Best and Worst States for Businesses to Survive the Pandemic

Cody Cromwell
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The Top Ten States

The United States has a corporate income tax of 35% and a sales tax of about 915%, so it’s no wonder the corporate tax rate in the U.S. is among the highest in the developed world. If you’re an entrepreneur, entrepreneur conference organizer or entrepreneur looking for a new launch, the corporate tax rate is one of the most important factors to consider.

The map above shows states with highest starting corporate tax rate. More than a dozen states have a corporate tax rate in excess of 10%. While you’re more likely to pay corporate taxes in a place like California, taxes are also high in states such as Missouri and Colorado. As will be discussed below, the overall tax climate for businesses in the U.S. is increasingly competitive, so you need to be thinking about taxes for your business as early as possible.

Since we’re in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, it’s important to be thinking about all your tax options. Let’s look at the ten states with the highest starting corporate tax rate and then drill down to the top and bottom 5.


It might feel like no one is going to survive a pandemic save those who live in the relatively isolated towns of Hard Knocks.

Turns out, people may be a little more adaptable than you think.

Investigating the survivability of pandemic-stricken Ohio spots to see if there’s any epic collapses taking place right now.

South Dakota

According to the Migration Policy Institute, small business owners in South Dakota will suffer from the worst consequences of the zombie apocalypse. South Dakotans will likely seek refuge in unaffected states, leaving South Dakota with too few people for businesses to operate. The institute predicts that in South Dakota, small business owners will have to fire between one half to one third of their workforce, costing the state economically and causing depression and anxiety.

If you’re just trying to survive, not produce, your best odds are in South Dakota.


Solid choice with great demographics but terrible infrastructure, not enough public health money, and a weak economy.


Vs The Population Density *In order to calculate the population density, we used the 2010 federal population estimates that US census came up with.This is the population based data state by state.

Alabama and Alaska both have relatively high population density that will make business more difficult to run. Also, Alaska will have a lower population density than Wyoming when the pandemic hits since Alaska is the largest state in the nation. The population density is all the more concerning because it indicates the possibility that there will be an increase in competition for resources as the population density will be too high for the state to sustain itself.

On the other side of the spectrum, Wyoming and North Dakota have very low population density,which makes business easier on the business owner. Both states also have very low population density when the total population is taken into account.

Highest Investment per Dollar vs Longest Average Length in Days

This category consists of states whose investment will give you the highest return on investment. Both North Dakota and Alaska have the lowest average days in duration. This means that your investment will have the highest return on investment even in a pandemic scenario. North Dakota is also the highest ranked state when the total population is taken into account.

Longest Average Days in Duration

New Mexico

Business Magazine's best overall ranking, 5 stars.

While New Mexico has lower taxes than other states, other business-friendly measures such as being a right-to-work state, having a low cost of living compared to the national average and not having a state income tax make New Mexico an excellent place to establish business. Businesses can quickly start up without having to file any paperwork or pay onerous fees.

And as businesses start up in this state, the industry becomes more competitive in the business world. New Mexico's oil and natural gas industry and its medical research and technology hub are strong incentives for businesses to set up shop in New Mexico.

Since New Mexico has consistent weather, businesses can be confident that revenue will maintain rather than plummet in times of bad weather.

And since New Mexico's businesses are diverse, it allows for a large number of industries to expand based on their diverse customer base.

Boise State University's Small Business Institute and Strategic Marketing Center are vital assets to new businesses. NM SBIC offers programs and services to small businesses and the NM SBIC staff and board are always available to help business owners improve their operations.

With so many incentives, it’s no surprise that New Mexico has a large portion of small businesses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 7,856,117 businesses in the state.


Arkansas might be the best place to start a new business in the event of a bug apocalypse. Business ownership is at an all-time high thanks to the low unemployment rate.

While the rental rates may be significantly higher than some parts of the country, Arkansas still offers good exposure to big markets. With a population of 3.8 million people, Arkansas offers low prices for small businesses.

But even though Arkansas may be a good place to start your business if you’re looking to start out in the bug apocalypse, it’s important to emphasize that Arkansas has a much larger population than its size would suggest. In fact, Arkansas is the 38th largest state in the country, but it has a population of only 3.8 million people.

If the pandemic had spread across the entire country, it would have been a bigger disaster than it was, but since the pandemic only affected the southeastern part of the United States, it was more manageable.


Is number one in the nation for large corporations and small businesses. This figure is due to the economic stability it provides and the opportunities it offers businesses to flourish. Iowa is home to a large number of small businesses, for example, many in the corn processing and agriculture business, and these small businesses create revenue that is vital to the state’s economy.

The state is practical when it comes to taxes, providing a moderate assessed balance and a low tax rate for businesses. The unemployment rate in Iowa is low, at 3.9 percent, making it a good place to start a career. Iowa also has a low divorce rate, which is encouraging to families considering a move.

Iowa is a lot like a small town with its increasing population at the same time it remains a small town in how it looks out for its residents as a community. You’re more likely to find community events in Iowa, including festivals and shows, for example. Iowa provides a good mixture of nature and city life that draws people to the state and its population.

The natural environment of Iowa has natural phenomena such as the sunsets and sunrises that look incredible in a state with little to no artificial light pollution.


West Virginia

West Virginia ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to the survival of small businesses during a zombie outbreak. This is the 3rd worst possible ranking, which means we would expect to see a high percentage of businesses survive and a lower percentage of businesses fail.

The percentage breakdown for failure:

Shop kept by families: 0%

Home businesses: 15%

Retail businesses: 10%

Service businesses: 75%

Fabrication businesses: 90%

It's highly unlikely that a fabrication business will run out of materials. With full control of the resources in the place, you have the potential to create anything you want.

In stark contrast is the extensive processes and materials needed to build a zombie, a zombie's brain is huge! The brain for a zombie takes up much room both inside and outside of its actual head, so it requires a lot of raw materials. We would expect that most people would rather build something else for any after-zombie world, than waste a large amount of raw materials and energy on crafting a brain.

The educational breakdown for failure:

No education: 15%

High School education: 10%

Some college education: 65%

College education: 85%

Put simply, it's imperative to teach yourself if you are to survive the apocalyptic zombie world.

The job breakdown for failure is a more complicated matter.


Nebraska, with its generally low population and geographic remoteness, is one of the few US states that currently does not require a vaccine for smallpox. (These areas are listed in green on the map below.) However, this does not mean that an outbreak will not spread to Nebraska. The disease has the potential to pop up almost anywhere.

Definitive Ranking of All 50 States

Losing money to sell a product or service is one thing, but running out of money to pay your bills is a whole new ball game… and it happens all the time. Maybe you can’t pay your electric bill…or maybe you can’t afford to pay for the food you need to make your product.

Most of us don’t think about business survival during a pandemic or disaster, but in the event of one, it’s a very good idea…especially if you need your money to survive. What are the best and worst states for business survival during a pandemic?

The Survival and Prosperity Group at Eco-Logic Systems commissioned a detailed study of the 50 states to investigate the factors that likely predict the success of small business survival in pandemic and disaster. The results are based on a theoretical pandemic that would begin with a 100 % outbreak of Influenza A and would remain at 100 % for 4 weeks before slowing down. The Results were compared to data collected during last year’s outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus.

The first 24 states, because of their size & population, were divided into the 5 regions: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and West. This was done because influenza affects people differently from one region to another.

Full Methodology

As with the previous "Survival Research" data, the goal was to construct a state-by-state survival score based on available numbers. While Survival Research's state scores were derived from the proportion of one's population that is self-sufficient in food production, this scoring system was based on the proportion of one's population that is self-sufficient in healthcare. The result was a survival score for each state based on the following methodology and data:

{1}. Numbers from The ArcFact Project were multiplied by a state's pandemic survival score to get a total score.
{2}. Numbers from Google's population search engine were multiplied by a state's pandemic survival score to get a total population.
{3}. Percentages from Wikipedia were multiplied by a state's pandemic survival score to get a pandemic impact score.
{4}. The best pandemic impact score was multiplied by a state's pandemic survival score. This was the final score. The worst pandemic impact score was multiplied by a state's pandemic survival score. This was the final survival score.
{5}. The state with the best pandemic impact score was given a 30 percent bonus to its pandemic survival score to account for the fact that a state's economy will be largely reliant on trade and travel during the pandemic.

Economic And Financial Health (20%):

Healthy, fully functioning financial markets will help businesses and governments prepare for the eventual return of people to a sustainable population where food, water, and basic sanitation are safe.

This is the role that the Federal Reserve plays in a developed nation.

These markets will determine the price of the dollars and whether or not businesses will prosper. This is based on the laws laid down for their industry.

If these markets are healthy, the currency exchange rate will be determined by how many goods you want in buying power for one dollar.

When these markets are unhealthy, businesses will go through long periods of hiatus of no sales, no inventory, unreliable employees, and below average consumers. And these periods will be directly linked to price decreases.

As the population decreases, food costs and production will become less cost effective. So, the currency exchange rate will decrease, too.

Following the law of supply and demand, if less people need a product or service, the price should go down. And f the population does decrease significantly, the price of food may go down dramatically.

When the company cannot produce as much, the price should decrease.

If an industry cannot afford to produce the products they need to sell, the demand will also decrease.

Least Economic Stressors (25%):

Emergency Reserves & Relief (25%)

The largest and best stocked facilities will be in the major metropolitan areas, so that’s where you’ll find the best supplies of food and drinking water. Unless you own a farm or are prepared for long-term water rationing, then being in an area with a large supply of water is a good precaution.

What Else Goes in Your Disaster Economy

Ventures in Sanitation, Hygiene, and Energy.

Venturing off into the world of sanitation, hygiene, and energy will allow you to create sustainable and profitable businesses. Some examples of industries that could/should be explored:

Clean Sanitation and Water Filtration Systems:

Basic sanitation, including a wide range of products and services to address wastewater, sewage, recycling and solid waste (dog poop) as well as water treatment, purification, and reclamation. Water reclamation and resource recovery are also part of this industry, since governments are often looking for cost-effective methods to recover water, and livestock is an important industrial use of reclaimed water.

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products:

Due to the loss of medications, dietary supplements, cosmetics, vaccines, medical contact solutions and other essential medical supplies, many people will be forced to resort to home-made solutions for their medical needs.

Hygiene and Sanitation:

COVID-19 Rates & Healthcare Infrastructure (20%):

As it is becoming more widely known that the worst comes to worst, below is the 20% Health Infrastructure score for the top worst states. Beginning from best to worst.

{1}. Vermont 4. Wyoming 2. New Hampshire
{2}. Idaho 5. North Dakota
{3}. Maine 6. Nebraska

It seems that the Northeast and East Coast states would be the most effected by any pandemic due to the size of the continent and the population density. How ever for this to occur mostly the filth and disease would come from the 100 to 200 million illegal immigrants that are currently in the United States. The health care infrastructure score takes that into account.

Consumer Confidence (10%):

Maryland, Hawaii, New York.

Businesses should consider all four factors when choosing a target state to establish operations. In case of a pandemic, a CBR strategy is logistically challenging and likely will disrupt operations well before the dust settles. Once business starts to get disrupted in a certain area, it can be difficult to completely relocate. Additionally, relocated operations may not be welcomed within new state, especially if businesses relocate due to pandemic concerns, or become a PPO.

The best states for business survive the pandemic while minimizing losses, are the states with high consumer confidence.

The worst states for business survive the pandemic while minimizing losses are the states that are currently having the highest unemployment rates.

Best States for a Business to Survive Pandemic:

  • Minnesota, North Dakota, Vermont, Iowa, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, South Dakota
  • New Hampshire, Maine, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Rhode Island
  • Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Wyoming, North Carolina, District of Columbia, Oklahoma, South Carolina
  • New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas

Bottom Line

A state that has less than 100,000 people per county is reasonably well equipped to withstand and recover from the the pandemic as opposed to a state with such an enormous population of over 3,000,000.

If we wanted to panic and freak out and only look at the most extreme case, let’s look at Florida. Florida is one of the top states as the best possible survival situation. It has virtually no EMP and its population is a little less than 15 million people. Its impact would be minimal and not detrimental to the future. It would be a great choice to rebuild from.

But see the thing with Florida is that if the pandemic hits, it is believed that the government would fall. I state this because cities like Miami or Fort Lauderdale are very susceptible to disease and water-borne outbreaks, so if there is a population drop-off and those cities become a hotbed of disease, Florida will become very vulnerable. And by vulnerable, I mean the population will likely be wiped out