The Drunkest City in Each State

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Missoula, Montana 3
Source: Wikimedia Commons

26. Montana
> Drunkest city: Missoula
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.8%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.8%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 48.6%

Missoula is the heaviest drinking metro area in Montana. Nearly 24% of area adults drink excessively, a larger share than in all but a dozen other U.S. metros. Excessive drinking can lead to long term health problems, but sometimes poor judgement can make the consequences more immediate. Of all fatal car accidents in the Missoula metro area, close to half involve alcohol, nearly the highest proportion anywhere in the country.

According to national advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Montana ranks among the worst states in the country for its legislation aimed at reducing rates of alcohol impaired driving.

Lincoln, Nebraska Trees
Source: Thinkstock

27. Nebraska
> Drunkest city: Lincoln
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.3%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.4%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 26.7%

Just over 21% of adults in Nebraska report drinking excessively in the last 30 days, the fifth highest percentage of all states. The percentage of adults who drink excessively in Lincoln, at 23.3%, is both the highest in Nebraska and one of the highest of any metro in the country.

Excessive drinking can lead to harmful health consequences. High levels of excessive drinking in a metro area, however, does not necessarily mean residents are more likely to be in poor health — as is the case in Lincoln. Fewer than one in 10 Lincoln adults report being in fair or poor health, one of the lowest percentages in the country.

Reno, Nevada
Source: Thinkstock

28. Nevada
> Drunkest city: Reno
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.4%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.6%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 30.7%

Reno is the heaviest drinking metro area in Nevada. Of all metro area adults, 21.4% report drinking to excess, far more than the 17.6% statewide and 18.0% national excessive drinking rates.

Alcohol abuse can be harmful to both physical and mental health, and a high excessive drinking rate can also contribute to negative health outcomes across a metro area. Adults in Reno are far more likely to report being in poor health and more likely to die before age 75 than the typical American.

The City of Manchester, New Hampshire
Source: Thinkstock

29. New Hampshire
> Drunkest city: Manchester-Nashua
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.3%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.9%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 32.8%

In the Manchester-Nashua area, 18.3% of adults report excessive drinking, slightly higher than the national rate of 18.0%. The area is the only metro in New Hampshire, however, so it is by default the heaviest drinking metro.

Manchester is near the New Hampshire border and a short drive from Boston. Because New Hampshire does not levy a sales tax, alcohol is cheaper there than in many other states. This may encourage more drinking among residents, and it typically attracts people shopping for alcohol from other states.

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Trenton, New Jersey
Source: Thinkstock

30. New Jersey
> Drunkest city: Trenton
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.2%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.3%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 23.6%

In Trenton, 18.2% of adults report binge or heavy drinking, a slightly larger share than across New Jersey and the country as a whole.

According to the CDC, excessive alcohol consumption is more likely among households earning $75,000 or more per year. Trenton, one of the highest income areas in the country, fits this pattern. The median household income in Trenton of $72,417 a year is roughly in line with the state median income but well above the national median income of $55,775 annually.