The Drunkest City in Every State

Print Email

Source: Baiterek Media / Shutterstock.com

31. New Mexico
> Drunkest city: Santa Fe, NM
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 14.9% (bottom 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 13.8% (6th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 22.5% (bottom 25%)

Despite ranking as the heaviest drinking metro area in New Mexico, unhealthy drinking habits are relatively uncommon in Santa Fe. Only 14.9% of adults New Mexico’s capital city drink excessively compared to 18.0% of adults nationwide. In addition to a relatively low excessive drinking rate, adults in Santa Fe are less likely to be obese, less likely to smoke, and more likely to be physically active than the typical American adult. Due in part to their healthy lifestyles, adults in Santa Fe are less likely to die prematurely of preventable causes than the typical American.

32. New York
> Drunkest city: Watertown-Fort Drum, NY
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.9% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.2% (20th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 32.8%

Some 22.9% of adults in the Watertown-Fort Drum metro area drink binge drink or drink heavily, the largest share of any metro area in New York state. While wealthy individuals are more likely to drink excessively than the average American overall, the typical household in the Watertown-Fort Drum metro area earns just $45,624 a year, the least of any city in New York.

One factor likely contributing to the metro’s high excessive drinking rate may be the presence of Fort Drum, a U.S. Army military base comprising approximately 10% of the metro area’s population. According to a study by the Military Suicide Research Consortium, more than 50% of Army personnel binge drink — four drinks in a single sitting for women and five for men — on a monthly basis.

Source: jacksonvillenc.gov

33. North Carolina
> Drunkest city: Jacksonville, NC
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.7% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 14.9% (8th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 35.1% (top 25%)

Of the 15 metro areas in North Carolina, Jacksonville is the only one where more than 1 in every 5 adults drink excessively. While a high binge and heavy drinking rate does not necessarily mean residents are more likely to drive under the influence, alcohol is a relatively common factor in roadway fatalities in Jacksonville. Some 35.1% of driving deaths in the metro area involve alcohol, more than both the comparable 32.3% statewide and the 30.0% U.S. shares.

Source: Thinkstock

34. North Dakota
> Drunkest city: Fargo, ND-MN
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 25.2% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.7% (the highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 38.0% (top 25%)

North Dakota has the highest excessive drinking rate of any state. Some 24.7% of adults in the state drink excessively, far more than the 18.0% national rate. In the Fargo metro area, an even higher 25.2% of adults drink excessively, the most of any metro area in North Dakota and the fifth most of any city nationwide.

One factor contributing to the city’s high excessive drinking rate may be the presence of several colleges and universities, where, according to a national survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 3 in 5 students drink alcohol. Fargo is home to North Dakota State University, the second largest university in North Dakota, as well as a number of private colleges. An estimated 12.0% of Fargo residents are enrolled in college, compared to only 7.4% of the state population.

Source: Thinkstock

35. Ohio
> Drunkest city: Columbus, OH
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.6% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.2% (14th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 30.5%

An estimated 19.6% of adults in the Columbus metro area drink excessively, the largest share of any of the state’s 11 metro areas. Excessive drinking rates tend to be higher among better-educated, wealthier populations, and Columbus has both the highest median income and bachelor’s degree attainment rate of any metro area in Ohio.

Despite being home to the largest share of adults who either binge drink or drink heavily in the state, Columbus residents appear to be relatively healthy. Only 14.5% of area adults are in fair or poor health, below the corresponding 15.0% of adults nationwide and the smallest such share in the state.