Most American adults enjoy a regular tipple, and most health experts say that’s a good thing, if kept to single drink a day. But New Year’s Eve revelry serves as a reminder that the rules of moderation sometimes go out the window. The question we have: Which places throw out those rules too often? Where does a love of a good time morph into a chronic health problem?
Gallery: The 40 Drunkest Cities
To compile our first annual list of the drunkest cities in America, we looked at three things: average alcohol consumption over a month, the highest levels of binge drinking, and the places where large portions of the population suffer the dire health consequences from over-imbibing.
• 20 Drinks that Give You HangoversFor the average drinks per month, we turned to Experian Simmons, which provided the average number of alcoholic drinks consumed per person in a typical month in more than 200 metropolitan areas. We also used 2009 statistics on the percentage of the adult population for each metro area that are heavy and binge drinkers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Lastly, we calculated the deaths from alcoholic liver disease for each city from the most recent statistics published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
So which cities have the biggest drinking problem? Here’s a hint: They’re disproportionately from where the winters are chilliest.