The Drunkest City in Each State

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An aerial view of a Maui beach, Kahului, Hawaii
Source: Thinkstock

11. Hawaii
> Drunkest city: Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.6%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.1%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 44.6%

In the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metro area, 22.6% of adults binge drink or drink heavily. In Urban Honolulu, Hawaii’s only other metro area, only 20.1% of adults drink excessively.

Just as heavy drinking is more common in the Kahului metro area, so too are alcohol-related roadway deaths. Nearly 45% of all driving deaths in the Kahului region involve alcohol, a higher share than across the state, the country, and all but a dozen other U.S. metro areas.

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Source: Thinkstock

12. Idaho
> Drunkest city: Coeur d’Alene
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.1%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.1%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 31.4%

Adults in Idaho are less likely than the typical American to report unhealthy drinking habits. In Coeur d’Alene — the metro area with the highest excessive drinking rate in the state — only 18.1% of adults report drinking to excess in the past month, slightly higher than the corresponding national rate of 18.0%.

While higher excessive drinking rates sometimes indicate unhealthy lifestyles overall, people tend to be in good health in Coeur d’Alene. Area adults report fewer days of poor mental and physical health and are less likely to be obese than the typical American.

Bloomington, Illinois
Source: Thinkstock

13. Illinois
> Drunkest city: Bloomington
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.2%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.4%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 31.5%

All 10 metro areas in Illinois have a higher excessive drinking rate than the nation as a whole. In Bloomington, 22.2% of adults report binge drinking or drinking heavily in the past month, the highest share in the state.

Heavy drinking alone does not explain risky behavior in a community, but it may help explain the high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases in Bloomington. For every 100,000 metro area residents, there are 510 cases of chlamydia, considerably more than the 447 cases per 100,000 people nationwide.

Bloomington, Indiana
Source: Thinkstock

14. Indiana
> Drunkest city: Bloomington
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.3%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.8%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 25.0%

Of the dozen metro areas across Indiana, Bloomington has the largest share of adults who report drinking excessively. While the area’s self-reported rate of binge and heavy drinking is high compared to the state’s rate of 15.8%, it is relatively modest on a national scale — at 17.3% versus 18.0% nationwide.

While alcohol abuse is not healthy, excessive drinking has either not taken a meaningful toll on Bloomington residents’ health, or is mitigated by other factors. People in Bloomington are less likely to die before age 75, be in fair or poor health, or be obese than the average Indiana resident.

Ames, Iowa
Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Iowa
> Drunkest city: Ames
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.4%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.3%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 11.8%

Residents of all eight metro areas in Iowa report higher excessive drinking rates than the nation as a whole. In Ames, 24.4% of adults report heavy or binge drinking — the largest share in the state and the eighth highest in the country.

While heavy drinking can potentially lead to impaired judgement and risky situations, a higher than typical share of drinkers in Ames appear to understand those risks. Only 11.8% of deadly car accidents in the area involve alcohol, one of the smallest shares in the country and well below the 31.0% nationwide share.