The negative effects of being drunk make up a long list. The brain can be permanently damaged. Some cancers have been linked to drinking. Heavy drinking also can cause anxiety and depression Drunk driving is a major cause of traffic fatalities.
Drunkenness varies substantially from state to state and city to city. The states with the worst drinking problems tend to be in the Upper Midwest and the Plains States. Another geographic measure of drinking is by county, and the spread among them based on a percentage basis is very different nationwide.
Using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR), a joint program between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the U.S. county with the lowest excessive drinking rate.
Counties are ranked on the share of adults who either binge drink or drink heavily. The CHR defines binge drinking as the consumption of more than four drinks in a single occasion for women and more than five drinks for men, while heavy drinking is defined as more than one drink a day on average for women and more than two drinks a day for men. In every county on this list, fewer than 12.5% of adults drink excessively, while nationwide, more than 19% do.
The vast majority of counties with low drinking rates are located in just two states: Mississippi and Utah. The least drunk county in America is Utah County, Utah. Here are the details:
- Adults binge or heavy drinking: 6.5%
- Driving deaths involving alcohol: 16.8% (648th lowest of all counties)
- Median household income: $74,665 (229th highest)
- Adults reporting poor or fair health: 13.2% (190th lowest).
Of the 3,220 counties or county-equivalents in America, 3,142 had boundaries that fell within one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Counties with a 2019 five-year population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau of less than 1,000 were excluded.
The remaining 3,106 places were ranked based on the excessive drinking rate. Additional information on the share of driving deaths with alcohol involvement and the share of adults who report fair or poor health are also from the 2021 CHR. Note that while the CHR report is from 2021, excessive drinking rate figures published in the report are from 2018. Median household income data are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
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