The Top 20 Drunkest Cities in the U.S.
In May 2016, 24/7 Wall Street released a list ranking America’s drunkest cities. The list is based on self-reports of adult drinking rates in a number of metropolitan areas nationwide. That data was then combined with county level data from a program called County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.
There’s no coincidence that the University of Wisconsin was involved with this program. As it turned out, Wisconsin is home to twelve of the twenty drunkest cities on the list. It also has seven cities in the top ten, and each one of the top four. It probably doesn’t help that it is also #3 for the number of bars per capita. North Dakota is #1.
The Top 20 Drunkest Cities
#20 Corvallis, OR
In Corvallis, 23% of adults reported either binge drinking or drinking heavily regularly. Nearly a third of auto fatalities involved alcohol, but that’s only slightly above the national average.
#19 Iowa City, IA
In Iowa City, 23.2% reported excessive drinking. However, driving fatalities involving alcohol was only 24.6 – far below the national average of 31%. Approximately 250 people out of 100,000 will die prematurely before age 75.
#18 Lincoln, NE
In Lincoln, 23.3% stated they are heavy drinkers. Still, just 26.7% of driving deaths involved alcohol. About 270 people out of every 10,000 will die prematurely.
#17 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
This is no big surprise since Milwaukee is world-famous for its breweries. It’s tied with Lincoln for adults who drink heavily, but makes a big jump in other statistics.
It reports 37.2% of auto fatalities involve alcohol, well above the national average, involve alcohol. 347 people of out 100,000 will die prematurely.
#16 Janesville-Beloit, WI
In Janesville-Beloit, 23.4% of adults report alcohol binges and heavy drinking. 40% of driving deaths (wow) in this area are alcohol-related. 346 out of every 100,000 will succumb to premature death.
15. Racine, WI
By now we’re really starting to see a trend. Racine had 23.5% of adults reported abusing alcohol or drinking to excess. Thirty-five percent of auto accident fatalities involve alcohol, and 319 out of every 100,000 deaths will be premature.
14. Grand Forks, ND
In Grand Forks, 23.7% of adults report excessive drinking. 32.7% of driving deaths are related to alcohol, and 332 deaths of every 100,000 are premature.
#13 Missoula, MN
Missoula had 23.8% of adults report binge drinking or heavy drinking. At 48.6%, nearly half of all auto accident deaths are alcohol-related. 285 deaths of every 100,000 will occur prematurely.
#12 Sheboygan, WI
Sheboygan is first to cross the 24% threshold for the number of adults admit to being heavy drinkers.
Twenty-nine percents of driving fatalities are related to alcohol, and 294 premature deaths out of 100,000 occur.
#11 Wausau, WI
In Wausau, about 24% report drinking to excess. Additionally, 27% of auto deaths will be be related to alcohol. Premature death occurs in 270 persons out of 100,000.
And enter the top ten…
#10 Mankato-North Mankato, MN
Mankato and North Mankato report 24.2% of adults drinking to excess. Almost 21% of driving deaths in are alcohol-related, and 250 deaths out of 100,000 occur prematurely.
#9 Eau Claire, WI
In the Eau Claire area, 24.3% of adult admit to being heavy drinkers. Eau Claire also has a very high rate of alcohol-related traffic accidents at 43.3%. 278 of every 100,000 deaths are premature.
#8 Ames, IA
Other than Wisconsin, only states Iowa and North Dakota show up on the list more than once.
In Ames, 24.4% of adults report drinking heavily. However, less than 12% of their driving deaths are alcohol-related, and 214 of every 100,000 die prematurely.
#7 Fond du Lac, WI
In Fond du Lac, 24.6% of adults admit to excessive drinking, and nearly 26% of driving deaths are related to alcohol. Of every 100,000, 285 die prematurely.
#6. La Crosse – Onalaska, WI
La Cross-Onalaska is the first to cross the 25% mark for heavy drinkers. 27% of automobile deaths involve alcohol, and 273 of every 100,000 face premature death.
#5 Fargo, ND
Wisconsin nearly had the entire top seven, but somehow Fargo managed to sneak in – at 25.2% of adults heavily drinking.
Nearly 30% of traffic deaths were related to alcohol, and 280 deaths of every 100,000 is considered premature.
#4 Madison, WI
Not to be outdone, Madison comes in at #4, with 25.5% of adults drinking excessively. 38.7% of driving deaths are associated with alcohol, and 290 deaths of 100,000 are premature. Madison is also home to the University of Wisconsin, known for both football and drinking.
#3 Green Bay, WI
Green Bay is a big football city as well, thanks to the Packers. Here, 25.6% admit to binge drinking, and a staggering number of auto deaths are related to alcohol use – 47.5%. They are tied with Madison for the number of premature deaths per 100,000.
#2 Oshkosh-Neenah, WI
This area is the first to breach the 26% mark for heavy adult alcohol consumption. Forty-four percents of driving deaths are related to alcohol, and nearly 300 in 100,000 deaths are premature.
#1 Appleton, WI
Appleton reports 26.8% are heavy drinkers, and it also has the 9th highest concentration of bars in the U.S. Thanks in part to alcohol, over 30% of traffic fatalities occur and 257 deaths per 100,000 are premature.
In case you wondering, Pittsburgh is the U.S. city with the most bars per capita – 12 bars for every 10,000 residents. Rounding out the top five, are St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Milwaukee.
While all these have extensive breweries, note that Milwaukee is the only one that made the Top 20 Drunkest Cities list. So more bars does not necessarily equal more heavy drinking.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology