Yesterday, I had a post about some sober statistics that came from CDC — and specifically their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System — by way of an article in U.S. News & World Report. The statistics from the article concerned the most sober American cities according to their (questionable) data.
But there were two additional data points from two other questions asked in the poll conducted by the CDC. So I thought I’d see what those questions were all about. Here are some more lists based on that data.
1. Alcohol Consumption: Adults who have had at least one drink of alcohol within the past 30 days
In this one, pollsters asked people if they’d had a drink of alcohol in the last 30 days. The list below is the cities (which the CDC classifies as “Metropolitan Statistical Areas”) which had the most people who have not touched alcohol in the month before they were polled. The number is parenthesis is the percentage who answered no.
- Provo-Orem, UT (88.3)
- Ogden-Clearfield, UT (75.3)
- Kingsport-Bristol, TN (72.3)
- Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH (71.1)
- Idaho Falls, ID (71.0)
- Charleston, WV (67.9)
- Tuscaloosa, AL (64.6)
- Chattanooga, TN-GA (64.0)
- Okeechobee, FL (63.1)
- Memphis, TN (62.6)
- Salt Lake City, UT (62.5)
- Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, NC (62.1)
- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX (61.6)
- Lake Charles, LA (61.2)
- Louisville, KY-IN (59.6)
Not many surprises again from what you might guess, all the states are from the south plus nearby West Virginia and Utah, where Mormonism holds sway.
So here’s the opposite list, the metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of people who have had alcohol in the last month.
- Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA (69.5)
- Nassau-Suffolk, NY (69.4)
- Barnstable Town, MA (69.0)
- Burlington-South Burlington, VT (68.8)
- Boulder, CO (68.7)
- Barre, VT (68.7)
- Concord, NH (68.7)
- Denver-Aurora, CO (66.2)
- Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI (65.6)
- Fargo, ND-MN (65.5)
- Essex County, MA (65.4)
- Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT (65.2)
- Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME (64.8)
- Boston-Quincy, MA (64.5)
- Worcester, MA (64.3)
- Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA (64.2)
2. Alcohol Consumption: Binge drinkers (males having five or more drinks on one occasion, females having four or more drinks on one occasion)
The second question asked people if they’d had a drinking binge (by their ridiculous definition, of course) but curiously it doesn’t say within what period of time. So without the actual question asked, we have to conclude that there was no time period (because it would almost certainly appear in the statistical data). That means this is an expression of who’d had five or more drinks at one session … ever. Hmm.
Here’s the ten metropolitan areas with the fewest binge drinkers. The number in parenthesis represents the percentage of people who have never had five or more drinks at one sitting.
- Provo-Orem, UT (95.7)
- Wauchula, FL (94.6)
- Charleston, WV (92.2)
- Chattanooga, TN-GA (92.0)
- Fort Smith, AR-OK (91.8)
- Louisville, KY-IN (91.6)
- Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH (91.3)
- Idaho Falls, ID (91.3)
- Ogden-Clearfield, UT (91.3)
- Asheville, NC (91.0)
I must live in truly decadent places because I can’t even imagine a place where 9 of the 10 people you meet on the street have NEVER had five drinks at one time.
But here’s my people, the areas where the most binge drinking takes place. I should hasten to point out that I don’t believe for a second that binge drinking is a good idea, but that the CDC definition is complete and utter nonsense.
- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI (21.4)
- Fargo, ND-MN (21.2)
- Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA (21.2)
- Austin-Round Rock, TX (20.6)
- Burlington-South Burlington, VT (20.5)
- Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN (20.4)
- Boulder, CO (20.3)
- Key West-Marathon, FL (20.3)
- Gainesville, FL (20.2)
- Greeley, CO (20.1)
The numbers themselves still seem a bit low. The percentages are for people who said yes, they’ve had five drinks at one sitting. Even the highest percentage are would be roughly 1 in 5. But it may simply be a factor of people under-reporting what they perceive to be bad behavior.
I once lived in Louisville and allI can think of is that the respondents did not understand the questions or didn’t answer honestly… it was one of the hardest drinking places I ever lived.
michael reinhardt says
Indiana! Making the list. Cool info to have.
Since when did Louisville and Idaho Falls become “deep south”? Jim has a good point regarding drinking in Louisville. The 10% of people who drink must be making up quite a bit for the rest. Maybe the statistical area included a lot of the dry counties that surround it.
Fair point, Ryan, I’ll change that to simply south.
Weird that McAllen is both one a heaviest drinking and lightest drinking list (between this post and the previous sober statistics post)