> Drunkest city: Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.0%
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.4% (21st lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 25.8% (bottom 25%)
According to a nationwide survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, close to 3 in 5 college students aged 18 to 22 drink alcohol on a monthly basis. The Blacksburg metro area is the home of Virginia Tech, one of the largest universities in Virginia. Some 20.5% of residents in Blacksburg are enrolled in college or graduate school, the largest share in the state and the 10th largest share of any U.S. metro. Many college students are likely among the 18.0% of adults in Blacksburg who report drinking excessively, a larger share than the 17.4% rate for Virginia as a whole.
> Drunkest city: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.5% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.8% (24th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 34.0%
Of the 11 metro areas in Washington, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is the only one in which more than 1 in every 5 adults drink excessively. Wealthier, better-educated Americans are more likely to drink excessively — and Seattle has the highest median income and bachelor’s degree attainment rate of any metro area in the state. The typical Seattle household earns $78,612 a year, about $11,500 more than median income statewide. Similarly, 42.0% of metro area adults have a four year college degree compared to 35.1% of adults across Washington.
While excessive drinking is never healthy, higher educational attainment and incomes appear to affect health outcomes across broad populations more than excessive drinking rates. Despite ranking as the heaviest drinking metro area in Washington, Seattle is also the healthiest. Only 11.4% of adults in Seattle report being in fair or poor health, well below the 14.3% share of adults statewide.
48. West Virginia
> Drunkest city: Morgantown, WV
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.1%
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 11.4% (2nd lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 28.0%
Alcohol is expensive — prohibitively so for many lower income Americans. In West Virginia, the typical household earns just $43,385 a year, far less than the national median household income of $57,617. The state’s low incomes may be one reason why just 11.4% of adults in West Virginia report excessive drinking, the second smallest share of any state.
In the Morgantown metro area, the typical household earns $50,120 a year, the most of any metro area in West Virginia. Additionally, a greater than typical 16.5% share of residents are enrolled in college or graduate school, where heavy alcohol use is far more common. An estimated 16.1% of Morgantown adults drink heavily or binge drink, the largest share of any metro area in the state.
> Drunkest city: Green Bay, WI
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 26.5% (top 10%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.5% (2nd highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 50.5% (top 10%)
Green Bay is the heaviest drinking metro area in both Wisconsin and the United States. Some 26.5% of area adults drink excessively compared to 24.5% of adults in Wisconsin and 18.0% of adults nationwide. Despite widespread alcohol abuse in the metro area, adults in Green Bay report fewer mentally or physically unhealthy days per month on average than is typical nationwide
As is often the case in heavy drinking areas, alcohol impaired driving appears to be a considerable problem in Green Bay. The metro area is one of only five nationwide where more than half of all driving deaths involve alcohol.
> Drunkest city: Casper, WY
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.2%
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.5% (23rd lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 40.0% (top 10%)
In the Casper metro area, 18.2% of adults drink excessively, the largest share of any city in Wyoming and slightly above the 18.0% national rate.
The high prevalence of heavy and binge drinking habits in Casper may contribute to adverse health outcomes. Alcohol is involved, for example, in 40% of all driving deaths in Casper, far more than the 30% national rate. Overall, 21 in every 100,000 Casper residents die from causes related to alcohol annually, more than double the national rate of 10 deaths per 100,000 Americans.