America’s Drunkest Cities

Which city has the booziest population? (And no, the Jersey shore isn't a city.)

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As the holidays draw to a close, website The Daily Beast has ranked roughly 200 U.S. cities by citizens’ involvement in one of the most popular and time-honored traditions of the season: drinking.

Contributors to The Daily Beast compiled year-round stats on alcohol consumption in cities across the country, and tallied up the figures to create its annual list of “drunkest” cities in America. Last year, in the first-ever rankings, Milwaukee topped the list of booziest cities. But this year there’s a new winner.

The website explains:

To compile the second annual list of the “drunkest” cities in the U.S., The Daily Beast first analyzed data from Experian Simmons, a leading market-research firm, which provided data on the average number of alcoholic drinks per month the residents of more than 200 cities across the country reported to have consumed in a survey from earlier this year. As well, we considered the percent of the population that are either binge drinkers or heavy drinkers for each metro area, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control [CDC]. The average number of drinks was given twice the weight of the heavy- and binge-drinking population for the final rank.


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By these criteria, the No. 1 drunkest city in America for 2011 is…Boston. Adults in that city drink on average 15.5 drinks per person per month, with 7.4% of the over-21 population deemed “heavy drinkers” and a disturbing 20.1% deemed “binge drinkers,” according to CDC definitions. The CDC calls “heavy drinking” an average of more than two drinks per day for men or more than one drink per day for women. “Binge drinking” is defined as consuming at least five drinks during a single occasion for men, or at least four drinks during a single occasion for women.

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Rounding out the Top 5 heaviest-drinking cities this past year were #5) San Antonio, #4) Reno, #3) Milwaukee, the previous year’s winner, and #2) Springfield, MA. Curious about where your city ranks? Find the Daily Beast‘s Top 25 Drunkest Cities list here.