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Regulation and Compliance > State Regulation

10 states where people with money binge drink

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This is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. Last month was Alcohol Awareness Month.

One area of common interest is binge drinking.

The managers of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), classify men as binge drinkers if they report having five or more drinks on one occasion in the past 30 days. For women, the cut-off is four drinks on one occasion. Binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics, and they may not even necessarily be regular users of alcohol. But even occasional binge drinking can lead to crippling accidents. It may also contribute to a long list of crippling health problems as well as conditions that can necessitate long-term care (LTC) services.

See also: 10 towns where a LOT of people got fat

Finnish researchers, for example, found when they followed twins for 25 years, until the twins were 65 years old or older, that study participants who admitted to binge drinking during the first round of surveys were three times more likely to be suffering dementia at the end of the study period than other participants. Participants who said early on that they had passed out at least twice in the past year due to heavy drinking were 10 times more likely to end up suffering from dementia as the other study participants.

While many types of health problems afflict lower-income people more often than higher-income people, the opposite is true of binge drinking.

In 2014, 16 percent of U.S. adults reported engaging in binge drinking in the 30 days before being surveyed. The prevalence of binge drinking was just 9.7 percent for people with less than $15,000 in annual household income; 11.6 percent for people in the middle, $25,000-$34,999 category; and and 15.1 percent for people in the $50,000-and-over category.

We used the BRFSS data to come up with state-level prevalence data for people in the $50,000-and-over income category.

For a look at the 10 states and territories with what appear to be the worst binge drinking problems, and a table that shows the binge drinking prevalence for all states and territories, read on.


10. Illinois

Binge drinking prevalence: 22.8%

See also: The 10 best states to grow old

Montana - binge drinking

9. Montana

Binge drinking prevalence: 22.8%

See also: 12 best cities for successful aging: 2014

Detroit - binge drinking story

8. Michigan

Binge drinking prevalence: 22.9%

See also: Analyst: Mental parity hard to enforce

Minneapolis - binge drinking

7. Minnesota

Binge drinking prevalence: 23.0%

See also: 7.6% of pregnant women drink (Atlantic)

Beach - binge drinking

6. Guam

Binge drinking prevalence: 23.2%

See also: HHS exempts territories from many PPACA rules

Iowa - binge drinking

5. Iowa

Binge drinking prevalence: 25.1%

See also: Study: Seniors may be drinking too much

Nebraska - binge drinking

4. Nebraska

Binge drinking prevalence: 25.3%

See also: Plastered

 Madison, Wisconsin - binge drinking

3. Wisconsin

Binge drinking prevalence: 25.7%

See also: New rule implements MHPAEA

North Dakota - binge drinking

2. North Dakota

Binge drinking prevalence: 26.2%

See also: Billions drained from economy by drinking

District of Columbia

1. District of Columbia

Binge drinking prevalence: 31.1%

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Binge drinking

Here’s a table showing the prevalence, for all 50 U.S. states and comparable jurisdictions, for BRFSS survey participants with $50,000 or more in annual household income.

State or territory 

Prevalence in % 
Alabama 15.1
Alaska 22.2
Arizona 16.6
Arkansas 14.2
California 17.6
Colorado 19.7
Connecticut 19.6
Delaware 19.7
District of Columbia 31.1
Florida 18.9
Georgia 15.7
Guam 23.2
Hawaii 22.1
Idaho 17.9
Illinois 22.8
Indiana 19
Iowa 25.1
Kansas 18.6
Kentucky 15.5
Louisiana 20.6
Maine 19.5
Maryland 18.4
Massachusetts 21.9
Michigan 22.9
Minnesota 23
Mississippi 17.4
Missouri 18.8
Montana 22.8
Nebraska 25.3
Nevada 17.5
New Hampshire 19.4
New Jersey 19.5
New Mexico 14.3
New York 17.6
North Carolina 15.7
North Dakota 26.2
Ohio 22.2
Oklahoma 14.7
Oregon 17.2
Pennsylvania 20.7
Puerto Rico 19.6
Rhode Island 21.1
South Carolina 16.2
South Dakota 20.3
Tennessee 14.4
Texas 19.3
Utah 10.9
Vermont 19.6
Virginia 17.1
Washington 19.7
West Virginia 11.6
Wisconsin 25.7
Wyoming 18.9
Source: BRFSS 2014 data 

See also:

White middle-aged Americans see mortality increase, Deaton finds

Fired Oregon officer: Alcoholism was a disability


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