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Do colder states binge drink more?

Richard Florida (writing for The Atlantic's urban-focused site, Atlantic Cities) decided to investigate whether there's a link between binge drinking and cold weather.

It's an interesting question - and one with any number of possible explanations. Charting (what we take to be) average winter temperatures per states against binge drinking rates, they find a correlation - binge drinking rates are noticably higher in colder Northeastern and Midwestern states than they are in the country at large.

We compared this to our data on underage alcohol consumption and binge drinking, and found the trend to be much the same. As you can see from our chart below, the top 13 states for underage drinking and binge drinking are all from the Midwest and the Northeast, both regions fairly chilly.

Of course, correlation does not equal causation, and we certainly don't think that, say, global warming will have any effect on binge drinking. Nevertheless, it's an interesting look at the CDC's recent data.





Underage (12-20) Alcohol Consumption - Past Month and Binge Drinking by State - 2008 and 2009 NSDUH
State Alcohol Consumption in Past Month (08-09) Binge Drinking in Past Month (08-09)
North Dakota 36.45 26.4
Vermont 36.6 24.62
New Hampshire 34.73 24.56
Montana 34.5 24.44
Connecticut 31.03 23.7
South Dakota 32.15 22.82
Rhode Island 34.72 22.46
Massachusetts 32.96 22.31
Delaware 32.48 22.21
Wisconsin 30.9 21.62
Wyoming 30.55 21.51
Iowa 29.88 21.22
Ohio 28.41 20.48
Colorado 32.96 20.27
Oregon 31.28 20.06
New York 31.98 20.03
Minnesota 27.48 19.61
Illinois 28.35 19.58
Kansas 28.8 19.12
Alaska 25.44 18.57
Virginia 25.88 18.44
New Jersey 27.24 18.33
Washington 26.97 18.3
Nebraska 26.39 18.25
Pennsylvania 29.42 18.13
Michigan 26.75 17.8
District of Columbia 31.6 17.76
Louisiana 29.68 17.69
Oklahoma 25.9 17.63
New Mexico 25.68 17.43
Texas 26.46 17.16
Nevada 24.66 17.01
Indiana 23.57 16.95
Maine 26.62 16.91
Missouri 24.17 16.81
California 25.14 16.74
Maryland 25.95 16.69
Hawaii 23.75 16.6
Florida 26.61 16.55
Kentucky 23.68 16.48
Arizona 24.62 16.04
Idaho 23.99 15.94
West Virginia 22.66 15.86
Mississippi 24.26 15.68
Georgia 24.18 14.89
Alabama 23.63 14.55
Arkansas 23.05 14.55
North Carolina 22.4 13.59
Tennessee 20.11 13.52
South Carolina 21.79 13.43
Utah 14.21 11.53
Total U.S. 26.81 17.74

Photo via Lukinosity