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Younger Americans fearing 2024 election could spark a civil war are preparing for disaster: 40% of Gen-Z have spent money on doomsday preparations, new survey finds


More young Americans are doomsday prepping ahead of the next presidential election over fears of a societal collapse or failed natural disaster response, a survey has found.

Gen-Z, adults born after 1997, is the most likely to be preparing for a disaster with a whooping 40 percent claiming to have spent money on doomsday supplies in the past year, according to a Finder survey.

The survey of 2,179 US adults was conducted from January 9 to February 17 and has a two percent margin of error. Finder – who has been collecting prepping data since 2017 – asked people if they had spent money preparing for emergencies over the last twelve months.

Across all generations, food and water was the most commonly bought prepping item and 20 percent of Gen-Z preppers purchased toilet paper. According to the latest survey 29 percent of Americans spent money on prepping, up from the roughly 25 percent who did in 2017.

Many doomsday preppers said they are taking precautions ahead of the 2024 election because they are concerned it will bring civil unrest, while others worry the government will botch its response to the next big natural disaster.

Brekke Wagoner from North Carolina is among younger, more liberal people now prepping for a possible future disaster they fear could cause a societal collapse

Brekke Wagoner from North Carolina is among younger, more liberal people now prepping for a possible future disaster they fear could cause a societal collapse 

Many doomsday preppers said they are taking precautions ahead of the 2024 election because they are concerned it will bring civil unrest. Police are seen during a Black Lives Matter riot in Portland, Oregon, in September 2020

Many doomsday preppers said they are taking precautions ahead of the 2024 election because they are concerned it will bring civil unrest. Police are seen during a Black Lives Matter riot in Portland, Oregon, in September 2020 

New Orleans' Superdome is pictured in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The number of Gen-Z preppers has grown, with many saying they fear a botched government response to a similar future disaster

New Orleans’ Superdome is pictured in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The number of Gen-Z preppers has grown, with many saying they fear a botched government response to a similar future disaster 

Sustainable prepping content creator Brekke Wagoner said, ‘Basically our weather is going to be more intense because of global climate change, if for no other reason you should have an emergency plan to deal with these inclement disasters, because they’re coming whether we want them or not.’

Wagoner told USA Today, ‘The intensification of our natural storm seasons is the number one thing that’s going to happen to you. An electromagnetic pulse that takes out the electrical grid could happen. A nuclear war might happen. A civil war might happen. But a storm will happen.’

In September, data showed a record 23 climate events that caused 253 deaths cost the United States $57.6 billion in 2023.

Along with Idalia and the Hawaii wildfires, the 23 devastating events included 18 severe storms across several states – including tornados, high wind and hail storms – two major floods, and one winter blizzard.

A USA Today and Suffolk University poll of 1,000 registered voters conducted from October 17 to 30 found 32 percent of Americans said the world faces bigger problems than usual.

Another 35 percent said the world was in the most troubled state of their lifetime.

‘On the left, you have people afraid (Trump’s) going to declare himself dictator of the United States and people on the left are going to end up as targets in some sort of authoritarian system,’ prepping expert Brad Garrett said.

‘On the right, it’s general malaise and a fear of society unraveling. They point to these smash-and-grab robberies, riots and protests.’

Some people fear a rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden will result in riots similar to those which erupted across American cities throughout the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. 

‘We do have this authoritarian streak running through the right, and prepping plays into that. They are prepared for violence, no question,’ he said.

‘But you’re also seeing an increase in militancy on the left. I’m seeing a lot of liberal preppers buying guns, saying that they waited too long. It’s an unfortunate arms race that I do think we’re going to see escalating as we head into the election, particularly if it’s Trump versus Biden.’

A doomsday prepper, who has built a bunker, has revealed how she spent $75,000 to prepare for a nuclear disaster amid ongoing wars across the world and the soaring cost of the living

A doomsday prepper, who has built a bunker, has revealed how she spent $75,000 to prepare for a nuclear disaster amid ongoing wars across the world and the soaring cost of the living

The traditional view of preppers as rural, conservative men hunkering down in bunkers such as these ones in the Black Hills of South Dakota has changed in recent years

The traditional view of preppers as rural, conservative men hunkering down in bunkers such as these ones in the Black Hills of South Dakota has changed in recent years

Preppi, a popular emergency kit brand, reported year-to-date sales up 29% from 2022

Bug bag brand Judy said their sales quadrupled in June when wildfire smoke covered the Northeast

Companies that specialize in making prep packs have also seen increased sales over the years and mainstream popularity

The image of what a disaster prepper looks like has changed over the years since the COVID-19 pandemic saw toilet paper flying off the shelves. 

Doomsday prepper Rowan Mackenzie, 38, built her own bunker and spent $75,000 stocking it with supplies to prepare for a nuclear disaster amid ongoing wars across the world and the soaring cost of the living crisis.

Mackenzie claimed most of her stock will last up to 25 years and she has a ‘flawless’ rotation system to ensure there isn’t any waste.

With the recent outbreak of war in Israel and Palestine, as well as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the mom-of-three noted that it’s as important as ever to get geared up for any scenario.

Companies that specialize in making prep packs have also seen increased sales over the years and mainstream popularity.



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