suited to off-grid living?
  4. What unexpected challenges should people considering living off the grid be aware of?
  5. Is living off the grid sustainable long-term? Why or why not?
Julie White Crowell and Philip White
Off-Grid Enthusiast and Associate Professor
Gabriel Durham
Sustainability Coordinator
Julie White Crowell and Philip White
Off-Grid Enthusiast and Associate Professor
Eureka, California, and Arizona State University

What are the most important considerations for anyone contemplating living off-grid?

To live off-grid, you must be ready to live oft times without modern conveniences.

Besides adequate natural resources, what else is crucial to a successful off-grid lifestyle?

Availability of solar techs and people with off-grid expertise in the neighborhood

Philip: You also need a power backup plan that often involves another physical system, like storage batteries or a fossil-fuel-powered electrical generator. And for all of it, you need to have the budget to afford these systems.

What types of people are best suited to off-grid living?

I would say adaptability and attitude are the most important traits you need to thrive in this environment.

What unexpected challenges should people considering living off the grid be aware of?

Just when you think you have everything covered, you find another glitch in your system. We have solar coverage but during winter have such a limited window with the southern sun. We then depend on hydro and our generator backup.

Is living off the grid sustainable long-term? Why or why not?

Absolutely. We are thrilled not to depend on the electric grid for our power needs.

Gabriel Durham
Sustainability Coordinator
University of Houston, Office of Sustainability

What are the most important considerations for anyone contemplating living off-grid?

Culture Shock. I say this because it is a big umbrella term that captures a lot of issues to this major change in lifestyle.

While human life has some immutable qualities like eating, chores, bathroom, etc., every single one of these things is different off the grid.

Washing clothes takes longer, making food takes longer, everything takes longer, and you have to be ready to live with those shocks safely both physically and mentally.

Eventually it becomes routine as all things, do but this first period can be a huge shock and a lot of work.

In short be ready to devote 100% of your days to your lifestyle. Video games become farming, work commutes become hand-washing laundry, going out to see people becomes chopping firewood.

Consider just how much you are willing to change before you make the jump.

Besides adequate natural resources, what else is crucial to a successful off-grid lifestyle?

Support and preparation for change. For example, if you have all the natural resources in the world but you break a toe, will you have someone to be sure the crops get watered while you recover?

If not, you lose all of your food for the coming months over a simple injury.

If your tiny house, teepee, or whatever dwelling is burned in a fire, do you have someone you know who could rebuild it? Can you rebuild it yourself? Who will water the crops while you rebuild the house?

So many people think that if they can just save up to buy a few things, they can go off grid, never thinking about what to do if the wonder gadgets break.

It is vital to point out that it is very rare to find even ancient peoples living fully disconnected from a large society. Even the mountain men of early America traded with society for supplies and medicine. They traded furs to fund these needs, so even off the grid, you will likely need some form of livelihood and friends to cover disaster or unexpected expenses.

What types of people are best suited to off-grid living?

This is a dangerous question as it makes pride enter into the situation. Everyone takes risks living this way, even the best trained Navy SEALs.

Regardless, I will say that to best UNDERSTAND what you are about to undertake, it is best if you start small. Spend a week primitive camping, then two weeks if it works.

Live in an off-the-grid monastery or commune for a month. Give yourself a safe time frame to sample the lifestyle in either individual or group ways before totally diving in.

Be realistic with your limitations and discomforts as you go to see if these are lifestyle risks you are willing to live with.

What unexpected challenges should people considering living off the grid be aware of?

I mention a lot of these above: injury, genetic disorders flaring up in later life, natural disaster, hunger, things breaking that you didn’t build yourself, animal issues, and on and on.

In short, most people I encounter like to “prep” to live off the grid, but don’t follow through. You have to be OK with the dark side of off-the-grid living just as much as the dream of independence and nature.

Is living off the grid sustainable long-term? Why or why not?

Depends on how you define sustainable. Sustainable for an individual long term, yes. Sustainable for society long term, not now.

A few people living off grid is a great way to diversify lifestyles and reduce demand on already taxed systems, making these systems more sustainable for those that keep using them.

However, if everyone went off the grid at once we would forage the land barren and likely ruin water systems. There are just too many of us now due to modern agriculture and clean water.

Ironically, to make off-the-grid living sustainable long term we would have to build a new kind of green grid to support and interconnect homesteads’ resources.

Methodology

We ranked the 50 U.S. states from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 50) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points) on off-the-grid living, averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Feasibility
Suitability of Electric, Water, and Waste Laws for Off-Grid Living314Max. Value
Population Density in Rural Areas10.4 residents per sq. mi.154 residents per sq. mi.Min. Value
Infrastructure
Phone Coverage14.30%100.00%Max. Value
Road Quality (% of Major Roads in Poor or Mediocre Condition)114%77%Min. Value
Change in Share of Electricity from Renewable Sources1-16.31%+87.09%Max. Value
Projected 5-Year Growth in Solar Power Use (in Megawatts)230 MW26,995 MWMax. Value
Projected 10-Year Growth in Wind Power Use (in Megawatts)20 MW43,640 MWMax. Value
Cost
Average Per-Acre Value of Cropland2$1,050 $14,800 Min. Value
Property Taxes1.50.15%2.13%Min. Value
Cost of Living Index1.586193Min. Value
Climate
Average Yearly Amount of Sunshine139.33%82%Max. Value
Average Yearly Precipitation150 inches170.5 inchesMax. Value
Yearly Average Number of Very Cold Days10204.5Min. Value
Yearly Average Number of Very Hot Days13.5103.17Min. Value
Safety
Number of Air Quality Violations in Past Year11313Min. Value
Number of Water Quality Violations in Past Year1103,771Min. Value
Toxic Chemicals Release per Square Mile139.93,386.26Min. Value
Natural Hazards Index29.2115.78Min. Value
Rural Health Clinics per 1,000 sq. miles10.086.88Max. Value
Number of Critical-Access Hospitals1388Max. Value
Crime Rate per 1,000 Residents in Non-Metro Counties10%51.65%Min. Value

Sources: AcreTrader, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Transportation Research Nonprofit (TRIP), Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, Primal Survivor, Rural Health Information Hub, Solar Energy Industries Association, Tax Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, WhistleOut, and World Population Review

Why This Study Matters

Moving off the grid — living apart from the rest of society and relying on yourself for survival — is a growing trend in America. The construction industry saw an uptick in off-the-grid housing purchases during the pandemic. But in places like New York’s Oak Island, DIY has been the way of life for generations.

While living off-grid might make you feel isolated, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. Over 250,000 people live off-grid in the U.S., according to Big Rentz. That number is expected to greatly increase. By some estimates, as many as 12% of all Americans will be off-grid by the year 2035.

And with the pandemic far from over, there’s never been a better time to unplug and escape the chaos of the modern world.

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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Staff Writer