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This city was ranked the drunkest in America — again

This place topped the list in 2022 and 2021, too.
The Milwaukee city skyline.
Posted at 1:07 PM, Aug 11, 2023

Milwaukee and Wisconsin are yet again topping the lists for alcoholism in the U.S.

According to a survey by InsiderMonkey, Milwaukee has an excessive drinking rate of 24.6%, the highest among cities in the United States. Excessive alcohol use is described by the CDC as follows:

- Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks on an occasion for a woman or five or more drinks on an occasion for a man.

- Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for a woman or 15 or more drinks per week for a man.

- Any alcohol use by pregnant women or anyone younger than 21 is considered excessive.

InsiderMonkey notes Wisconsin has one of the lowest alcohol tax rates in the country, leading to lower retail and wholesale prices.

Study finds Americans are drinking alcohol at sustained elevated rates
Someone pouring an alcoholic beverage.

Study finds Americans are drinking alcohol at sustained elevated rates

The study found that Americans' alcohol use is about as elevated as it was decades ago and that many self-reported trying alcohol as young as 14.


Some of the drunkest counties in the country are located in America's Dairyland. Wisconsin is home to seven of the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest alcohol consumption per capita. Here they are:

1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (excessive drinking rate: 24.6%)

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota (excessive drinking rate: 23.5%)

3. Boston, Massachusetts (excessive drinking rate: 23.1%)

4. Buffalo, New York (excessive drinking rate: 22.8%)

5. Chicago, Illinois (excessive drinking rate: 22.7%)

6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (excessive drinking rate: 22.5%)

7. New Orleans, Louisiana (excessive drinking rate: 21.9%)

8. Sacramento, California (excessive drinking rate: 21.6%)

9. Portland, Oregon (excessive drinking rate: 21.4%)

10. Austin, Texas (excessive drinking rate: 21.4%)

Milwaukee topped lists for excessive drinking in 2022 and 2021, too.

New rating guide will pay you in drinks to review bars
Bartender pours a cocktail through a strainer.

New rating guide will pay you in drinks to review bars

On The Pinnacle Guide's dime, reviewers will be asked to order two drinks at each bar they choose and share details of their experience.


At least at the top of this particular survey, cities have one thing in common: harsh winters. But a sprinkling of warmer U.S. cities among the top 10 list might debunk a theory that alcoholism is more prevalent in the colder states.

According to InsiderMonkey, "There is a substantial amount of evidence that suggests that any alcohol consumption, however moderate, can have negative health consequences. Even low levels of drinking can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer. Understanding that there is no such thing as risk-free drinking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – while not going so far as its Canadian counterpart – defines moderate drinking as 2 drinks or less per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. Still, despite the well-publicized health risks, more than two-thirds of adult drinkers regularly exceed those levels."

This story was originally published by Jackson Danbeck at Scripps News Milwaukee.