Key findings:

  • Vermont, Hawaii and Maine lead nation as booziest drinkers.
  • West Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma least booziest states.
  • 6.21% of Americans considered heavy drinkers.
  • Boozy states tend to get more DUI’s.
  • Colder northern states most boozy to stay warm.
  • Southern bible belt states least boozy for moral reasons.

Alcohol consumption for the general public is a health issue. It’s fun to enjoy an adult beverage with family and friends, especially on holidays. However, heavy drinking during those holidays can make the roads a dangerous place. The month of November and the Thanksgiving holiday is among the most dangerous times on the roads. Drinking and driving largely makes it such a dangerous time of year.

We here at QuoteWizard wanted to find which states are the heaviest boozers to see where folks party the hardest. But also to draw some correlation in states that are not being responsible and getting behind the wheel after boozing. We analyzed CDC alcohol consumption data to see where heavy drinking is most prevalent. The CDC defines heavy drinking as adult men who consume 14 drinks per week and females who consume 7 drinks per week. We ranked states from most booziest (highest prevalence of heavy drinking) to least booziest ( lowest prevalence of heavy drinking). We also included DUI rankings from our drunkest driving state study to show correlation in states that are getting behind the wheel after heavy boozing.

Ranking booziest states

Rank State % Prevalence DUI rank
1 Vermont 8.28 36
2 Hawaii 8.18 19
3 Maine 8.12 15
4 Wisconsin 7.94 7
5 Alaska 7.84 9
6 Oregon 7.76 26
7 Montana 7.5 6
8 Massachusetts 7.32 37
9 New Hampshire 7.28 28
10 North Dakota 7.14 1
11 Iowa 6.92 10
12 Minnesota 6.78 4
13 Michigan 6.66 31
14 Colorado 6.64 14
15 Louisiana 6.64 43
16 Florida 6.6 50
17 Wyoming 6.58 2
18 Nebraska 6.56 8
19 Illinois 6.54 46
20 Washington 6.54 29
21 Missouri 6.46 30
22 Ohio 6.44 13
23 South Carolina 6.44 47
24 Rhode Island 6.36 35
25 Texas 6.32 48
26 Nevada 6.3 32
27 Pennsylvania 6.2 21
28 Idaho 6.14 5
29 South Dakota 5.96 3
30 California 5.92 17
31 Delaware 5.9 42
32 Connecticut 5.88 41
33 Indiana 5.86 12
34 Kentucky 5.86 16
35 Virginia 5.84 27
36 North Carolina 5.78 20
37 Arizona 5.68 24
38 New York 5.6 38
39 Kansas 5.56 18
40 Georgia 5.5 45
41 Arkansas 5.34 23
42 New Mexico 5.3 11
43 Tennessee 5.14 39
44 Maryland 5.04 44
45 Alabama 4.96 49
46 New Jersey 4.92 33
47 Mississippi 4.66 34
48 Oklahoma 4.04 40
49 Utah 3.84 22
50 West Virginia 3.68 25

Regional and religious findings

When looking between the booziest and least booziest states there’s a clear regional divide. For the most part, the booziest states are more northern colder states like Vermont, Maine, Wisconsin and Alaska. Conversely, the least booziest states include southern states like Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. Moreover, the regional differences could likely be a result of cultural differences too.

The less boozy southern states all reside in the Bible Belt, which commonly refers to the southern states evangelical protestant population. According to Pew Research evangelical protestants are less likely to drink alcohol and view alcohol more morally wrong that other religious and non-religious groups.On the flip side, the booziest state Vermont has the highest percentage of residents identifying as non-religious at 37%. Compared to Alabama with just 12% of non-religious residents. It would appear the states with more religious populations are those that refrain from heavy drinking. The boozier northern states might have a smaller religious population, but some might also assume they’re heavy boozing is out of necessity to stay warm.

Booziest states get more DUI’s

While it’s fun to lean into a few with your friends, folks must be responsible in getting home safely. We found that the boozier states tend to have higher rates of DUI’s. Wisconsin, Alaska and Montana each rank in the top 10 for booziest and DUI rates. North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming and Nebraska are all top 10 DUI rates and top 20 booziest. All of these states are among the group of boozy northern states. Between the heavy boozing and DUI’s there is a strong correlation of irresponsible drinking in these states.

Methodology

QuoteWizard analyzed CDC alcohol consumption data to find prevalence of heavy drinking in each state. Heavy drinking is defined by adult men having more than 14 drinks per week and adult women having more than 7 drinks per week. We analyzed the prevalence of heavy drinking in each state from 2014 to 2018. Final rankings are an average prevalence of heavy drinking from 2014 to 2018. States ranked highest on the list are considered booziest (highest prevalence) and lowest ranking states are considered least booziest (lowest prevalence.)

Also included, but not part of the ranking, is the state’s ranking for rate of DUI’s conducted from QuoteWizard’s best and worst driving state study. DUI ranking reflect states with the highest rate of DUI’s at 1st and states with the lowest rate of DUI’s at 50th. DUI ranking are intended to show booziest states and their correlation to drunk driving.