The Drunkest City in Each State

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Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
Source: Thinkstock

6. Colorado
> Drunkest city: Denver-Aurora-Lakewood
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.6%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.0%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 35.0%

By many measures of both behavior and outcomes, Denver is one of the healthiest metro areas in the country. Adults in the city are more likely to live full lives, less likely to be obese, and more likely to exercise than most American adults. However, one major exception is the high share of adults in the area who drink excessively. More than one in five Denver area adults report binge or heavy drinking within the past month, more than in any other metro area across the state.

Alcohol is closely linked to the metro area’s identity and economy. The city of Denver alone is home to dozens of breweries, including Blue Moon Brewing Company and Flying Dog Brewery.

New London, Connecticut - Downtown
Source: Thinkstock

7. Connecticut
> Drunkest city: Norwich-New London
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.7%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.6%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 36.0%

Adults in the Norwich-New London area are more likely to drink excessively than adults in any of Connecticut’s four metro areas. While alcohol abuse can come with negative, often serious consequences, area residents tend to be relatively healthy. The Norwich metro area has one of the lower premature death rates in the country, and area residents are far less likely to report feeling unhealthy than Americans on the whole.

Still, excessive drinking does not appear to be consequence-free in the Norwich-New London metro area. Alcohol is involved in 36.0% of all area roadway fatalities, more than the corresponding state and national rates of 33.2% and 31.0% respectively.

Capitol Building in Dover, Delaware
Source: Thinkstock

8. Delaware
> Drunkest city: Dover
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.3%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.2%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 46.5%

As the only metro area in Delaware, Dover has the highest share of excessive drinkers in the state by default. Dover is perhaps undeserving of the title as the share of adults who identify as heavy or binge drinkers is greater statewide than it is in the city. Only 15.3% of adults in the Dover metro area drink excessively, compared to 17.2% of adults statewide.

Despite lower binge and heavy drinking rates, an outsized share of deadly car accidents in the metro area involve alcohol. Nearly 47% of all roadway fatalities in Dover involve alcohol, nearly the highest share of any of the country’s 381 metro areas.

Tallahassee, Florida
Source: Thinkstock

9. Florida
> Drunkest city: Tallahassee
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.2%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.0%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 34.3%

Of Florida’s 22 metro areas, Tallahassee has the highest share of adults who report drinking to excess in the past month at 21.2%. Across the state, only 17% of adults report an unhealthy drinking habit.

Bad habits do not stop with excessive drinking in Florida’s capital. Area residents are also more likely to be obese and identify as smokers than the typical Floridian. It is likely that the residents’ excessive alcohol consumption and other unhealthy habits have, at least partially, contributed to a higher premature death rate in the area. Tallahassee residents are more likely to die from preventable causes before age 75 than is typical across the state.

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Hinesville, Georgia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Georgia
> Drunkest city: Hinesville
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.3%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.6%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 28.1%

Excessive alcohol consumption is relatively rare in Georgia. Of all 14 metro areas in the Peach State, Hinesville has the highest share of adults who drink excessively, at 18.3%. Still, this is only slightly higher than the 18.0% national share.

While alcohol abuse does not necessarily lead to negative health outcomes, adults in Hinesville are more likely to be obese and less likely to report being in good health than the typical Georgia resident.