Surviving Zombie Attack

Would you survive a zombie outbreak?

CDMPS was approached by Xbox to simulate how a zombie outbreak would spread across Australian and New Zealand cities.

In the event of a zombie outbreak, our research suggests that Perth would be the fastest to succumb, with nearly 100 000 people infected in the first four days. Meanwhile, residents in Darwin would be most likely to survive, with a flesh-eating disease spreading at half the speed of the west coast.

“You need to build a defensive ring around the source of any attack to overpower the zombies with numbers, because if you miss that chance they will just overpower everyone as long as they have contact with a population,” warns Professor Greg Foliente, Deputy Director of CDMPS. “Alternatively, if you have enough warning, disperse as fast as you can.”

Our modelling gave major cities across Australia and New Zealand a ‘Zombie Survival Index’ (ZSI) ranking, based on how well they would handle a life-altering outbreak. The safest city is Darwin, followed by Queenstown in New Zealand, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Auckland, which claims the title of the most dangerous city in Australia and New Zealand, should an outbreak occur. The ZSI rankings were based on a variety of criteria, including the potential rate of zombie infection, situational analysis of the infection’s origin, how the disease would spread, how residents claim they would act, and how well each city would defend themselves against the walking dead and geographical location.

A few key conclusions from our work include:

  • Melbournians would be most likely to tackle the problem together; seeing higher chances of survival as part of a large group
  • Family matters most in Hobart, with 40 per cent choosing to stick with their family over other survivors
  • A lack of food and water would be our biggest concern (50 per cent), with over half the Queensland population identifying this as their biggest worry
  • Aussies ages 45 and above were 19 per cent more likely to go it alone than those younger than them
  • Darwin would be the most inviting city, with 50 per cent of residents willing to let a stranger into their home for protection, compared to just 19 per cent in Adelaide
  • Nearly one in five (17 per cent) would attempt to dress/act like a zombie to avoid detection and infection, while 3 per cent would hide under the bed
  • A hospital was deemed the preferred shelter for most of the population (31 per cent).
Read the pursuit article for more information: The Hard Science Behind Surviving a Zombie Attack

This work was commissioned by Xbox Australia to model the fictitious spread of disease throughout Australian cities to mark the launch of new video game State of Decay 2.

Project Researchers:

Prof. Greg Foliente & Dr. Benny Chen

More Information

Professor Greg Foliente