The Drunkest City in Each State

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Las Cruces, New Mexico
Source: Thinkstock

31. New Mexico
> Drunkest city: Las Cruces
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.5%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.1%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 34.0%

The percentage of adults in New Mexico who report excessive drinking, at 15.1%, is among the smallest shares compared with other states. Yet, alcohol is involved in nearly one-third of driving deaths in the state, one of the higher proportions. The problem is slightly more pronounced in Las Cruces, the city reporting the highest level of excessive drinking in New Mexico. Of driving deaths in the city, 34% are alcohol related.

Higher levels of excessive drinking can be associated with financial well-being. Las Cruces, however, is one of a minority of cities on this list where the typical household income of $39,902 a year does not exceed the statewide median income.

32. New York
> Drunkest city: Watertown-Fort Drum
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.4%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.5%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 28.6%

At 21.4%, adults in the Watertown-Fort Drum area report higher levels of excessive drinking than adults in any other metro area in New York. Across the state, just 16.5% of adults report such high alcohol consumption, one of the lower percentages compared with other states. The share of driving fatalities that involve alcohol in the Watertown area of 28.6% is not especially high compared to national levels. However, it is far higher than the statewide incidence of alcohol-related driving fatalities, which at 23.4% is the second lowest of all states.

jacksonville-north-carolina
Source: carolana.com

33. North Carolina
> Drunkest city: Jacksonville
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.2%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.1%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 33.3%

High alcohol consumption alone cannot explain poor health outcomes in a population. However, excessive drinking in Jacksonville, the city reporting the highest level of alcohol consumption in North Carolina, may partially explain the area’s prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases. This is often a consequence of risky behavior, which according to the CDC is associated with alcohol abuse. There are 808 cases of chlamydia for every 100,000 Jacksonville residents, in the top 10 compared with all U.S. metro areas.

Fargo, North Dakota
Source: Thinkstock

34. North Dakota
> Drunkest city: Fargo
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 25.2%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 25.0%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 29.5%

More than one in four adults in Fargo, North Dakota drink excessively, a larger share than in any other metro area in the state and all but four other metro areas nationwide.

Drinking habits in Fargo are not exceptional compared with people living in North Dakota. No state has a higher share of heavy drinking adults than North Dakota. The state’s 25% excessive drinking rate is likely tied to its nation-leading share of alcohol related roadway fatalities. More than 47% of all deadly car accidents across the state might have been avoided if alcohol were not involved.

Columbus, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

35. Ohio
> Drunkest city: Columbus
> Pct. of MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.2%
> Pct. of state adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.1%
> Pct. of alcohol related driving deaths: 30.6%

Adults in Ohio are slightly more likely to have unhealthy drinking habits than adults across the country. In the Columbus metro area, 19.2% of adults drink excessively — the largest share of the state’s 11 metro areas. Excessive drinking is more common in high income areas, and the typical Columbus household earns $58,192 a year, more than in any other metro area in the state.

While binge and heavy drinking are relatively common in Columbus, other unhealthy habits are not. Only 18.3% of area adults smoke, and only 24.5% are not physically active — smaller shares than the corresponding 21.0% and 26.3% statewide shares.