Alcohol consumption is a public health issue in the U.S. According to the American Public Health Association, alcohol use is the third-leading preventable cause of death nationwide, with an estimated 88,000 alcohol-related deaths annually. Across the country, alcohol consumption is on the rise. These upward trends can also lead to a greater risk of individuals drinking and driving.
- Vermont, Wisconsin and Nevada lead the nation as the heaviest drinkers.
- Residents of Utah, West Virginia and New York drink the least.
- Nearly 6% of Americans are considered heavy drinkers.
- Residents of states with higher rates of alcohol consumption tend to get more DUIs.
- California had 15,443 alcohol-related deaths between 2015 and 2019.
- The U.S. saw an average of 139,851 alcohol-related deaths between 2015 and 2019.
- June typically sees the biggest spike in alcohol sales across all months.
To find which states are home to the heaviest drinkers, we analyzed CDC alcohol consumption data to see where heavy drinking is most prevalent. The CDC defines heavy drinking as adult men who consume 15 drinks per week and females who consume eight drinks per week. We ranked states from one to 50, or from heaviest to lightest drinkers, by a composite score consisting of alcohol consumption per capita, prevalence of heavy drinking and DUI rank.
|Rank||State||Ethanol (alcohol) per capita||% of heavy drinking prevalence||DUI rank|
|Methodology: Data for ethanol (alcohol) consumption per capita was sourced from NIAAA. The figures represent the apparent alcohol consumption by state per capita in gallons for 2021. Data for heavy drinking prevalence was sourced from the CDC. The percentage of heavy drinkers by state was averaged by the definition of “heavy drinking” standards set by the CDC in both men and women. The DUI rank data from QuoteWizard is determined by the number of DUIs per 10,000 drivers. The overall ranking was determined by the composite score of all three factors.|
We found that states with heavier drinkers tend to have higher rates of DUIs. Vermont, Wisconsin and Nevada rank in the top 10 for alcohol consumption and DUI rates. North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are the top three for DUI rates and among the top 20 heaviest drinkers. Between heavy drinking and DUI, there is a strong correlation between irresponsible drinking in these states.
Alcohol-related deaths in the U.S.
Heavy or excessive alcohol consumption can lead to numerous health problems. Diseases caused by drinking are known to lead to premature deaths among many Americans. California is the top state to experience alcohol-related fatalities, with an average of 15,443 deaths between 2015 and 2019. Louisiana has the highest percentage of total deaths where the population was under 21 years old, at 4.1%
|State||Total deaths||% under 21 years old|
|Methodology: Data sourced from Drug Abuse Statistics. The death count represents an annual average of alcohol-related deaths for each state from 2015 to 2019.|
Alcohol sales by month
Alcohol sales nationwide spike in the summer months. We analyzed data from the NIAAA to determine the average per capita alcohol sales of each month over a five-year period, from 2017 to 2021. The resulting per capita average each month was then compared with the overall average across the five years to determine the increase or decrease in alcohol consumption per month. The table below shows that overall alcohol sales jump during the summer months, then begin to dip in the fall, with another increase in December. January and February see the biggest decreases, likely due to trends such as “Dry January.”
QuoteWizard analyzed CDC alcohol consumption data to find the prevalence of “heavy drinking” in each state in 2021. Heavy drinking is defined as adult men who have more than 15 drinks per week and adult women who have more than eight drinks per week. Data for ethanol (alcohol) consumption per capita was sourced from NIAAA. The figures represent the apparent alcohol consumption by state per capita in gallons for 2021. DUI ranking reflects states with the highest and lowest rates of DUIs. DUI rankings intend to show the heaviest-drinking states and their correlation to drunk driving. The DUI rank data from QuoteWizard is determined by the number of DUIs per 10,000 drivers. The overall ranking in the first table is a composite score of all three factors.
Data for alcohol-related deaths is sourced from Drug Abuse Statistics. The death count represents an annual average of alcohol-related deaths for each state from 2015 to 2019.
Alcohol sales data by month was sourced from NIAAA. The average per capita alcohol sales each month were then calculated across five years, from 2017 to 2021, to determine each month's average across the five years. Each month’s resulting per capita average was then compared with the overall average to determine the increase or decrease in alcohol sales per month.
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