For how many adults in Texas do you think they are big drinkers? Do you want to know?
The 2023 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute came out earlier this year. Its goal is to make people more aware of the things that can affect health outcomes and disparities across the country. Researchers used a lot of different types of data to find out the length and quality of life in each state. One of these causes is drinking too much or using alcohol.
Researchers used self-reported data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find out how common heavy drinking is in each state. The data used for the 2023 report came from 2020, which was the first year of the COVID outbreak.
When women drink too much, they binge (four or more drinks in one sitting, five or more for men) and when men drink too much, they heavy drink (eight or more drinks a week for women, fifteen or more for men). The University of Wisconsin looked at data from the CDC and found that the state of Wisconsin has the most heavy drinks. Additionally, 26% of people in the state—which has an MLB team named after its beer-brewing industry—said they drank too much.
Most of the people who drank too much lived in the five north-central U.S. states. After Wisconsin, the four states with the highest rates were North Dakota, Montana, Iowa, and Montana. In 19 states, the rate of heavy drinking was similar to or higher than 20%.
The map below shows that in every state, at least 10% of adults who took part said they drank too much. The rate in Utah was only 12%, which is less than half of Wisconsin’s rate. Also, rates were lowest in states on the East Coast and a little higher in states on the other side of the country.
Researchers looked at statistics at the county level and found that, based on what adults said, nine of the ten counties with the highest rates of adults drinking too much were in Wisconsin. At 29%, Columbia County, which is just north of Madison, was at the top of the list. 29% was also reported in Ozaukee County, which is north of Milwaukee. Sheridan County in Montana came in third with a rate of 28%, which was the same as 18 other Wisconsin counties.
As expected, Utah County, with 8% of people who drink too much, has the lowest rate of heavy users. With a score of 10%, Cache and Sanpete counties in Utah tied for second-worst. There were five Mississippi counties at the bottom ten: Holmes, Humphreys, Leflore, Quitman, and Tunica. Two Alabama counties, Greene and Perry, were also there.