The Drunkest Cities In Each State: Metro Areas With The Highest Rates Of Heavy Drinking
24/7 Wall St. recently compiled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and identified the drunkest cities in each state – metropolitan areas reporting the highest levels of excessive drinking.
To obtain these results, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of women and men over the age of 18 who report excessive drinking in the metropolitan area of each state. For more information on how this list was calculated, click here.
While an estimated 18% of adult Americans drink excessively, across the nation, heavy drinking rates in certain areas can range widely from around 10% of adults to more 25%. Also of note, the average rate of traffic fatalities that involve alcohol is 30% and states also vary above and below this number.
If you are looking for a trend, cities with large universities frequently appear on this list as do cities that are wealthier and more educated than average.
The Drunkest Cities In America – Metropolitan Areas Per State
Alabama – Auburn-Opelika
The Auburn-Opelika area has a higher rate of excessive drinking than any other metro area in Alabama. Around 16% of adults are heavy or binge drinkers. The area also incurs nearly one-third of the state’s driving-related fatalities.
Alaska – Fairbanks
Of the two metropolitan areas in Alaska, Fairbanks and Anchorage, the former has the largest percentage of adults who report heavy drinking. Nearly 23% of Fairbanks adults binge or drink excessively. Also, 38% of roadway deaths are alcohol-related, much higher than the rest of the country.
Arizona – Flagstaff
Flagstaff is home to the largest percentage of adults who engage in heavy drinking. Moreover, more than 19% of adults in the metro area binge drink or drink heavily. Nearly one-quarter of all driving fatalities in the Flagstar area involve alcohol consumption.
Arkansas – Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
In the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metropolitan area, nearly 16% of adults report excessive drinking, and about 32% of all fatal driving deaths are related to alcohol.
California – Chico
In Chico, nearly 21% of adults drink heavily, almost 3% more than the statewide rate of 18%. More than one-third of the state’s traffic deaths are attributed to alcohol use.
Colorado – Fort Collins
Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University, and college students tend to drink more than most other groups. In Fort Collins, 21% of adults engage in heavy or binge drinking, and nearly 31% of all traffic fatalities in this area are associated with alcohol use.
Connecticut – Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk
In Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, more than 1 in 5 adults drink to excess, and nearly 35% of all traffic fatalities in this area involve alcohol use.
Delaware – Dover
Dover, being the only metro area in Delaware, by default has the largest percentage of heavy drinkers. However, the 15% of adults who binge or drink to excess is lower than the national rate (18%,) yet around 39% of all driving fatalities as associated with alcohol consumption.
Florida – Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin
Nearly 21% of adults in the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin area report drinking to excess.
More than 39% of all traffic deaths are related to alcohol misuse.
Georgia – Athens-Clarke County
The University of Georgia resides in the Athens-Clarke County metro area, and about 17.5% of adults report excessive drinking, and about 22% of the traffic-related fatalities are associated with alcohol consumption.
Hawaii – Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina
Nearly 22% Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina adults report binge drinking or drinking heavily, and the metro area is one of just five in the country in which more than half (50.5%) of roadway deaths involve alcohol.
Idaho – Coeur d’Alene
In Coeur d’Alene the excessive drinking rate is nearly 18%, just slightly below the national average, but more than 38% of traffic deaths are related to alcohol.
Illinois – Bloomington
Bloomington reports the heaviest drinking in any Illinois metro area, and more than 35% of traffic fatalities are associated with alcohol consumption.
Indiana – Bloomington
Blooming, Indiana, is another college town, home to Indiana University. The metro area reflected a 19.7% heavy drinking rate and alcohol-related driving deaths represent just over 26% of all traffic fatalities.
Iowa – Iowa City
Iowa City has the heaviest drinking metro area where 21% of adults report drinking to excess. However, less than 18% of traffic fatalities involve alcohol, which is way below the national average (30%.) According to this report, Iowa City is also one the drunkest cities nationwide.
Kansas – Lawrence
Lawrence is the home to the University of Kansas, and more than 22% of adults report drinking excessively. However, less than one-quarter of all traffic deaths are associated with alcohol consumption.
Kentucky – Louisville/Jefferson County
Louisville harbors the heaviest drinkers among metro areas in Kentucky, but at 17.6%, this rate is still below the national average. Driving fatalities involving alcohol fall around 27%.
Louisiana – Houma-Thibodaux
Close to one-quarter of adults in the Houma-Thibodaux metro area report drinking to access, and more than 40% of driving deaths are related to alcohol, a number significantly higher than the national average.
Maine – Portland-South Portland
Maine has three metro areas, and Portland-South Portland reports the highest heavy drinking rate at 20.6%. Alcohol-related traffic accidents are high at over 43%.
Maryland – California-Lexington Park
The California-Lexington Park metro area is the wealthiest in Maryland and nearly 19% of adult residents report drinking to excess. Traffic deaths linked to alcohol fall around nearly 38%.
Massachusetts – Barnstable Town
About 21% of Barnstable Town metro area adults report drinking heavily, and about 23% of traffic fatalities are related to alcohol use.
Michigan – Lansing/East Lansing
Michigan State University is the largest university in Michigan and resides in East Lansing. In the Lansing-East Lansing metro area, around 22% of adults report drinking to excess, and nearly 28% of driving deaths are related to alcohol use.
Minnesota – Mankato-North Mankato
Nearly 24% of Mankato-North Mankato adults drink heavily or binge drink, although only around 18% of driving fatalities are attributable to alcohol use, a number significantly lower than the national average.
Mississippi – Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula
Adults in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula metro area report heavy drinking at a rate of 13.3%, the 5th lowest share of any state. Around 26% of traffic deaths have alcohol involved.
Missouri – Columbia
Columbia is home to Columbia University and is the only metro area in the state to report more than 1 in 5 adults (20.9%) drinking to excess. At 44.4%, the rate of alcohol-involved driving fatalities is significantly higher than the national average.
Montana – Missoula
Missoula metro area adults report drinking excessively at a rate of 24.3%, and like Columbia (see above) have an alcohol-related traffic fatality rate of 44.4%. Missoula is also one of the drunkest cities in the entire country, according to this report.
Nebraska – Lincoln
The Lincoln metro area hosts the University of Nebraska and has an excessive drinking rate of 22.7%. Alcohol-related driving deaths fall around 25.5%. According to this report, Lincoln is also among the drunkest cities in the entire nation.
Nevada – Reno
About 21% of adults in the Reno area report binge drinking or drinking heavily, and just over one-third of traffic fatalities are related to alcohol use.
New Hampshire Manchester-Nashua
Manchester-Nashua is the only metro area in New Hampshire, so by default, it is home to the greatest number of heaviest drinkers at just under 20%. Driving deaths related to alcohol consumption fall around 30.%.
New Jersey – Ocean City
The Ocean City metro area reports 18.3% of adults who drink excessively, slightly over the national average. Nearly one-third of traffic fatalities are linked to alcohol use.
New Mexico – Santa Fe
Less than 15% of adults in New Mexico’s capital city drink heavily, significantly less than the national average. Driving fatalities related to alcohol are also much below the rest of nation at 22.5%.
New York – Watertown-Fort Drum
Close to 23% of the Watertown-Fort Drum metro area drink to excess and nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths are also associated with alcohol consumption. The Fort Drum military base may be one reason why – according to at least one study, more than half of Army personnel binge drink at least once a month.
North Carolina – Jacksonville
Jacksonville is only one of 15 metro areas in North Carolina but is the only one that reports 1 in every five adults drinking excessively. Also, some 35.1% of driving fatalities in the area involve alcohol.
North Dakota – Fargo
Fargo is home to North Dakota University and several other public and private schools. More than one-third of adults report drinking to excess, and about 38% of traffic deaths are related to alcohol use. In addition to having the highest rate of excessive drinking in North Dakota, it is also one of the drunkest cities in the U.S., according this report.
Ohio – Columbus
Columbus is home to Ohio State University, and nearly 1-in-5 metro area adults report drinking to excess. Driving deaths related to alcohol fall just above the national average at 30.5%.
Oklahoma – Lawton
Statistics for the Lawton metro area are interesting – less than 15% of adults in the area drink heavily (far below the national average), but approximately 41.5% (far above the national average) of traffic-related fatalities are attributable to alcohol use.
Oregon – Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro
Of Oregon’s eight metro areas, at more than 21%, the heavy drinking rate in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro is the highest and an estimated 34.% of driving deaths involved alcohol.
Pennsylvania – State College
State College, as its name would imply, is home to Pennsylvania State University, and around 22.3% of adults in this metro area report drinking to excess. Traffic fatalities related to alcohol fall close to the national average at nearly 30%.
Rhode Island – Providence-Warwick
Providence-Warwick is the only metro area in the state of Rhode Island, and at just under 18% of heavy drinking adults, it falls just short of the national average. Alcohol-involved driving deaths, however, are far above the national average at more than 35%.
South Carolina – Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort
Hilton Head is a wealthy metropolitan area, and around 19% of adults report drinking to excess. Driving deaths that involve alcohol are about 29% of all traffic fatalities.
South Dakota – Sioux Falls
The Sioux Falls metro area has an adult heavy drinking rate of 18.2%, just above the national average, while traffic fatalities related to alcohol use fall under the national average at 26.7%.
Tennessee – Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin
Nashville-Davidson’s heavy adult drinking rate of 13.7% is far below the national average, and alcohol-related driving fatalities equal 26% – also below the rest of the nation.
Texas – Austin-Round Rock
The Austin-Round Rock metro area is wealthy and well-educated, and also has an excessive drinking rate of 22.3%, over 4% above the national average. Traffic-related deaths in the area that are attributable to alcohol fall around 32%.
Utah – Salt Lake City
Because Utah has a large population of Mormons who shun drinking, the adult heavy drinking rate in the Salt Lake City area is relatively low at 15.2%. Alcohol-related traffic deaths are also very low, at only 20.6% – also significantly lower than the national average.
Vermont – Burlington-South Burlington
Burlington-South Burlington is the only metro area in the state of Vermont, and nearly 22% of area adults drink heavily. Driving deaths related to alcohol use are just above the national average at 31%.
Virginia – Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford
Virginia Tech resides in Blacksburg, and about 18% (the national average) of adults report binge drinking or heaving drinking. Traffic fatalities attributable to alcohol consumption come in at around 26%.
Washington – Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is among 11 metro areas in Washington and is wealthier and more educated than many other areas. About 1 in every five adults (20.5%) reports drinking heavily. The rate of alcohol-involved traffic deaths is about 34%.
West Virginia – Morgantown
Around 16% adults in the Morgantown metro area report drinking to excess, but this number is much lower than the national average. Alcohol-related driving deaths are also lower than the rest of the country at 28.0%.
Wisconsin – Green Bay
Green Bay is among the drunkest cities in America. About 26.5% of adults report drinking excessively, and the alcohol-involved traffic fatality rate is among the highest at 50.5%. In fact, Wisconsin holds 7 positions in the top ten list of America’s Drunkest Cities.
Wyoming – Casper
About 18.2% of adults in the Casper metro area report drinking heavily, just slightly above the national rate. However, traffic deaths that involve alcohol are significantly higher than the rest of the country at 40%.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
References for Drunkest Cities In America