Special Report

This Is Where North Dakota Ranks Among the Drunkest States in America

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Alcohol is enjoyed responsibly by millions of Americans every day, but many people also report heavy alcohol use. Approximately 19.0% of adults in the U.S. report regularly consuming unhealthy amounts of alcohol. In some states, excessive drinking rates are higher.

To identify the states with the lowest and highest adult excessive drinking rates, including binge or heavy drinking, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the adult excessive drinking rate in every state from the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

Excessive drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes binge drinking, which is defined as four or more drinks on a single occasion for women and five or more for men, and heavy drinking, which is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more for men.

North Dakota has the 2nd highest share of adults who report excessive drinking at 24.1% compared to 19.0% nationwide.

The metro area in North Dakota with the highest share of the adult population reporting drinking excessively is Fargo. About 25.1% of adults in the city consume unhealthy amounts of alcohol. Though this is the highest share in the state, it ranks 11 among all 384 metro areas in the U.S.

The drunkest county in North Dakota is Williams. About 26.3% of adults there report excessive drinking, which ranks 20 among all 3,142 counties in the country.

Roadway fatalities involving alcohol are one of the most common causes of preventable death in the United States. Nearly 28% all fatal car accidents in the U.S. involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

Not surprisingly, states with higher excessive drinking rates are more likely to have deadly roadway accidents involving alcohol. In North Dakota, 43.2% of fatal car accidents involve alcohol. These are America’s 50 worst cities to drive in.

In the short term, excessive drinking can increase the likelihood of violence, risky sexual behavior, alcohol poisoning, and injuries. The potential long-term effects of excessive alcohol consumption include alcohol dependence, heart disease, liver disease, certain types of cancer, and mental health problems, including depression. This is the least healthy county in every state.


State Excessive drinking rate Alcohol-related driving deaths Rank Drunkest city City excessive drinking rate
Utah 12.2% 22.5% 7th lowest Salt Lake City 15.6%
West Virginia 12.3% 27.4% 17th lowest Morgantown 16.5%
Mississippi 13.6% 20.0% 2nd lowest Hattiesburg 16.3%
Alabama 13.9% 27.6% 19th lowest Daphne-Fairhope-Foley 18.0%
Oklahoma 14.1% 26.4% 13th lowest Oklahoma City 15.4%
Tennessee 14.3% 25.1% 9th lowest Chattanooga 16.9%
Georgia 14.4% 21.5% 4th lowest Savannah 17.1%
Arkansas 15.8% 26.3% 12th lowest Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers 17.2%
New Mexico 16.2% 30.5% 20th highest Albuquerque 16.5%
Idaho 16.6% 30.2% 23rd highest Coeur d’Alene 20.3%
Maryland 16.6% 28.9% 20th lowest California-Lexington Park 19.0%
Arizona 16.7% 25.4% 10th lowest Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 18.0%
Delaware 16.8% 30.3% 22nd highest Dover 16.6%
North Carolina 16.9% 29.5% 23rd lowest Jacksonville 22.3%
Connecticut 17.1% 32.0% 16th highest Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk 19.4%
Florida 17.1% 23.3% 8th lowest Jacksonville 19.8%
Kentucky 17.3% 26.1% 11th lowest Lexington-Fayette 19.8%
South Carolina 17.4% 33.1% 12th highest Charleston-North Charleston 21.0%
Virginia 17.4% 30.2% 24th highest Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford 19.4%
Washington 17.4% 32.1% 15th highest Bellingham 22.7%
Indiana 17.6% 19.7% the lowest South Bend-Mishawaka 19.8%
New Jersey 18.1% 21.9% 6th lowest Trenton 19.0%
Oregon 18.6% 30.9% 19th highest Corvallis 21.3%
Kansas 18.7% 21.9% 5th lowest Lawrence 24.0%
New York 18.8% 20.9% 3rd lowest Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls 22.2%
South Dakota 19.0% 36.7% 4th highest Sioux Falls 19.7%
Pennsylvania 19.2% 26.8% 14th lowest State College 24.0%
California 19.2% 29.6% 24th lowest Santa Cruz-Watsonville 23.2%
Nevada 19.3% 29.4% 22nd lowest Reno 24.3%
Vermont 19.5% 34.7% 8th highest Burlington-South Burlington 21.5%
Texas 19.5% 26.9% 15th lowest Austin-Round Rock 23.4%
Louisiana 19.6% 33.1% 13th highest Baton Rouge 21.5%
Michigan 19.6% 29.0% 21st lowest Grand Rapids-Wyoming 21.8%
Rhode Island 19.6% 36.2% 7th highest Providence-Warwick 19.9%
Missouri 19.8% 27.4% 18th lowest Columbia 24.2%
Wyoming 19.8% 34.2% 9th highest Casper 18.3%
Ohio 20.2% 32.7% 14th highest Columbus 20.6%
Maine 20.2% 36.7% 5th highest Portland-South Portland 22.1%
Colorado 20.5% 34.1% 10th highest Fort Collins 22.0%
New Hampshire 20.7% 30.5% 21st highest Manchester 20.2%
Montana 20.9% 45.1% the highest Missoula 25.3%
Hawaii 21.1% 31.2% 18th highest Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina 21.1%
Alaska 21.3% 38.1% 3rd highest Fairbanks 22.8%
Massachusetts 21.3% 30.0% 25th lowest Boston-Cambridge-Nashua 22.2%
Illinois 21.4% 31.9% 17th highest Bloomington 21.8%
Minnesota 21.7% 30.0% 25th highest Mankato-North Mankato 24.4%
Nebraska 21.7% 34.0% 11th highest Lincoln 25.0%
Iowa 22.1% 26.9% 16th lowest Dubuque 24.0%
North Dakota 24.1% 43.2% 2nd highest Fargo 25.1%
Wisconsin 24.2% 36.2% 6th highest Madison 27.8%


Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE

Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.

Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.