The Midwest seems to be especially good at one thing: drinking booze, and lots of it. In fact, the Midwestern states out do the rest of the US consistently, ranking higher in not only amount consumed but in a very dangerous stat: binge drinking. Binge drinking is considered 5 or more drinks on any occasion for men or 4 or more drinks for women. According to the CDC about one in six adults occasionally engage in binge drinking. Additionally, 25% of adults consume alcohol excessively at least once a week.

Unsplash - Josh Olalde
Unsplash - Josh Olalde

According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, more than half of US adults report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. On average, nearly 17% of adults binge drink and 6% report heavy drinking. In addition, almost all adults who drink heavily, also binge drink. In the Midwest it's even more prevalent, with all but 5 Midwestern states going above the national average of 17%. Even worse, 7 of our 12 Midwestern states rank in the top 10 for binge drinking.

Credit: CDC
Credit: CDC

The CDC highlights the serious health risks associated with binge drinking, including liver disease, cancer, heart disease, and hypertension, as well as an increased risk of fatal motor vehicle accidents and falls. Stats have officially been compiled and released for the last survey in 2021 on the CDC website.

Credit: Traitov
Credit: Traitov

Where do our 12 Midwest states rank in the US for Binge Drinking?

  • #32 Illinois
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 14.8%
    Population: 12,671,469
  • #23 Indiana
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 15.4%
    Population: 6,805,985
  • #19 Michigan
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 16.1%
    Population: 10,050,811
  • #15 Missouri
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 16.6%
    Population: 6,168,187
  • #14 Ohio
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 16.8%
    Population: 11,780,017
  • #9 Kansas
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 17.7%
    Population: 2,934,582
  • #8 Minnesota
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 17.9%
    Population: 5,707,390
  • #6 Nebraska
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 19.5%
    Population: 1,963,692
  • #5 South Dakota
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 19.6%
    Population: 895,376
  • #4 Iowa
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 20.1%
    Population: 3,193,079
  • #2 North Dakota
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 20.8%
    Population: 774,948
  • #1 Wisconsin
    Adults binge-drinking in 2021: 21.9%
    Population: 5,895,908
Photo Credit: R. Ressner, Getty Images
Photo Credit: R. Ressner, Getty Images

It is interesting to note that there appears to be no clear correlation between median household income and the prevalence of binge drinking in different states. For instance, Wisconsin boasts a relatively high median household income of $67,125, yet it also tops the list with a binge drinking rate of 21.9%. On the other end, West Virginia reports a lower median household income of $51,248 but has a lower binge drinking rate at 11.6%.

Credit: Angelika Kagan

It is important to note that one in four US adults who do binge drink, consume at least eight drinks during a binge occasion. According to World Population Review, the United States has an annual alcohol consumption rate per person of 9.97 liters of pure alcohol in 2019, putting the U.S. significantly above the worldwide average of 5.8 liters. This could be why health problems linked to drinking and obesity are real issues across the United States. The United States has the 12th highest obesity rate in the world at 36.2%. Binge drinking has a substantial hold on the Midwest, and unfortunately, it is most likely here to stay.

A Tour of Potosi Brewery

A brief look at Potosi Brewery in scenic southern Wisconsin.

Gallery Credit: Steve Pulaski

Leinie Lodge Tour in Chippewa Falls, WI

A glimpse of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery in Chippewa Falls: the gift-shop, the brewery tour, the atmosphere, and more!

Gallery Credit: Steve Pulaski

Photos: 7 Hills Brewing Company in Dubuque

Photos: 7 Hills Brewing Company in Dubuque

Gallery Credit: Tom Ehlers

Photos: Eagle's Landing Winery

Eagle's Landing Winery

Gallery Credit: Tom Ehlers

Photos: Old Man River Brewery; McGregor, Iowa

Gallery Credit: Tom Ehlers

A Look Inside Blaum Bros. Distillery in Galena

A look at Blaum Bros. Distillery's bar, distilling process, cocktails and more!

Gallery Credit: Steve Pulaski

More From Eagle 102.3