The States Where Binge Drinking Is Most Common Will Surprise You

cdcWho do you think binge drinks more: people who live in affluent states with higher levels of education or those who live in less affluent, less educated states? People who live in colder states or warmer climates? People in regions that lean Democratic or Republican? The answers to those questions may surprise you. They certainly surprised me.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a report on binge drinking, which it defined as drinking five or more alcoholic drinks (for men) or four or more drinks (for women) in a brief period of time. And if you think it's a habit indulged in only by people who frequent college frat parties or spend all day at your neighborhood dive bar, you're sadly mistaken.


The elbow-bending behavior is apparently way more common than that. More than 38 million adults in the U.S. binge drink, according to CDC estimates -- that's one in every six Americans! They do it, on average, about four times per month. And they max out on average of eight drinks per binge. Zikes!

More stats? The age group with the most binge drinkers is 18-34 years old. (No shock there.) But the age group that binge drinks most often? People over the age of 65. (Wow, right?) Another startling finding: Although the income group that binge drinks the most often and drinks the most per binge are those who make less than $25,000 a year, the income group with the most binge drinkers is people who make more than $75,000 a year. (I guess being able to afford all those fancy cocktails means you're more inclined to drink those fancy cocktails -- in rapid succession.)

But what about those questions I asked at the beginning? Well, the CDC also broke things down by state, and found that binge drinking was most common in Wisconsin, where 25.6 percent of residents binge drink, and least common in Utah, where only 10.9 percent do. The Atlantic further analyzed the CDC's state-by-state breakdown and concluded that binge drinking is more common in affluent states, more educated states, states prone to colder weather (though it's also pretty common in Hawaii), and states that lean more liberal and Democratic in their presidential voting patterns. The fact that "binge drinking is more prevalent in states whose socio-economic profiles would seem more in line with latte sipping than brewski chugging," The Atlantic notes, may come as a surprise.

Actually, it kind of does. You'd think people educated enough to know the dangers of binge drinking would be less likely to indulge in it. But I guess -- blue state or red state -- we Americans still have a lot to learn about moderation.

What do you think of the CDC's findings about binge drinking in the U.S.?


Image via CDC 

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