The Drunkest (and Driest) Cities in America

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15. Knoxville, TN
>Pct. adults drinking to excess:
12.0%
>Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 27.9%
>Premature death: 426 deaths before age 75 per 100,000
>Median household income: $45,151

Only 12.0% of adults in Knoxville report an unhealthy drinking habit, a full 6 percentage points below the nationwide excessive drinking rate. Despite low excessive drinking rates, area residents report some of the worst health outcomes in the country due in part to exceptionally high smoking and physical inactivity rates.

14. Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH
>Pct. adults drinking to excess:
12.0%
>Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 29.6%
>Premature death: 465 deaths before age 75 per 100,000
>Median household income: $40,830

According to the CDC, excessive drinking can lead to risky sexual behavior and an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. The low rate of excessive drinking in Huntington-Ashland may therefore partially explain the low rate of sexually-transmitted diseases in the area. Chlamydia, for example, is far less common among adults in Huntington-Ashland than it is across the country.

13. Cleveland, TN
>Pct. adults drinking to excess:
11.8%
>Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 35.1%
>Premature death: 455 deaths before age 75 per 100,000
>Median household income: $41,176

With only three drinking establishments and well over 100,000 residents, Cleveland, Tennessee, has fewer bars per capita than all but 20 other U.S. metro areas. Relatively few drinking establishments reflects low demand. Only 11.8% of adults in the city drink heavily, a considerably smaller share than the 18.0% of American adults.

12. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
>Pct. adults drinking to excess:
11.8%
>Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 21.3%
>Premature death: 451 deaths before age 75 per 100,000
>Median household income: $45,844

Only 11.8% of adults in Memphis drink to excess, one of the smallest such shares of any U.S. city. With a population of 1.3 million, Memphis is by far the largest city to report such low heavy and binge drinking rates.

11. Owensboro, KY
>Pct. adults drinking to excess:
11.7%
>Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 30.4%
>Premature death: 405 deaths before age 75 per 100,000
>Median household income: $41,827

Alcohol sales are prohibited in a number of Kentucky areas. Daviess County, which contains the Owensboro metro area, is not a “dry” county. Still, only 11.7% of metro area adults report drinking excessively, the smallest such share in the state.