I have to tell you... that question really stumped me. So rather than just provide a flippant answer off of the top of my head, I spent a little time and did some research (as best I could online and using my own voluminous experiences and contacts), and I think I have an answer. A terrible, unpleasant, and brutal answer:
"Homesteaders" are families who have enjoyed some success within the system and have been able to figure out how to acquire productive property, equipment, implements, and tools and have put all of this to profitable use. They also appear to be almost exclusively married couples with children. My sense is that these people put their family and children ahead of the nonsensical drama of politics, activism, and protest. They make the world a better place by caring for their family and living in Community with their neighbors.
Self-described "Off-Griders" have, IMHO, reached the end of their rope and have lost all patience with the complexities of the current social construct. And they appear to me to be willing to forgo all social status just to get that monkey off of their back, including living in vans, RV's, cabins, tents, yurts, and under bridges. Off-Grider's appear to be almost exclusively young single men. I am certain that these people really wish events and circumstances were different. I am also convinced that this demographic has always had difficulty with the constraints of the current construct, did their best to fit in and follow the rules, sit still in class, and walk between the lines. The crushing confines of modern existence were not something they were ever going to be compatible with. In another era, these would have been the pioneers who crossed oceans and mountain ranges to improve their lot. Unfortunately, there are no frontiers left.
THAT IS NOT CRITICISM. IT IS ONLY AN OBSERVATION. I feel nothing but sadness and sympathy for people suffering under the burdens of (too much) complexity. Jordan Peterson, the famous psychologist, and best selling author, once said that mental illness is a weakness in a person that bulges out when the complexity of their life becomes too much to bear. I have written about the rewards, Truth, and beauty of the Quaker testimony of Simplicity often. Unfortunately, there is an expiration date for getting things done within the confines of the reality of the human lifespan. Children must be born in our youth, or we risk dying before they are established as fully functioning adults. Major life milestones must happen on time. 30 is far too late to start a career (there are exceptions; especially for the truly gifted); 40 is too late to start a family. Not everyone is going to make it to 70. I speak from personal experience: older parents, for the most part, are going to be a burden on their children unless they are very wealthy. And they will not be of any assistance to their grandchildren. The corporate/institutional employment system does not tell you this as it is not in their best interests. As far as they are concerned you are a drone and a taxpayer. They can import other people's children (immigration) to replace you when you age out of the system.
Here's another thing I have concluded: There are hundreds of thousands of Off-Griders and precious few REAL homesteading families and communities occupying rural America outside of the Anabaptist communities. I think the reason for that is pure economics. It doesn't cost a thing to go "Off-Grid." It takes years of work and saving to accumulate the resources to buy, stock, and operate a homestead for people who followed the standard advice for life advancement. It is much easier for people who learned a marketable skill in their teens and early 20's and started making and saving money while starting a family and who developed lots of practical skills at a young age.
Here are some photos I found online. In this case, I think a picture is worth a billion words.
(Compare this photo of an "Off-Grider's" dwelling to the photo of the Prosperous Homestead in an Amish community attached to this post.)
That was rhetorical.
The answer has four primary components:
1: The men became responsible MEN in their mid-teens with the benefit of a proper role model.
2: The women shape the children; not the public school system.
3: They have a FAMILY.
4: They have a COMMUNITY and live in cooperation and interdependence—not collectively.
#Homesteading, #Off Grid, #Self-Sufficiency, #Debt Free