According to this Wikipedia article on fallout shelters

Germany has protected shelters for 3% of its population, Austria for 30%, Finland for 70%, Sweden for 81% and Switzerland for 114%

Above statement references an article on swissinfo.ch that can be found here in English.

Above Wikipedia article also mentions a plan in USA to shelter millions of people. The article states (under the heading "North America"):

In November 1961, in Fortune magazine, an article by Gilbert Burck appeared that outlined the plans of Nelson Rockefeller, Edward Teller, Herman Kahn, and Chet Holifield for an enormous network of concrete lined underground fallout shelters throughout the United States sufficient to shelter millions of people to serve as a refuge in case of nuclear war.

The Wikipedia article does not state whether construction on above shelters was ever started. The next sentence just says that:

The United States ended federal funding for the shelters in the 1970s.

Above sentence is sourced from this article at cnbc.com. My reason for excluding New York from this question is because this CNBC article does explain that New York did (in the past) have fallout shelters to house up to 11 million people.

Did any U.S. states or cities outside of New York ever make a decision to build fallout shelters for their population?

  • 3
    Many were either built (often dual purpose areas) or designated from existing structures. My middle school (early 1970’s) had one in the basement.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 7, 2018 at 17:29
  • 1
    @Jon Custer: Mine too. So did a nearby milk processing plant (built of concrete, and excavated some distance into a hillside). Though this was not by any stretch of the imagination a city: a rural town of maybe 1000 people at most, with the nearest larger town (~10K pop) maybe 20 miles away, and anything that could remotely be considered a target more than 50 miles off.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 7, 2018 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in comments, fallout shelters were of a dispersed nature, being typically located both within existing structures which 'meet the requirements', and in locations built for other purposes, designed to meet the shelter designation requirements.

This document, on the Status of the Civil Defense Program in 1969 discusses locations of 'existing structure' use: enter image description here

Concerning new construction, again the primary goal was integrating fallout shelter capabilities into applicable regular construction projects. To this end,

enter image description here

So the dual-purpose nature of fallout design was to be accounted for in new construction, just not specifically built structures only built as fallout structures. The last page has some statistics on how many total locations were included:

enter image description here

Farther down the page it discusses the system had representation in 994 counties with a population (in 1969) of over 66 million. The above table mentions over 95,000 stocked locations (those with supplies) and over 108,000 marked locations.

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