The Drunkest City in Each State

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Manhattan, Kansas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

16. Kansas
> Drunkest city: Manhattan
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.0%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.1%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 11.1%

Excessive alcohol consumption is never healthy. However, in Manhattan, Kansas, the heaviest drinking metro area in the state, residents report far better than average health outcomes. Despite the area’s 21.0% excessive drinking rate, Manhattan residents are less likely to be obese, be in poor health, or die prematurely than residents across the state.

Healthier outcomes in the area are likely the result of habits and behaviors unrelated to alcohol. Only 18.7% of area adults never make time for physical activity, and only 16.6% report a smoking habit, below the respective 24.6% and 18.1% statewide rates.

Louisville, Kentucky
Source: Thinkstock

17. Kentucky
> Drunkest city: Louisville/Jefferson County
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.5%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 13.6%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 27.3%

While many may recognize Kentucky as the birthplace of American bourbon, adults in the state are far less likely to have unhealthy drinking habits than the average American. Statewide, only 13.6% of adults report either heavy or binge drinking in the past month, well below the 18.0% share of American adults. Lower than average excessive drinking rates are likely due to the fact that several dozen counties in the state are completely dry, meaning that the sale of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited.

No part of the Louisville/Jefferson County metro area is dry. The region is also the heaviest drinking metro area in the state. Of adults in Louisville, 15.5% report either binge or heavy drinking in the last 30 days.

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French Quarter, downtown New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

18. Louisiana
> Drunkest city: New Orleans-Metairie
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.4%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.7%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 30.2%

Residents of the New Orleans metro area, which includes Metairie, are the heaviest drinkers in Louisiana. Nearly one in five adults in the area report binge or heavy drinking at least once per month. Like a number of other southern cities, New Orleans does not restrict drinking in public — a feature that shapes the dining and nightlife culture in New Orleans for residents and tourists alike.

Residents of cities where excessive drinking is prevalent are not necessarily more likely to engage in other unhealthy behaviors. In the New Orleans area, however, 20.6% of adults are smokers, and 28.6% do not exercise in their leisure time — each among the highest percentages in the nation.

Portland Fishing Harbour at Sunset, Maine
Source: Thinkstock

19. Maine
> Drunkest city: Portland-South Portland
> 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: 37.3%

The residents of affluent regions of the country are more likely to drink to excess than those living in poorer communities. The typical household in the Portland metro area earns $62,074 a year, about $10,600 more than the statewide median income. The Portland area also has a slightly higher excessive drinking rate than the state as whole. More than one in five metro area adults drank to excess in the last 30 days compared to 19% of adults in Maine.

The higher excessive drinking rate in the metro area could help explain the area’s roadway fatality statistics. Of all fatal car accidents in Portland, 37.3% involved alcohol, a higher share than across both Maine and the country as a whole.

California-Lexington Park, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

20. Maryland
> Drunkest city: California-Lexington Park
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.0%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.8%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 27.3%

In the California-Lexington Park metro area, one in five adults drink excessively, the highest share of any metro area in Maryland. People living in more affluent regions of the country are more likely to drink to excess than those living in poorer communities, and California-Lexington Park is one of the wealthiest metro areas in the country. The typical area household earns $85,163 a year, more than all but three other U.S. metro areas.