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These Are The Drunkest Cities In America, Is Your City On The List?

Drinking in excess has proven to claim the lives of thousands of Americans each year. Alcohol is responsible for about 1 in every 10 deaths among working-age adults. As enjoyable as drinking can be, those who consume too much often feel long-lasting effects.

In 2016, Appleton, Wisconsin was awarded the title of the Drunkest City In America. They ended up losing the honors this year to nearby Green Bay. It would appear that many cities in Wisconsin have nothing better to do than drink. There are still plenty of other states where people rely heavily on alcohol to get through their day.

According to USA Today:

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that excessive alcohol consumption cost the U.S. economy an estimated $250 billion in 2010.

Excessive alcohol consumption, according to the CDC, includes binge drinking — defined as four or more drinks in a single occasion for women and five or more for men — and heavy drinking, which is defined as at least eight drinks per week for women and 15 for men.

An estimated 18% of American adults drink excessively. However, binge and heavy drinking rates are not uniform across the country and can vary greatly from state to state and city to city. Across U.S. metro areas, excessive drinking rates range from fewer than 1 in every 10 adults to more than 1 in every 4 adults.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the CDC to identify the metropolitan areas reporting the highest levels of binge and heavy drinking in each state.

Here is a list of some states to get an idea:

Arizona

Drunkest city: Flagstaff
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.4%
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.0% (13th lowest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 24.1% (bottom 25%)

Of the seven metro areas in Arizona, Flagstaff is home to the largest share of adults who drink to excess. Some 19.4% of adults in the Flagstaff metro area are either heavy or binge drinkers. In comparison, only 16.0% of adults statewide and 18.0% of American adults over-consume alcohol.

Heavier drinking areas tend to be better educated, and Flagstaff is no exception. Some 35.4% of adults in the metro area have earned a bachelor’s degree. Across Arizona, only 28.9% of adults have a four-year college education.

California

Drunkest city: Chico
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.9% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.0% (22nd highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 34.7%

Nearly 21% of adults in Chico regularly drink alcohol to excess, a larger share than in any of California’s 25 other metro areas and far more than the statewide excessive drinking rate of 18.0%.

Drinking too much can have serious health consequences, and by some measures, Chico’s population is less healthy than the state as a whole. Across California, adults report an average of 3.6 mentally unhealthy days and 3.6 physically unhealthy days per month. In Chico, adults report an average of 4.1 mentally unhealthy days and 4.3 physically unhealthy days each month.

Colorado

Drunkest city: Fort Collins
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.0% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.1% (15th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 30.6%

Home to Colorado State University, Fort Collins is a midsize college city located along the Cache La Poudre River in Colorado’s Front Range. College students drink more than nearly any other group. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 3 in 5 U.S. college students aged 18 to 22 drink alcohol. In the Fort Collins metro area, some 11.6% of the population are enrolled in college or graduate school — nearly the largest share in Colorado — and 21.0% of adults drink to excess or binge drink, the largest share in the state.

Connecticut

Drunkest city: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.6% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.6% (18th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 34.6%

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk is the only metro area in Connecticut in which more than 1 in every 5 adults drinks excessively. Excessive drinking in a community does not necessarily increase the likelihood of drunk driving, but high alcohol consumption may partially explain such risky behavior in the Bridgeport area. Some 34.6% of roadway fatalities in the metro area involve alcohol, higher than both the state and national rates.

Delaware

Drunkest city: Dover
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.4% (bottom 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.6% (16th lowest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 38.6% (top 25%)

While Dover is the only metro area in Delaware and by default has the largest share of adults who drink excessively, the city actually has one of the lowest excessive drinking rates in the country. Just 15.4% of adults in Dover binge or drink heavily, lower than both the national rate of 18.0% and even the state rate of 16.6%.

Better educated populations also often also have higher excessive drinking rates. In Dover, just 22.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, less than the 31.0% state and 31.3% national rates.

Florida

Drunkest city: Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.8% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.4% (22nd lowest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 39.4% (top 10%)

Across Florida, only 17.4% of adults drink excessively, a smaller share than the 18.0% of adults nationwide. However, not all parts of the state report lower than typical excessive drinking rates. In Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, some 20.8% of adult residents drink excessively, the largest such share of any metro area in the Sunshine State.

In addition to having the state’s highest excessive drinking rate, the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin metro area also has the state’s highest alcohol-related roadway fatalities rate. Some 39.4% of driving deaths in the metro area involve alcohol. To compare, 28.2% of roadway fatalities statewide and 30.0% nationwide are alcohol-related.

Georgia

Drunkest city: Athens-Clarke County
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.5%
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.8% (18th lowest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 22.4% (bottom 25%)

The Athens-Clarke County metro area is home to the University of Georgia, the largest college or university in the state. College students are much more likely to participate in activities involving alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, close to 3 in 5 college students between the ages of 18 and 22 drink alcohol on at least one occasion per month. In the Athens metro area, 16.3% of residents are enrolled in college or graduate school — the largest share in the state — and 17.5% of adults binge or drink heavily, also the largest share in the state.

Hawaii

Drunkest city: Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.8% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.5% (8th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 50.5% (top 10%)

Nearly 22% of adults in Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina either binge or heavily drink, a larger share than both the statewide and nationwide excessive drinking rates. Driving deaths that involve alcohol are often more common in areas with heavy drinking populations, and the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina is no exception. The metro area is one of only five nationwide in which over half of all roadway fatalities involve alcohol.

Louisiana

Drunkest city: Houma-Thibodaux
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.7% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.8% (17th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 40.4% (top 10%)

Some 20.7% of adults in the Houma-Thibodaux metro area drinks excessively, the largest share in Louisiana and one of the largest shares of any U.S. metro. While college graduates are more likely to drink heavily than those without a degree, just 16.1% of Houma-Thibodaux adults have a bachelor’s degree, close to half the 31.3% national rate and nearly the smallest share of any city.

Maine

Drunkest city: Portland-South Portland
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.6% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.6% (11th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 43.1% (top 10%)

Of the three metropolitan areas in Maine, Portland-South Portland has the highest excessive drinking rate at 20.6%. Excessive drinking tends to be more common in more affluent areas, and Portland is also the highest earning metro area in the state. The typical Portland household earns $63,422 a year, over $14,000 more than the next highest earning metro area in the state.

As is often the case in heavy drinking areas, a large share of roadway fatalities involves alcohol in Portland. Alcohol is involved in 43.1% of driving deaths in the metro area compared to 39.8% of driving deaths statewide and 30.0% nationwide.

Maryland

Drunkest city: California-Lexington Park
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.8%
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.5% (11th lowest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 35.7% (top 25%)

Alcohol is expensive and wealthy individuals are more likely to be able to afford alcohol on a regular basis and are also more likely to participate in activities where alcohol is present. The California-Lexington Park metro area, where the typical household earns approximately $21,000 more than the U.S. median household income, is the wealthiest in Maryland and one of the wealthiest in the country. Some 18.8% of adults in the city drink heavily or binge drink, more than in any other metro area in Maryland.

Excessive drinking habits may have adverse health outcomes for residents of California-Lexington Park. An estimated 10 out of every 100,000 metro area residents die from alcohol-induced causes annually, double the state alcohol-related mortality rate.

Massachusetts

Drunkest city: Barnstable Town
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.0% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.5% (13th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 23.1% (bottom 25%)

Binge and heavy drinking are never healthy behaviors. Still, 21.0% of adults in the Barnstable Town metro area drink excessively, a larger share than in any other metro area in Massachusetts.

In other key measures, however, adults in Barnstable Town are relatively healthy. Of the five metro areas in Massachusetts, Barnstable Town has the lowest smoking rate, the lowest obesity rate, and the largest share of adults who are regularly physically active.

Michigan

Drunkest city: Lansing-East Lansing
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.9% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.0% (10th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 27.8%

According to a nationwide survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, nearly 3-in-5 college students aged 18 to 22 drink alcohol on a monthly basis. In the Lansing-East Lansing metro area — home to Michigan State University, the largest school in Michigan and the ninth largest in the country — some 14.2% of residents are enrolled in college, more than double the 7.0% share nationwide. An estimated 21.9% of adults in the Lansing-East Lansing metro area drink excessively, more than the comparable 20.0% statewide share and more than any other metro in Michigan.

And, the top state with the highest number of heavy drinkers is Wisconsin.

Wisconsin

Drunkest city: Green Bay
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 26.5% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.5% (2nd highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 50.5% (top 10%)

Green Bay is the heaviest drinking metro area in both Wisconsin and the United States. Some 26.5% of area adults drink excessively compared to 24.5% of adults in Wisconsin and 18.0% of adults nationwide. Despite widespread alcohol abuse in the metro area, adults in Green Bay report fewer mentally or physically unhealthy days per month on average than is typical nationwide

As is often the case in heavy drinking areas, alcohol-impaired driving appears to be a considerable problem in Green Bay. The metro area is one of only five nationwide where more than half of all driving deaths involve alcohol.

You can read the entire list HERE.

Surprisingly, the study found that the southern states have the lowest percentage of heavy drinkers in the country while the Midwest has the highest concentration of heavy drinkers. Drinking in excess can cause numerous health issues, but as with all things, moderation is the key. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional drink but when it starts to consume your life it’s time to reevaluate.

Good luck to the state of Wisconsin on winning its third consecutive title in 2018.

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