My main settlement Sancutuary Hills only has 8 settlers, and seems to be growing slowly, even though I have built lots of beds and have a high defend score of 33. Food is 18, Water 15, and there are 24 beds. Power Level is 13 and there is a recruitment signal going on for a while.

Yet it does not seem to grow that much. When entering the Data tab on my Workshops, I see an exclamation mark on Sanctuary Hills, yet it is not clear to me what needs fixing.

Fallout 4 screenshot of the Workshops tab showing the exclamation point.

For the other settlements, there is also an exclamation mark at the low ressource, most often low defense.

How to grow my settlement fast?

  • 2
    33 is not a high defense score
    – kalina
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 20:25
  • @kalina Can you elaborate? What would be a high score? And how do I know that it is high enough?
    – k0pernikus
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 20:26
  • 2
    A tip in the tutorial said the defence score should at least be the sum of the food and water scores. Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 21:50
  • 3
    I've found the exclamation point to be misleading. Often I visit the settlement and it just vanishes.
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 12:48
  • 2
    @DavidYell I experienced similar issues between different data outside and inside the settlement. Sometimes, the data tab would show only 4 beds whereas there were in fact 24.
    – k0pernikus
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 14:27

7 Answers 7


To answer your actual question, settlements DO grow slowly. If you are hanging around sanctuary, waiting for people to show up, you will be waiting for awhile. To do missions and side quests. When you return to rest, drop your scrap, etc. It will have grown.

  • And be aware that there is a max number of settlers you can have per settlement. I believe it's a calculation off of your Charisma score. Something like (10 + Charisma) Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 22:17

The above answer is a bit misleading. As of 27NOV2015 Fallout 4 unpatched, Sanctuary Hills does not grow quickly regardless of doing missions, sleeping etc. Other settlements with similar amounts of resources grow much more quickly. It is not clear why this is the case. It's a little bit annoying, but the workaround at present is to use the satellite settlements as feeders for Sanctuary Hills. Select excess settlers in those locations via the workshop mode (hold V down until it appears in the settlement radius) then target an excess settler and select "R" to "Move" him to a different settlement. Select "Sanctuary Hills" when the locations sub menu pops up.

  • Is this from your own experience or have others verified this behaviour as well?
    – k0pernikus
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 18:06

You have to build multiple stores and set up supply routes. These two additions changed my populations from a measly 0-9 people to a whopping 20+ settlers and 60%-80% happiness. (Originally I only had defences, electricity and beds on green with little success) My Starlight Drivein now has 36 settlers (no joke, no typo) Starlight Drivein is my "business only", settlement with a lot of shops and supply routes from farms going to it .

This was done on the PS4 so there are no console commands. I also never use cheats or exploits. My charisma is maxed out. (Supposedly the population is 10+ charisma points, so if you have 4 charisma you can have 14 pop max) I don't know about that since a few of my settlements have reached 30-36 pop.

P.S remove tv's from all settlements and place all beds on player made surfaces or they won't be read by the game when you leave. Tv's have a bug

  • Yeah, I think that pop max rule is loose at best. I had 27 settlers in one settlement, with 83% happiness, but 10+charisma would give me 19 max.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 22:32

Limits: Maximum number of settlers per settlement is 10 + charisma (max 11, 10 natural plus bobblehead).

Fast enlargement: 1) Poach. Go to other settlements, go into construction mode, and select "Move" in a settler to move them to the settlement you are trying to max out.

2) Build Automatrons (DLC needed). By doing this you can exceed the settler limit arbitrarily as you can always build more. Ideally do this once your settlement is maxed out in humans at 21. I max out settlements with humans by poaching, then build maxed out Sentrybots (hydraulic frame armor, heaviest weapons, Tesla coils, Assaultron laser heads) and assign them as Provisioner's on trade routes to every other available settlement. Because of the firepower these pack, it will keep effectively the entire Commonwealth pacified because no matter where the raiders spawn, there is bound to be at least a few of your Sentrybot terminator provisioners in perception range to annihilate them before they know what hit them.

Note: you need beds/food/water to match your population even if some are Automatrons.

3) Send recruitable followers to a settlement. When dismissing the followers you can always send them to any settlement t of your choosing, even if it is full. You can then assign them to farming, but don't assign them to shops as they will bever respond with a barter dialogue option. Same for Jezebel, she is also only useful for a farming assignment. The main reason why you might want to assign followers to shops and explicitly assign them beds is because that makes it easier to find them whenever you fast travel in.

I have used all of the above the get Sanctuary hills up to well over 40 settlers.


Its my personal experience that Sanctuary Hills may have a settlement problem. I made a second game after my first finished, with only the original 5 NPC's. A notion which baffled me when other, under-furnished comparatively settlements ended with settler numbers in the low twenties.

After Putting Food, Water, and Power all above 75 with a whopping 300 in defense Using God Mode of course for the sake of testing and a full play-through later, No one ever came to settle in my Sanctuary Hills. In fact, NPC's like the recovering Alcoholic, now Cola-fiend from Diamond City, that I directly sent there, would disappear after the first in game week of being an established shop runner or farmer. This particular problem happened in the original play-through as well.

Keep in mind, the original play-through began and ended in the first week (Beginning, at Hour one of game release) of the games release, and the Test play-through within the next 2-3 weeks after. So patches may or may not have occurred within that time frame that could of affected the test, but in my case, did not.

Additional Unnecessary to ask questions are answered with, Yes, I kept my Defense score 3x's higher than my resources combined.

Yes, I put a Satellite beacon in EVERY settlement I controlled, Including Sanctuary Hills. (Though not immediately on the original Play-through.)

Yes, the first play-through was almost entirely unmodded. (Save for texture replacers.) The following were not.

Yes, I updated whenever possible. GEForce Drivers included.

  • 2
    Sanctuary Hills has been my most populated settlement in the three playthroughs where I built a recruitment beacon there. Even if you were seeing an issue, I don't think it's consistent among all users.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 23:21

There is a bug that makes the game think you have less beds, water and defense when you leave a settlement. It seems the bug is triggered by televisions in a settlement. Try scrapping any televisions you have. If you are away from a place and open your pipboy, whatever you see is what the gane thinks is there. So if sanctuary says it has zero beds when you leave, it won't grow and will even shrink. The other work around is to only fast travel from a settlement from outside the workshop area. In other words walk far away from the settlement before you teleport out. Hope that helped.


Try scrapping your beacon, and building a new one in a different spot. This worked, for me.

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