There’s a running joke in The Walking Dead fan base that the characters just move from one survivor community to another. But that’s symbolically important for the plot. It feeds into the show’s overall theme (which it sometimes conveys in a ham-fisted way) that we are the biggest threat to ourselves. Even when faced with incredible circumstances like a zombie apocalypse, humankind is still divided and at war with each other.
If all those communities pooled their resources together and worked towards ridding the world of walkers, they’d make some decent headway with it. But that’s not the way they the human race operates, so they need to save all their bullets to use on each other.
Updated on November 25th, 2021 by Saim Cheeda: There have been a few more communities added to The Walking Dead in recent times. These have ranged from levels of viciousness to civility, along with bringing characters who reflect the way of living within their respective groups. Additional context has also been provided for previously-seen communities, which makes them worth analyzing as well. Also, the meaning behind a group’s power and effectiveness has changed, evolving to comprise the resources at their disposal, the leadership quality, and the forces they have under their control. With this in mind, there have been a few more communities added to this ranked list.
15 The Vatos Gang
This was the first real group that Rick and company encountered. On the outside, it seemed as if this was a gang of dangerous men, only to turn out that they were looking after a retirement home and had many elderly people in the community.
They were hardly prepared for the horrors of the apocalypse, though, as supplies would have run out, and with the community members being so elderly, there would’ve been too many mouths to feed and very few workers. Of course, dangerous people would have most definitely overpowered the group.
14 The Living
These guys weren’t shown in their community, having attempted to ambush Rick and company in a town. However, it was clear that they had the means to fight for themselves and attack unsuspecting people as well. It was their bad luck that they encountered Rick.
Still, it’s also clear that the Living didn’t have much of any resources of their own, as they were desperate to capture Rick’s group in order to steal their supplies. With their numbers also having dwindled after Rick killed a few of them, the Living probably didn’t fare well in the long-run.
13 The Wolves
Despite the fact that their appearance was teased for several episodes and we were led to believe they were the most dangerous people in the post-apocalyptic landscape, they turned out to be pretty weak. When they invaded Alexandria, it was pretty scary, but all it took was Carol dressing up as one of them and taking up arms to get rid of them.
Still, the Wolves do look pretty creepy with the letter “W” carved ominously into their foreheads. And that guy Owen was suitably unnerving – if only the actual Wolves had lived up to their menacing promise.
12 The Scavengers
It’s not a good sign when your survivor community is better known as “the Garbage People” than its real name. The Scavengers have always been spineless back-stabbers who will turn their backs on a previous agreement and betray all their allies at the drop of a dime.
Every time they’ve had the chance to do the right thing, they’ve done the opposite of it at the very last second and let everybody down, particularly when they teamed up with the Saviors and double-crossed the Alexandrians. Plus, it didn’t take much to wipe them all out – Simon had a hissy fit and lashed out and that’s what eliminated the entire Scavenger group.
11 Grady Memorial Hospital
When Beth went missing and Daryl went looking for her, there wasn’t much hope that he would find her. Either she was taken by some bad guys or she’d been thrown to the walkers, it seemed. But then we discovered she had actually been picked up by a group of survivors who lived in a hospital. It makes sense, logically, since they would have endless medical supplies, food to last them for months, and a ton of backup generators.
However, the operation was run by the insufferable Dawn and a bunch of useless men. We got Noah out of the whole situation, but it ended with Beth’s dumbest moment as she was being released and tried to stab Dawn with some scissors.
There are few things lamer than putting up posters around a post-apocalyptic wasteland that advertise your “safe haven” when you actually just intend to eat whoever shows up, but that’s just what the Termites did in season 4 of The Walking Dead. It made a great story arc for the back end of the season as all the characters had been broken up by the prison fallout and the promise of a safe haven slowly brought them all towards the same place.
However, it only took a couple of episodes for Rick’s group to go from being locked in a train carriage at Terminus waiting to be eaten to having escaped and poisoned the Termites with “tainted meat” and killed them with a hatchet. So, they can’t have been that competent.
Woodbury established itself for a little while as a community that could have been a safe haven. The Governor did cut corners and killed people, but most of the members weren’t aware of this. Of course, all the success they attained went for naught in the end.
Woodbury was burned to the ground with the Governor simply standing around to watch. They deserve some credit for keeping things going for a while but ultimately suffered from a megalomaniac leader.
8 The Whisperers
The Whisperers added to the roster of Walking Dead survivor communities, having only made their first appearance in season 9’s midseason finale when what appeared to be a walker stabbed Jesus. However, in just a few short episodes, they made their chilling presence known to the show’s fan base.
Wearing zombie flesh as a mask might sound bad, but as we’ve seen from various predicaments that Rick and co. have gotten themselves out of, that’s the best way to disguise your living skin from the ravenous hordes of the undead. So, the Whisperers were actually quite smart, if only Alpha and Beta didn’t have the habit of killing their own people left and right.
7 The Kingdom
It’s not very cool to just set up shop and declare a place “the Kingdom” and decide that you are the king, but then that’s probably what happened hundreds of years ago in every country that has a royal family. And King Ezekiel is a fair leader.
He might not be resilient enough to face the evil hand of the Saviors, but he is kind, chilled-out, open-minded, and relatively impartial. He had a pet tiger called Shiva, which was a huge point in his community’s favor. Although the Kingdom fell eventually, it was a pretty flourishing community in its time.
The Oceanside community is like The Walking Dead’s very own Themyscira, a campground run entirely by women. There are both boys and girls among the children they’re protecting, but all the adult survivors are women. Some of the highest authorities in the Oceanside have been shown to have pretty poor judgment, but on the whole, they’re a capable bunch.
Plus, they gave Tara a much-needed opportunity for her own story arc when they found her unconscious on a nearby beach. No one in the Oceanside community has become a really major character, but they’re an interesting and powerful little community.
5 Georgie’s Group
For all intents and purposes, Georgie’s group seems to be what the future is about in The Walking Dead. She had knowledge of advanced techniques for sustainable living, which Maggie employed and saw great results come out of.
The only reason her community isn’t at the top is because it hasn’t been seen yet, making it difficult to form a conclusive opinion about it. Still, Maggie certainly found it accustoming since she left for years to set up Georgie’s group further and came back looking healthier than before.
4 The Hilltop
What has let the Hilltop down in the past is its leader, the cowardly Gregory, who changed his allegiance every five minutes if it meant there was less chance of him getting hurt. However, some of our favorite characters moved into the Hilltop (or started off there before joining Rick’s group), like Maggie and Jesus. And let’s not forget that Maggie had the worst thing about the Hilltop hanged at the Hilltop, so it’s not all bad.
The Hilltop’s stronghold seems to have been hashed together since it’s literally just a fenced-off couple of buildings on top of a hill, but the community itself is quite interesting and was able to keep thriving when Alexandria and the Kingdom faced shortages in resources.
3 The Saviors
Say what you will about Negan, but he’s nothing if not a bold leader. Every single person in his group was kept in line, and if they thought about disobeying him, he made sure they never do it again. His methods were questionable, of course, because he ruled with fear instead of love, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
The Saviors dominated near-enough the entire post-apocalyptic hellscape and had basically every other group of survivors under their thumb, giving them most of the resources they manage to find or grow or manufacture.
Rick’s group has gone by a number of different names over the years as they’ve jumped from location to location, but they finally found a place to call home in season 5 when Aaron recruited them to move into Alexandria. Alexandria had all our favorite characters: Rick, Daryl, Glenn, Michonne, Abraham, Tara, Aaron, Jesus.
They’re the first group to successfully stand up to Negan (after an embarrassing amount of unsuccessful attempts, admittedly) and if there’s ever a coalition between several different groups that are oppressed by the Saviors, like season 8’s “All-Out War” storyline, then its Alexandria that instigates it. If the Saviors are The Walking Dead’s Galactic Empire, then Alexandria is the Rebel Alliance.
1 The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is supposed to have dozens of thousands in numbers within their community. Their soldiers wear gear that nobody in the apocalypse has seen thus far. Their community also has the social circles and classes that were present before things went to hell.
For this reason, it’s safe to saw the Commonwealth is the strongest group due to its ability to retain all of its citizens in such vast numbers and bring back the kind of normalcy that was once in the world.
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