(KTVX) – You may have a perception of how much alcohol the people in your community drink, but does it match reality? A new map helps illustrate which counties across the United States are prone to excessive drinking and which states avoid a big bar tab.
The data behind the map comes from a County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report produced by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report is intended to improve health outcomes and close health disparities by bringing awareness to factors that influence health and offer actions on improving community health.
Within the report, factors are reviewed, categorized, and used to determine length and quality of life on a state-by-state basis. Among those factors is alcohol and drug use, which is determined based on excessive drinking.
As illustrated on the map above, Wisconsin has perhaps the most widespread excessive drinking reported in the country. Utah, on the other hand, reports very few excessive drinkers.
Excessive drinking is based on self-reported data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system. For the 2021 report, the University of Wisconsin relied on 2018 data and categorized excessive drinking as five or more drinks per occasion for men, four or more per occasion for women.
A graduate student at the University of Chicago used the data to develop the above map showing the percentage of adults reporting binge or heavy drinking.
Wisconsin, home to a Major League Baseball team that celebrates the state’s beer brewing industry, is the darkest-colored state. All 72 of its counties reported excessive drinking.
More broadly, the map shows widespread excessive drinking across the upper Midwest and relatively low rates across a wide swath of the south.
To find out how your county ranked for excessive drinking and other tracked factors, visit CountyHealthRankings.org and type in your county, state or zip code.