Binge drinking bypasses the gift alcohol gives us to enjoy a beverage, a moment, or a connection with a person or place. It takes a sacred thing and pushes it to a point that is both dangerous, and just kind of a bummer. But we’ve all been there, and every state is guilty of at least some of its population drinking excessively.
In its report, “America’s Drunkest States,” 24/7 Wall St. has mapped out the rate of adults’ excessive drinking, alcohol-related driving deaths, and general health outcomes in all 50 states—and where some states land may surprise you.
Tennessee, for example, is the very home of whiskey, yet takes last place at No. 50, with just 11.2 percent of adults reporting drinking in excess. Likewise, Kentucky, where many bourbons are born, lands at No. 37, with both its population of excessive drinkers, at 16.3 percent, and alcohol-related driving deaths, at 28.5 percent, below the national average.
(The national averages for adults who drink excessively, and for roadway deaths that are attributable to alcohol, are 18 percent and 30 percent, respectively.)
Surprisingly not in last place is Utah, a state many know to be a dry state—the latter of which is not actually true—although it does claim the country’s highest Mormon population, as well as the lowest percentage of alcohol-related driving deaths.
No. 1 goes to North Dakota, America’s drunkest state. Here, nearly a quarter of the adult population—24.7 percent—report binge or heavy drinking. This state also claims the highest rate of alcohol-related driving deaths, with nearly 47 percent of roadway fatalities attributable to alcohol consumption.
In this report, “Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks in a single occasion for women and five or more for men, and heavy drinking is defined as at least eight drinks per week for women and 15 for men.” Interesting to note, too, is that higher rates of heavy drinking are typically associated with wealthier states, as are higher rates of better health outcomes.
The Drunkest States in America, Ranked
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
- West Virginia