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.
Texas has the 20th highest share of adults who report excessive drinking at 19.5% compared to 19.0% nationwide.
The metro area in Texas with the highest share of the adult population reporting drinking excessively is Austin-Round Rock. About 23.4% of adults in the city consume unhealthy amounts of alcohol. Though this is the highest share in the state, it ranks 26 among all 384 metro areas in the U.S.
The drunkest county in Texas is Travis. About 25.1% of adults there report excessive drinking, which ranks 42 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 Texas, 26.9% 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%|
|Oklahoma||14.1%||26.4%||13th lowest||Oklahoma City||15.4%|
|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%|
|North Carolina||16.9%||29.5%||23rd lowest||Jacksonville||22.3%|
|South Carolina||17.4%||33.1%||12th highest||Charleston-North Charleston||21.0%|
|Indiana||17.6%||19.7%||the lowest||South Bend-Mishawaka||19.8%|
|New Jersey||18.1%||21.9%||6th lowest||Trenton||19.0%|
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|Minnesota||21.7%||30.0%||25th highest||Mankato-North Mankato||24.4%|
|North Dakota||24.1%||43.2%||2nd highest||Fargo||25.1%|
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