The Drunkest City in Every State

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41. South Dakota
> Drunkest city: Sioux Falls, SD
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.2%
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.7% (25th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 26.7%

In Sioux Falls, 18.2% of adults drink excessively, a larger share than the 16.7% of adults who drink excessively in Rapid City, the only other metro area in South Dakota, and larger than the 17.7% statewide excessive drinking rate.

Binge and heavy drinking rates tend to be higher in wealthier, better-educated populations. In Sioux Falls, 34.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the typical household earns $63,931 a year. Statewide, only 28.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, and the typical household earns only $54,467 annually.

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42. Tennessee
> Drunkest city: Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 13.7% (bottom 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 11.2% (the lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 26.6%

Just 11.2% of adults in Tennessee report excessive drinking, the smallest share of any state. While the Nashville metropolitan area’s excessive drinking rate of 13.7% is the highest of any city in Tennessee, it is still far below the national rate of 18.0% and one of the smallest shares of any U.S. city.

The relatively uncommon excessive drinking habits in the Nashville metro area may partially contribute to positive health outcomes. While nationwide 10.3 in every 100,000 Americans die from causes related to alcohol, the alcohol-induced mortality rate in Nashville is just 7.4 deaths per 100,000 residents.

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43. Texas
> Drunkest city: Austin-Round Rock, TX
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.3% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.3% (20th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 32.1%

With a 22.3% excessive drinking rate, Austin-Round Rock is the heaviest drinking metro area in Texas and among the heaviest drinking nationwide. As is often the case in areas with high excessive drinking rates, the Austin population is also a relatively high earning and well educated. Some 42.8% of area adults have a bachelor’s degree, the largest share of any of the state’s 25 metro areas. Similarly, Austin’s $71,000 median annual household income is the highest of any metro area in Texas and about $14,400 more than what the typical household in the state earns.

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44. Utah
> Drunkest city: Salt Lake City, UT
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.2% (bottom 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 12.4% (3rd lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 20.6% (bottom 10%)

According to a study by Utah state government and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some 62.8% of Utah residents are Mormons, by far the largest share of any state. Alcohol is largely forbidden in the Mormon faith, which may be one reason why just 12.4% of adults in Utah binge drink or drink heavily, the third smallest share of any state. In the Salt Lake City metro area, some 15.2% of adults report excessive drinking, the largest share in Utah yet below the 18.0% national excessive drinking rate.

The relatively low of binge and heavy drinking in the state helps reduce the rate of alcohol related fatalities. While nationwide 10.3 in every 100,000 Americans die from causes related to alcohol annually, in Utah the alcohol-induced mortality rate is 6.2 deaths per 100,000 residents.

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45. Vermont
> Drunkest city: Burlington-South Burlington, VT
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.9% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.6% (12th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 31.0%

Burlington-South Burlington is the only metro area in Vermont and therefore the heaviest drinking by default. Still, 21.9% share of area adults drink excessively, a higher share than both the statewide and national excessive drinking rates of 19.6% and 18.0%, respectively.

While excessive drinking is relatively common in the Burlington metro area, other unhealthy habits are not. Adults in Burlington are less likely to smoke, less likely to be obese, and more likely to exercise regularly than the typical American. The healthier lifestyles contribute to favorable health outcomes. Only 9.1% of Burlington adults are in fair or poor health, well below the 15.0% share of adults nationwide.