US Alcohol Consumption Ranked By State – Where Does Yours Land?

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Aliyah Kovner 28 Sep 2018, 10:22

Humans love alcohol. With the exception of a few Islamic nations, the sale and consumption of various spiked beverages – and the social culture that goes along with such activities – flourish across the globe. According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report, people above the age of 15 drank the equivalent of 6.4 liters (1.7 gallons) of pure ethanol each in 2016.

When comparing different regions, the WHO found that residents of European countries drank the most per capita, coming in at 9.8 liters (2.6 gallons) per year. People in the Americas were second (8.0 liters or 2.11 gallons), followed by those in the Western Pacific (which includes much of Asia, the Pacific Island nations, Australia, and New Zealand; 7.3 liters or 1.9 gallons), Africa (6.3 liters or 1.7 gallons), and Southeast Asia (4.5 liters or 1.2 gallons). As expected, adults in the Eastern Mediterranean zone consumed far, far less; only an estimated 0.6 liters (0.16 gallons) per capita per year.

In the United States specifically, alcohol consumption is up there with Europe: WHO data shows that we imbibed around 9.8 liters (2.6 gallons) each in 2016. Considering our nation’s well-established wine and microbrew beer industries, plus our growing fetish for craft spirits, this finding is not too surprising. But how do the individual states compare?

In order to find out how regional differences in drinking culture affect state-by-state consumption, Newsweek compiled data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. To see where your state stands, take a look at the rankings below, listed in order of least to most pure alcohol consumption per person per year.

Utah: 1.34 gallons. That this outhwest state came in first place (or last, depending on your perspective) is no great shock. Newsweek writes that Utah’s large Mormon population gives it a larger proportion of teetotalers than other states. In addition, the deep political influence of this religious group has led to the most restrictive alcohol purchasing laws in the country.

West Virginia: 1.76 gallons

Arkansas: 1.80 gallons

Oklahoma: 1.88 gallons

Kansas: 1.92 gallons

Georgia: 1.94 gallons

Kentucky: 1.98 gallons

Alabama: 2.01 gallons

Ohio: 2.04 gallons

North Carolina: 2.13 gallons

Virginia: 2.14 gallons

Tennessee: 2.14 gallons

Maryland: 2.15 gallons

Indiana: 2.17 gallons

South Carolina: 2.22 gallons

New York: 2.22 gallons

Nebraska: 2.23 gallons

Mississippi: 2.23 gallons

Washington: 2.26 gallons

New Mexico: 2.27 gallons

Arizona: 2.31 gallons

Illinois: 2.32 gallons

California: 2.33 gallons

Texas: 2.34 gallons

New Jersey: 2.34 gallons

Michigan: 2.34 gallons

Pennsylvania: 2.36 gallons

Iowa: 2.40 gallons

Connecticut: 2.45 gallons

Missouri: 2.49 gallons

Rhode Island: 2.57 gallons

Massachusetts: 2.57 gallons

Louisiana: 2.59 gallons

Hawaii: 2.63 gallons

Florida: 2.65 gallons

Wyoming: 2.67 gallons

Oregon: 2.75 gallons

Minnesota: 2.77 gallons

Maine: 2.81 gallons

Colorado: 2.81 gallons

South Dakota: 2.87 gallons

Idaho: 2.92 gallons

Alaska: 2.94 gallons

Wisconsin: 2.98 gallons

Vermont: 3.08 gallons

Montana: 3.11 gallons

North Dakota: 3.26 gallons

Nevada: 3.46 gallons

Delaware: 3.72 gallons

District of Columbia: 3.85 gallons

New Hampshire: 4.76 gallons. With a rate of consumption that is three times higher than the states at the top of the list, it might appear that the residents of New Hampshire are more prone to worrying relationships with alcohol than those in other areas. Yet this number is likely inflated by residents of nearby East Coast states who come into New Hampshire to stock up on wine, beer, and liquor because the state has no sales tax. The other four US states that have no sales tax – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon – are also far down on the list. 

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