The Drunkest City in Every State

December 21, 2018 by Steven M. Peters

Source: Rawpixel / Getty Images
Drinking too much is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It kills one in 10 working-age adults, or about 88,000 people every year, cutting the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, which is defined as having more than four drinks on one occasion for women and more than five for men, as well as heavy drinking, which is defined as having eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more for men.

Car accidents caused by alcohol-impaired people account for about a third of all driving deaths in the United States. But long-term health risks such as hypertension, heart disease, and certain cancers can also lead to premature death.

On average, 18% of adult Americans report binge or heavy drinking, but the rates vary greatly from city to city, and between states. For example, in Madison, Wisconsin, almost 30% of adults drink excessively, the highest share among U.S. metropolitan areas. In Provo-Orem, Utah, the rate is close to 10%, the lowest among the nation’s metro areas.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of men and women over 18 who reported in 2016 binge or heavy drinking in each state’s metro areas. Metro level data was aggregated from county level data assembled in 2018 by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program.

Click here to see the drunkest city in every state.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: AuburnPilot / Wikimedia Commons

1. Alabama: Auburn-Opelika
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.4%
> AL adults binge or heavy drinking: 14.2% (5th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 25.4%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in AL: 25.9% (8th lowest)

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2. Alaska: Fairbanks
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.5%
> AK adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.1% (20th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 42.6%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in AK: 37.3% (5th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

3. Arizona: Flagstaff
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.9%
> AZ adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.3% (14th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 22.3%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in AZ: 27.1% (11th lowest)

Source: cwsteeds / Flickr

4. Arkansas: Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.3%
> AR-MO adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.9% (9th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 29.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in AR-MO: 27.4% (12th lowest)

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5. California: San Diego-Carlsbad
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.9%
> CA adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.8% (21st lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 28.8%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in CA: 29.4% (19th lowest)

Source: Craig McCausland / Getty Images

6. Colorado: Boulder
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.6%
> CO adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.6% (9th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 33.0%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in CO: 34.6% (14th highest)

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7. Connecticut: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.8%
> CT adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.4% (23rd lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 31.9%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in CT: 33.7% (18th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

8. Delaware: Dover
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.4%
> DE adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.4% (24th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 35.9%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in DE: 36.3% (9th highest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

9. Florida: Tallahassee
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.8%
> FL adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.5% (19th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 34.6%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in FL: 26.4% (9th lowest)

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

10. Georgia: Savannah
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.8%
> GA adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.1% (7th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 24.5%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in GA: 23.3% (6th lowest)

Source: unclegene / Getty Images

11. Hawaii: Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.0%
> HI adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.3% (13th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 52.0%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in HI: 35.0% (12th highest)

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12. Idaho: Coeur d’Alene
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.9%
> ID adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.4% (16th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 41.5%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in ID: 32.4% (20th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

13. Illinois: Bloomington
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.5%
> IL adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.1% (6th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 36.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in IL: 33.1% (19th highest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

14. Indiana: Bloomington
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.4%
> IN adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.6% (23rd highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 19.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in IN: 22.4% (3rd lowest)

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Source: dosecreative / Getty Images

15. Iowa: Iowa City
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.2%
> IA adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.1% (4th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 24.6%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in IA: 27.0% (10th lowest)

Source: tomorrowspix / Getty Images

16. Kansas: Manhattan
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.6%
> KS adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.4% (17th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 21.1%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in KS: 25.3% (7th lowest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

17. Kentucky: Louisville/Jefferson County
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.6%
> KY-IN adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.8% (8th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 26.5%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in KY-IN: 27.6% (14th lowest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

18. Louisiana: Lake Charles
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.4%
> LA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.5% (25th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 34.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in LA: 33.9% (17th highest)

Source: Jeffrey B. Ferland / Wikimedia Commons

19. Maine: Portland-South Portland
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.9%
> ME adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.5% (12th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 38.5%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in ME: 39.2% (3rd highest)

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Source: Potomac Sun Photography / Wikimedia Commons

20. Maryland: California-Lexington Park
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.9%
> MD adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.5% (10th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 37.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in MD: 30.5% (22nd lowest)

Source: jorgeantonio / Getty Images

21. Massachusetts: Boston-Cambridge-Newton
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.3%
> MA-NH adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.1% (15th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 29.9%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in MA-NH: 28.8% (18th lowest)

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Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

22. Michigan: Ann Arbor
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.6%
> MI adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.5% (11th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 23.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in MI: 28.6% (17th lowest)

Source: Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

23. Minnesota: Mankato-North Mankato
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 25.4%
> MN adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.9% (3rd highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 15.6%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in MN: 29.7% (20th lowest)

Source: csfotoimages / Getty Images

24. Mississippi: Hattiesburg
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 15.5%
> MS adults binge or heavy drinking: 13.7% (4th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 17.9%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in MS: 22.7% (4th lowest)

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Source: Ashley Kluver / Getty Images

25. Missouri: Columbia
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.8%
> MO adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.5% (18th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 36.0%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in MO: 30.5% (23rd lowest)

Source: akpakp / Getty Images

26. Montana: Missoula
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 26.0%
> MT adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.7% (7th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 42.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in MT: 47.9% (2nd highest)

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Source: ChrisBoswell / Getty Images

27. Nebraska: Lincoln
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.7%
> NE adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.1% (5th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 29.2%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in NE: 36.8% (8th highest)

Source: Rex_Wholster / Getty Images

28. Nevada: Reno
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.1%
> NV adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.6% (20th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 37.6%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in NV: 32.2% (21st highest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

29. New Hampshire: Manchester-Nashua
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.7%
> NH adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.1% (16th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 29.9%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in NH: 31.8% (22nd highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

30. New Jersey: Ocean City
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.8%
> NJ adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.1% (13th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 38.5%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in NJ: 23.3% (5th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

31. New Mexico: Las Cruces
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.3%
> NM adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.6% (11th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 29.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in NM: 31.4% (25th lowest)

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Source: OlegAlbinsky / Getty Images

32. New York: Kingston
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.4%
> NY adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.8% (22nd highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 20.8%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in NY: 22.2% (2nd lowest)

Source: Darwin Brandis / Getty Images

33. North Carolina: Jacksonville
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.6%
> NC adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.7% (12th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 36.5%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in NC: 31.4% (25th highest)

Source: Randy Stern / Flickr

34. North Dakota: Grand Forks
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 24.6%
> ND-MN adults binge or heavy drinking: 25.9% (2nd highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 35.6%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in ND-MN: 48.1% (the highest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

35. Ohio: Columbus
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.4%
> OH adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.1% (21st highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 32.2%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in OH: 34.3% (15th highest)

Source: digidreamgrafix / Getty Images

36. Oklahoma: Tulsa
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 14.0%
> OK adults binge or heavy drinking: 12.8% (2nd lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 32.8%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in OK: 28.3% (16th lowest)

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Source: jmoor17 / Getty Images

37. Oregon: Medford
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.7%
> OR adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.5% (24th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 39.0%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in OR: 31.8% (23rd highest)

Source: aimintang / Getty Images

38. Pennsylvania: State College
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 23.3%
> PA adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.5% (10th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 23.3%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in PA: 30.1% (21st lowest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

39. Rhode Island: Providence-Warwick
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.6%
> RI-MA adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.4% (18th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 35.3%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in RI-MA: 39.1% (4th highest)

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

40. South Carolina: Charleston-North Charleston
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.4%
> SC adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.5% (25th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 36.5%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in SC: 36.8% (7th highest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

41. South Dakota: Sioux Falls
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.8%
> SD adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.2% (14th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 24.7%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in SD: 37.2% (6th highest)

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

42. Tennessee: Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.7%
> TN adults binge or heavy drinking: 14.4% (6th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 27.2%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in TN: 27.5% (13th lowest)

Source: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / Getty Images

43. Texas: Austin-Round Rock
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 22.2%
> TX adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.4% (19th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 30.0%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in TX: 28.3% (15th lowest)

Source: AndreyKrav / Getty Images

44. Utah: Salt Lake City
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.0%
> UT adults binge or heavy drinking: 13.4% (3rd lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 21.4%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in UT: 19.5% (the lowest)

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Source: Beyond My Ken / Wikimedia Commons

45. Vermont: Burlington-South Burlington
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.8%
> VT adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.6% (8th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 36.1%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in VT: 35.3% (11th highest)

Source: DwayneP / Wikimedia Commons

46. Virginia: Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.0%
> VA adults binge or heavy drinking: 17.4% (15th lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 19.4%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in VA: 30.9% (24th lowest)

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Source: SEASTOCK / Getty Images

47. Washington: Bellingham
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 20.6%
> WA adults binge or heavy drinking: 18.2% (22nd lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 19.1%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in WA: 34.1% (16th highest)

Source: BackyardProduction / Getty Images

48. West Virginia: Morgantown
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 16.7%
> WV adults binge or heavy drinking: 11.8% (the lowest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 25.3%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in WV: 31.7% (24th highest)

Source: filo / Getty Images

49. Wisconsin: Madison
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 28.7%
> WI adults binge or heavy drinking: 26.2% (the highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 33.3%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in WI: 35.7% (10th highest)

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Source: Oscar C. Williams / Shutterstock.com

50. Wyoming: Casper
> Adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.8%
> WY adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.9% (17th highest)
> Alcohol related driving deaths: 34.4%
> Alcohol related driving deaths in WY: 34.7% (13th highest)

The top 20 cities with the lowest excessive drinking rates are in the South. With the exception of Utah, most of them are in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. By contrast, the cities with the highest rates of excessive drinking are in the Midwest, with eight of the top 10 located in Wisconsin.

A state’s metro area where adults report the highest rates of excessive drinking is not indicative of whether that city has an alcohol problem. In fact, the drunkest metro areas in 11 states have lower excessive drinking rates than the country’s average of 18%.

In more than half of the states, the alcohol-impaired driving deaths in metro areas with the most excessive drinking are inversely correlated with the statewide rate. This suggests that more people in rural areas die in car crashes where alcohol played a role than in urban areas. In fact, in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, even though 19% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, and 30% of total miles traveled were in them, they accounted for half of all traffic fatalities.

Metro areas with more excessive drinking have a few socioeconomic characteristics in common. For example, cities with heavier drinking populations tend to have low unemployment rates. Only 16 metro areas with high levels of excessive drinking had lower household income than the average for their state.

Perhaps surprisingly, heavier drinking cities tend to be better educated than their respective states as a whole. Of the 50 metro areas on this list, only 13 are home to a smaller share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree than their state.

To identify the drunkest city in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of men and women over 18 who reported in 2016 binge or heavy drinking in each state’s metro areas. Metro level data was aggregated from county level data assembled in 2018 by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program.

Health outcomes, including the number of deaths before age 75 per 100,000 people, also known as the premature death rate, and the percentage of adults who report fair or poor health also came from county-level data obtained from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. Alcohol related driving fatalities are for the years 2012-2016 and came from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

Social and economic factors, including median household income and percentage of adults who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey.