What is the difference between a preppers and a survivalist? Some people may think the two names are interchangeable, but they are not.
According to wikipedia, the word survivalist dates back to the 1970s, while the word prepper dates to the 1990s. The name prepper came about from certain events that happened in the 1990s.
The 1990s was a bad time to be a survivalist. There was the Ruby Ridge incident and the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco.
After the Oklahoma City Bombing, it came out that Timothy McVeigh was associated with survivalist groups. Due to his association with the word “survivalist”, people associated survivalist as being possible terrorist.
The name “prepper” rolled off the tongue easier than survivalist. There was also less stigma with being a prepper, than being a survivalist who blows stuff up like Timothy McVeigh. I remember talking to people about prepping in the 1990s. When I used the word survivalist, the person responded as if I had used the word terrorist.
Over the decades prepping has morphed into a sub-set of survivalism. Today, preppers are not the same thing they were in the 1990s.