Special Report

States Drinking the Most Beer

11. Texas
> Annual per capita consumption:
> Pct. chg. in alcohol consumption 2003-2013: -4.5% (5th largest decrease)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 16.7% (25th lowest)
> Median household income: $51,704 (23rd highest)

Alcohol intake from beer declined 12.9% in texas from 2003 through 2013, a larger drop than even the nationwide decline of 9.4%. Across all beverages, including wine beer and spirits, alcohol intake decline as well, by 4.5% — this was the fifth largest total decline. Still, the average Texas resident 21 years and over consumed 33.2 gallons of beer in 2013, tied for the 10th highest beer consumption nationwide. More people died by crashes involving drunk drivers in Texas between 2003 and 2012 than in any other state, at a total of 13,138. The rate of death due to drunk driving of 4.9 per 100,000 people was also among the higher rates nationwide.

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10. Mississippi
> Annual per capita consumption:
> Pct. chg. in alcohol consumption 2003-2013: -1.7% (11th largest decrease)
> Pct. binge drinkers:12.4% (5th lowest)
> Median household income: $37,963 (the lowest)

Drinking-age Mississippians consumed 33.2 gallons of beer each in 2013, tied for the 10th highest state per capita consumption, and well above the typical level of 27.7 gallons nationwide. On average, each resident consumed 2.5 less gallons in 2013 than in 2009, roughly in line with the per capita beer consumption decline of 1.8 gallons across the country over that period. Nationwide, most drinkers preferred canned beer. Mississippians were no exception, with canned beer accounting for nearly 58% of consumption. However, Mississippians were far less likely to drink draft beer than Americans nationwide. Just 2.1% of drinking-age state residents drank draft beer versus 10% of Americans. Like several other states drinking the most beer per capita, the cost of living was relatively low. The cost of living in Mississippi, in fact, was the least expensive compared with other states, at nearly 14% lower than the national average.

9. Nebraska
> Annual per capita consumption:
> Pct. chg. in alcohol consumption 2003-2013: 6.8% (13th largest increase)
> Pct. binge drinkers:20.0% (7th highest)
> Median household income: $51,440 (25th highest)

As in nearly all states drinking the most beer, Nebraskans were far more likely to binge drink than other Americans. One in five residents reported a binge drinking habit, the seventh highest proportion nationwide. While binge drinking includes beverages apart from beer, the state’s spirits consumption was also above average. The CDC has associated a range of negative health outcomes and economic costs to binge drinking, including premature death and higher medical bills. More than 19% of Nebraska residents rated their general health as excellent, however, one of the higher percentages. Still, they were also the most likely compared to people in other states to report driving after having too much to drink. While alcohol consumption from beer declined in the state, total alcohol consumption rose by just under 7%, with alcohol intake from spirits rising by more than 36% over the 10-year period.

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8. Maine
> Annual per capita consumption:
> Pct. chg. in alcohol consumption 2003-2013: 11.4% (4th largest increase)
> Pct. binge drinkers:17.2% (18th highest)
> Median household income: $46,974 (16th lowest)

Unlike all but six other states, beer consumption increased in Maine since 2009, with an average drinking-age resident consuming nearly 3 more gallons of beer in 2013 than they did in 2009. This was the largest increase nationwide, and it stood in stark contrast with the nationwide per capita decrease of 1.8 gallons. Between 2003 and 2013, alcohol consumption from beer in the state increased by 12.1%, the largest increase of any state over that time. As in other states, the higher per capita beer consumption in Maine may be partly due to low population density. There were just over 43 people per square mile in the state, less than half the national average density of 90.2 people per square mile.

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