The Drunkest (and Driest) Cities in America

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5. Fargo, ND-MN
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 25.2%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 38.0%
> Est. number of restaurants and bars: 433 (181.8 per 100,000)
> Median household income: $60,009

Slightly more than one in every four adults in Fargo, North Dakota drink excessively, the fifth largest share of any U.S. metro area. Still, excessive drinking is more common across North Dakota as a whole than in Fargo. At 25.9%, North Dakota’s excessive drinking rate is the second highest of all states, trailing only Wisconsin.

Driving is dangerous and serious car accidents can be the result of any number of factors. In Fargo, drunk driving is a common culprit. Some 38.0% of driving deaths in the metro area involve alcohol, more than the comparable 30.0% share nationwide.

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4. Madison, WI
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 25.9%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 38.0%
> Est. number of restaurants and bars: 1,464 (225.6 per 100,000)
> Median household income: $68,497

All four U.S. metro areas with the highest excessive drinking rates are in Wisconsin, and Madison is fourth. Some 25.9% of adults in the metro area report drinking excessively compared to 18.0% of adults nationwide.There are about 226 bars and restaurants for every 100,000 Madison metro area residents. Nationwide, there are 184 drinking establishments per 100,000 people.

Nearly 44,000 students attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison. College students often report high levels of binge drinking, likely contributing to the city’s overall excessive drinking rate.

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3. Appleton, WI
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 26.2%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 25.7%
> Est. number of restaurants and bars: 499 (213.2 per 100,000)
> Median household income: $63,902

Alcohol is a luxury good, and higher income areas often have relatively high excessive drinking rates. The median household income in Appleton is $63,902 a year, more than 10% higher than the national median household income. Appleton, Wisconsin is one of only five metro areas nationwide where more than one in every four adults drink excessively.

In Appleton, there is no shortage of options when it comes to drinking venues. There are 213 restaurants and bars for every 100,000 metro area residents, compared to the 184 per 100,000 national concentration.

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2. Eau Claire, WI
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 26.2%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 38.9%
> Est. number of restaurants and bars: 387 (232.3 per 100,000)
> Median household income: $51,058

Some 26.2% of adults in the Eau Claire metro area drink excessively, the second largest share among metro areas. It is easier to find a place to drink in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, than in much of the rest of the country. There are 232 bars and restaurants for every 100,000 residents, compared to the 184 per 100,000 concentration nationwide.

Driving is dangerous and deadly accidents can be the result of any number of factors and circumstances. But in Eau Claire, alcohol is a common culprit. Alcohol was involved in 38.9% of deadly car accidents, one of the highest percentages of any metro area and significantly higher than the 30.0% national average.

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1. Green Bay, WI
> Pct. adults drinking to excess: 26.5%
> Pct. driving deaths involving alcohol: 50.5%
> Est. number of restaurants and bars: 652 (204.9 per 100,000)
> Median household income: $58,011

The heaviest drinking metro area in the heaviest drinking state, Green Bay, Wisconsin has the highest excessive drinking rate of any U.S. metro area. Some 26.5% of adults in Green Bay drink excessively, making it the only metro area in Wisconsin with a higher excessive drinking rate than the statewide average of 26.2%. For comparison, 18.0% of American adults drink excessively.

A high excessive drinking rate does not necessarily increase the likelihood of alcohol related car accidents. However, the Green Bay metro area is one of only five nationwide where alcohol was a factor in over half of all driving deaths.