Apparently people are anticipating the apocalypse more than you’d think.
I love doomsday predictions. I like post-apocalyptic literature and movies. I read Nostradamus for fun. Last month I wrote a list on the Mayan 2012 apocalypse. If I ever meet Harold Camping I want to give him a kiss on the forehead.
But I don’t really think any of them are going to come true. On a day-to-day basis, I don’t make small plans for the end of the world.
Apparently, a surprisingly large number of people do.
This is one of those surveys that normally slips completely under the radar. But I happened to stumble onto it a few days ago and felt like I had to talk about the results. Because I had no idea I was living in a country where this many people aren’t just focused on preparedness… they’re budding survivalists.
Here are 11 wild results from a doomsday survey by the National Geographic Channel. The survey was conducted on a general, three percent margin-of-error sample of Americans — so this wasn’t, like, a voluntary poll on a militia message board. These are just regular, everyday people.
Baby, let me blow your mind tonight. See the writing? I’m not stopping. Keep on reading ’til the world ends…
1 | Is building a bomb shelter a smarter investment in your future than saving for retirement?
So we can know who we’re dealing with in this survey, the result on this question gives us a baseline to work with. And it’s an aggressive baseline. It’s like the survey version of Geddy Lee. (That’s a half-percenter joke right there.)
A full 41 percent of people say a bomb shelter is a smarter investment for the future than a retirement account. 59 percent went with saving for retirement. So THIS is our jumping off point. Two-fifths of people are putting money into a bomb shelter instead of their 401(k).
2 | A quarter of Americans think the Mayan apocalypse prediction will come true
27 percent say it’s extremely or somewhat likely that at least some of the Mayan prediction will happen. Most believe it will be a major catastrophic event.
My conclusion: People are going to be selling stuff for really, really cheap on Craigslist in November. Maybe I can finally buy that Segway I’ve always secretly kinda wanted.
3 | If they thought the world might end tomorrow, 27 percent would resolve arguments with loved ones
A mushier writer than I might use this opportunity to get on a soapbox about how this demonstrates your fights that have kept you estranged from family members and old friends really aren’t worth it and you should pick up the phone right now because life’s too short. Instead, I say… fuck ’em. They pissed you off for a reason. If the world ends, don’t go down like a whimpering coward. Stubborn til the end.
4 | 33 percent would spend their last day on Earth more indulgently
24 percent — just slightly lower — would have sex. That actually beat out stocking up on canned food and water at 20 percent; if the world were ending, I suppose you wouldn’t need that stuff anyway, right? Plus, I think you have time to both loot a Costco and squeeze in one last hump.
As for the rest of the people who think “world is ending… indulge!” — six percent say they’d eat a meal at a fancy restaurant, and three percent say they’d do an extreme sport or activity like skydiving.
5 | How have you already prepared for a potential catastrophe?
Most of the responses were boring and generic; like, 45 percent have stocked up on canned goods like some kind of a pragmatic survivalist Poindexter. But there are some good ones too. 26 percent keep a fully-loaded shotgun on hand at all times… 24 percent keep a substantial amount of cash on hand (so check your friends’ mattresses, and hope it’s not M. Bison dollars)… nine percent have developed their own source of water… and six percent are raising livestock specifically for post-apocalyptic purposes.
6 | Bomb shelter or a Viking range?
This question asked “all other factors being equal, would you be more likely to purchase a home that had brand new high-end appliances or a bomb shelter or safe room.” And it’s split right down the middle. 51 percent want a Price Is Right-worthy kitchen… 49 percent channel either Ned Flanders or Jodie Foster.
7 | What would you want unlimited access to during a catastrophe?
The majority of people go with water (55 percent) or canned food (25 percent). But my favorite are the four percent of people who most want an unlimited supply of bullets. I guess if anarchy breaks out, you don’t want to bring 17 bottles of Aquafina to a gun fight.
8 | Only two-thirds of people would share their survival hoard with their significant other
I guess when you’ve got six cans of wax beans to last you through the End of Days you really figure out where cuts need to be made. Just 64 percent of people said that if it really came down to it, they’d share their resources and supplies with their significant other. At least that beat out close friends, at 55 percent. And those two are the high watermarks.
On the other end of things, 21 percent of people are a little too generous… and would share with their coworkers. Come on. Just because you’ve gone to Subway for lunch together once or twice a week for the past year doesn’t mean it’s on you to keep them away from the zombies.
9 | A shockingly low number of parents would share supplies with their children
I think we’ve finally found the exception to the “parents would do anything for their children” rule. Yell at the principal for their child? For sure. Go to jail for their kid? Probably. Take a bullet? Most likely. Share supplies in a post-apocalyptic world? Not a chance. Only 28 percent of parents say they’d hook up their children.
10 | 19 percent of people think aliens just might invade Earth within 25 years
When people were asked which movies “do you think depict events that could happen in the next 25 years,” 19 percent went with Independence Day. Only The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, and 2012 got more votes. That’s nuts. But it pales in comparison to…
11 | Seven percent of people think highly intelligent apes will take over the Earth by 2037
That’s right. Seven percent of people said they could see Planet of the Apes happening within 25 years. And I feel totally within my rights to mock that. (If it comes true, I will proudly sing, in my best Troy McClure voice, “Now you’ve finally made a monkey out of me.”)