America’s Drunkest States

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30. Virginia
> Adults drinking excessively: 17.4%
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 30.5% (20th lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.6% (20th lowest)
> Drunkest metro area: Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA

The national share of adults who drink excessive amounts of alcohol is 18.0%. In Virginia, 17.4% of adults report drinking to excess. States with lower portions of adults binge drinking or drinking heavily tend to report less healthy outcomes. That is likely because many of these states are generally poorer — and low income states tend to report worse health than wealthier states. The opposite is true for Virginia, however. The state’s median household income of $68,114 a year is well above the national median, and the poverty rate is just 11.0%. The nationwide poverty rate is 14.0%.

Partially due to the state’s higher incomes, Virginia adults tend to be quite healthy, reporting below-average obesity, smoking, and premature death rates.

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29. Florida
> Adults drinking excessively: 17.4%
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 28.2% (12th lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.1% (18th highest)
> Drunkest metro area: Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL

Similar to Virginia, 17.4% of adults in Florida also drink excessively. Typically, states with below average shares of adults who binge drink or drink heavily have lower incomes and higher poverty rates. In Florida, the median household income of $50,860 a year is about $6,800 less than the national figure. Those with lower incomes often lack access to luxuries including alcohol and healthy foods. A diet that lacks a diversity of nutritious foods can result in poor health outcomes, which helps explain why 17.1% of adults in Florida report they are in fair or poor health. For perspective, only 15.0% of American adults report they are in fair or poor health.

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28. Wyoming
> Adults drinking excessively: 17.5%
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 35.3% (10th highest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.4% (19th lowest)
> Drunkest metro area: Casper, WY

In Wyoming, a reported 17.5% of adults drink to excess, less than the comparable national share of 18.0%. Despite a lower frequency of adults drinking heavily, 35.3% of deaths from car crashes involve alcohol, the 10th highest share of any state. This factor, along with a higher smoking rate, may contribute to the above average premature death rate in Wyoming. Some 347 people die before age 75 for every 100,000 people in Wyoming, which is higher than the nationwide rate of about 333 premature deaths per every 100,000 Americans.

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27. New Jersey
> Adults drinking excessively: 17.6%
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 24.3% (6th lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.2% (23rd lowest)
> Drunkest metro area: Ocean City, NJ

Some 17.6% of adults in New Jersey drink excessively, slightly less than the national average of 18.0%. States with lower shares of adults who are excessive drinkers tend to have lower incomes and report worse health outcomes. This is not the case for New Jersey, which is one of the wealthier states. The median household income in the state of $76,126 a year is the third highest income among all states. Likely because those with higher incomes are able to afford better access to health care and healthy lifestyles, New Jersey reports some of the better health outcomes nationwide. The state’s obesity, smoking, and premature death rates are lower than the comparable national rates.

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26. Missouri
> Adults drinking excessively: 17.7%
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 31.7% (23rd lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 16.6% (22nd highest)
> Drunkest metro area: Columbia, MO

A total of 17.7% of adults in Missouri drink to excess, slightly less than the 18.0% of American adults who binge drink or drink heavily. States with below average shares of adults who drink to excess typically have lower incomes. In Missouri, the median household income of $51,746 each year is below the national income of $57,617.