38 Million Americans Have a Problem With Alcohol: The 10 Drunkest American Cities

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38 Million Americans Have a Problem With Alcohol: The 10 Drunkest American Cities

Houston, we have a drinking problem. Yes, according to a report released Wednesday by the CDC, 38 million Americans have an issue with alcohol, and the mess they leave costs the United States $224 billion annually. No, the CDC's not talking about alcoholism — these Americans just drink too much. As defined by the report, a drinking problem is marked by tendencies to binge drink, consume a large amount of alcohol throughout the week, or get drunk while pregnant or underage. (Wondering if you have a problem yet?)

Still, a 2011 World Health report reveals that we’re not actually the world's heaviest drinkers. No, that honor goes to the frigid Moldova, where citizens consume 4.81 gallons of pure alcohol per citizen each year. (The U.S. is actually way down the list at #53.) Still, the CDC reports that our unhealthy drinking habits cause 88,000 deaths per year. Probably something our doctors should be talking to us about.

The CDC also releases data on binge and heavy drinking in each of America’s metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas (translation: where people live). For those of you keeping score, the institute defines binge drinking as five or more alcoholic drinks for men or four or more for women in "one occasion." Heavy drinking means more than one drink per day for women or two for men. 

We crunched the numbers, and found that Americans live more like Moldavans in these 10 cities — each of which boasts a combined heavy and binge drinking rate higher than 33 percent. Click on to find out which cities might have a problem. 

10 Lincoln, NE

Binge drinkers: 25.4%

Heavy drinkers: 7.8%

Total: 33.2%

Image: Flickr/l’interdit

9 Bozeman, MT

Binge drinkers: 24.9%

Heavy drinkers: 8.5%

Total: 33.4%

Image: Flickr/Tim Evanson

8 Tallahassee, FL

Binge drinkers: 22.2%

Heavy drinkers: 12.1%

Total: 34.3%

Image: Flickr/StevenM_61

7 Lawrence, KS

Binge drinkers: 25.9%

Heavy drinkers: 8.6%

Total: 34.5%

Image: Flickr/danjdavis

6 Milwaukee, WI

Binge drinkers: 26.3%

Heavy drinkers: 9%

Total: 35.3%

Image: Flickr/compujeramey

5 Brookings, SD

Binge drinkers: 23.7%

Heavy drinkers: 11.8%

Total: 35.5%

Image: Flickr/USDA NRCS South Dakota

4 Fort Collins, CO

Binge drinkers: 26.4%

Heavy drinkers: 9.3%

Total: 35.7%


Image: Flickr/Wayne_Parrack


3 Missoula, MT

Binge drinkers: 26.9%

Heavy drinkers: 10.4%

Total: 37.3%

Image: City of Missoula website

2 Columbus, NE

Binge drinkers: 28.4%

Heavy drinkers: 9%

Total: 37.4%

Image: Flickr/jasminedelilah

1 Fargo, ND

Binge drinkers: 28.2%

Heavy drinkers: 9.6%

Total: 37.8%