The Drunkest (and Driest) Cities in America

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The Driest Cities in America: 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

20. Dothan, AL
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 13.0%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 21.6%
> Est. number of bars: 13
> Median household income: $42,492

Most of the metro areas with the lowest excessive drinking rates are in the South, and Dothan, Alabama is among them. Only 13% of adults in the metro area drink excessively, well below the 18.0% share of adults who do nationwide.

Low excessive drinking rates may be tied to incomes in the area. People living in households earning $75,000 or more a year are more likely to drink excessively than people living in poorer households. In Dothan, the typical household earns only about $42,500 a year, nearly $2,300 less than the statewide median and about $13,300 less than the national median.

Source: kkkkoly7 / Wikimedia Commons

19. Rocky Mount, NC
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 13.0%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 31.3%
> Est. number of bars: 2
> Median household income: $37,324

Poorer households are less likely to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol than wealthier ones, and Rocky Mount is one of the poorest metro areas in the United States. The typical area household earns only $37,324 annually, about $10,500 less than the statewide median and the 10th lowest median income among U.S. metro areas.

Despite the lower excessive drinking rate, Rocky Mount residents are more likely to be in fair or poor health than is typical nationwide. More than one in five metro area adults report being in fair or poor health compared to only 15% of American adults.

Source: Thinkstock

18. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 12.9%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 13.9%
> Est. number of bars: 35
> Median household income: $65,538

Just 12.9% of adults in the Ogden-Clearfield metro area drink excessively, one of the smallest shares of any city nationwide. Ogden is one of several metro areas in Utah with a large sober community, likely the result of the state’s massive religious population. An estimated 73% of Ogden residents belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion that forbids drinking alcohol.

Low demand for alcohol has likely limited the number of nightlife establishments in the area. There is just one bar for every 20,000 residents in Ogden, among the least of any metro area and less than half the comparable the national ratio.

Source: Thinkstock

17. Fort Smith, AR-OK
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 12.9%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 31.7%
> Est. number of bars: 11
> Median household income: $41,040

Just 12.9% of Fort Smith adults drink excessively, a smaller share than the 18.0% of adults who do nationwide and among the least of any U.S. metro area. While binge drinking is most common among households with annual incomes greater than $75,000, the typical Fort Smith household earns just $41,040 a year.

While excessive drinking is relatively scarce in Fort Smith, other unhealthy behaviors are common. For example, more than one in five area adults smoke and more than one in three are obese, each well above the 18.0% U.S. smoking rate and the 28.0% obesity rate. Due in part to unhealthy lifestyles, 22.1% of adults are in fair or poor health, well above the 15.0% national share.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Flickr

16. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 12.8%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 27.9%
> Est. number of bars: 47
> Median household income: $35,730

Poorer individuals are less likely to drink excessively than wealthier ones, and with a median household income of $35,730 a year, the McAllen metro area is the third poorest in the United States. In addition to one of the lowest excessive drinking rates in the country, smoking is also relatively uncommon among adults in McAllen. Only 14.3% of metro area adults smoke, well below the 18.0% U.S. smoking rate.

Despite a low smoking and excessive drinking rates, poor health is relatively common among the McAllen population. Some 32.3% of area adults report being in fair or poor health, the second largest share of any U.S. metro area.