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One of the main reasons for the survey was to try and dispel some of the myths or stereotypes that are applied to survivalists particularly in the media. I hope that the following will go some way to doing so.
1) All survivalists are members of a paramilitary or militia outfit.
The survey clearly showed that the vast majority of survivalists (80%) adopted a combined approach to survival utilising the best elements of each. Only 3 percent responded that they concentrated on being a member of a paramilitary organisation.
This is substantiated by the question on military training which showed 63 percent as has no training at all. Interestingly though 4 respondents stated they had had special forces training.
2) All survivalists have extensive armouries of weapons.
Although no direct question was asked on this point because a) it was so controversial and b) the use and ownership of weapons is an accepted part of being a 'survivalist'. It was extremely interesting to note that the respondents were as likely to spend money on books as they were on weapons and ammunitions and that spending in general was spread right across what are considered basic supplies.
It was also interesting to note the relative lack of spending on NBC (Nuclear, Biological & Chemical) supplies give this survey was conducted after September 11. This could be attributed to most survivalists already having such supplied but could equally mean that there are greater perceived threats as shown in the related question.
3) All survivalists are conspiracy theorists or doomsayers.
According to the survey the greatest perceived threats are from government or economic collapse or from natural disasters. Given the recent large number of corporate collapses and resultant loss of employment and the natural disasters affecting various parts of the world concern over such threats is not unreasonable, just ask the Argentineans or Afghanis.
The lowest response to the survey was for the threats that delight conspiracy theorists, the apocalypse, invasions from outer space etc.
4) Most media imply that survivalists are not well educated.
This one has always bugged me as I have a MBA. The results clearly show that 67 percent of respondents have a University Degree or better. 60 percent classify their occupation as professional.
Interestingly I thought both farmers and tradesman were underrepresented making me wonder about a deficit of some extremely essential skills among survivalists.
5) Most survivalists are loners or in someway outside 'normal society'.
I was encouraged to find that 48 percent of respondents were married with children. I suspect that this is skewed to slightly older children given the age profile.
Also 55 percent of respondents had a pre-tax family income of $50,000 or more.
6) Survivalists are pessimistic about the future.
This certainly is true or I guess you wouldn't consider yourself a survivalist. In terms of a complete collapse on society for whatever reason 84 percent responded that it is either already happening or will occur within the next decade.
Overall I believe the responses do much to dispel some of the myths about being a survivalist and I hope the time will come (preferable before an event) that survivalists are treated with more respect by the media.
2008 TEN YEARS OF AUSSURVIVALIST
April 15, 2008