• Email

The Drunkest States in America

Binge Data


New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that binge drinking is becoming a big problem in the U.S.

According to the agency’s latest Vitals Signs report, more than 38 million adults in the U.S. binge drink an average of four times a month, consuming at most an average of eight drinks during each sitting. But binge drinking – defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in an occasion (called an “episode” in the CDC report) – is more prevalent in certain states than others.

Adult binge drinking is most common in the Midwest and New England, but binge drinkers consume more drinks in the Southwest, the Midwest and in some states where overall binge drinking is less common, like Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Want to hear more about the CDC research? Check out our interview with Dr. Robert Brewer, lead of the CDC alcohol program.

The CDC attributes the variations by state to differences in the laws that govern alcohol use.

Take Utah, for instance. Binge drinking is the least prevalent in Utah, which has notoriously strict liquor laws that severely limit the times during which restaurants can serve alcohol to patrons.

MainStreet combed through the data to rank the states that drink the most based on the percent of adult residents who reported binge drinking. Stats on how often these drinkers binge and how many drinks they consume when they binge drink are also included. (Note: Data from South Carolina and Tennessee were not available so they were not included in this analysis.) Read on to find out whether your state rates amongst the drunkest.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

10th Drunkest State: Vermont



Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 20.2%

Number of monthly episodes: 4.7

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 7.1

Photo Credit: varresa

9th Drunkest State: Alaska


Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 21.2%

Number of episodes per month: 4

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 6.8

Photo Credit:  AlaskaDude

8th Drunkest State: Illinois


Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 21.4%

Number of episodes per month: 4.5

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 6.9

Photo Credit: laffy4k

7th Drunkest State: Montana


Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 21.5%

Number of episodes per month: 3.9

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 7.7

Photo Credit: gene1138

6th Drunkest State: Iowa

Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 21.5%

Number of episodes per month: 5.3

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 8

While tied with Montana in terms of its prevalence of binge drinking, Iowa ranked higher because binge drinkers consume more drinks and do so more often.

Photo Credit: nicholas_t

5th Drunkest State: Massachusetts

Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 21.7%

Number of episodes per month: 5

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 6.8

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

4th Drunkest State: District of Columbia

Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 21.9%

Number of episodes per month: 4.1

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 6

Photo Credit: Vinothchandar

3rd Drunkest State: North Dakota


Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 21.9%

Number of episodes per month: 4.2

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 8.3

Similarly to Iowa and Montana, while tied with the District of Columbia in terms of prevalence, North Dakota ranked higher because binge drinkers drink more often and consume more when they do.

Photo Credit:  afiler

2nd Drunkest State: Nebraska


Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 22.3%

Number of episodes per month: 4.2

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 7.8

Photo Credit:  quin.anya

The Drunkest State: Wisconsin


Prevalence of Binge Drinking: 25.6%

Number of episodes per month: 4.8

Average number of drinks consumed during episodes: 9

Wisconsin actually had both the highest percent of binge drinkers and the highest average number of drinks consumed. But their binge drinkers didn’t do so the most frequently. That distinction went to Kentucky, where the overall binge drinking prevalence of 15% kept it off this list despite the fact that those drinkers were binging 5.9 times a month.

While Wisconsin doesn’t have the most lax liquor laws in the U.S – there are time limits in which alcohol can be bought and sold – it does permit the consumption of alcohol by minors, provided they are being supervised by a parent, guardian or spouse.

Photo Credit: astrangerinthealps

States with the Most Smokers


MainStreet analyzed earlier data from the CDC to find out  where America’s smokers live, and which states have been the best at kicking the habit. Read on to find out if you live in one of the most smoker-filled states.

Photo Credit: f_mafra

Join us on Facebook


Join the MainStreet team and other readers on our lively Facebook page! Discuss our newest stories and get links to breaking content, automatically.

Click here to add us.

Photo Credit: lawtonchiles

Read More:   health
blog comments powered by Disqus

Brokerage Partners