How Dry We Ain't
According to an article in USA Today, binge drinking is most common in upper Midwest, least in South:
Measured as percentage of those 18 and older who had five or more drinks within a few hours in the past month.
1. San Antonio 23.9
2. Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn. 23.4
3. Milwaukee-Waukesha, Wis. 22.7
4. Austin-San Marcos, Texas 22.6
5. Sioux Falls, S.D. 21.4
6. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill. 21.1
7. Cedar Rapids, Iowa 20.6
8. Duluth-Superior, Minn.-Wis. 20.3
9. Lincoln, Neb. 20.1
10. Springfield, Mass. 20.1
Source: American Journal of Public Health
The study, based on data from 1997 and 1999 that was collected by the CDC and state health departments, did not look specifically into causes, and there is no simple explanation for the regional differences, Naimi says.
"I think the best one can say is that a combination of factors" influences the rates, he says.
Those include the age of people (younger people tend to binge-drink more often than older); their gender (men binge-drink more often than women); their religious affiliation (some religious denominations frown upon alcohol consumption); local laws and policies that would regulate the availability of alcohol; local customs and culture; and the presence or absence of universities.
One factor not mentioned is weather. It doesn't explain San Antonio or Austin of course, but having spent five years in Grand Forks and having visited Duluth on a number of occasions, I know that when you live in a city with colder climes and scant cultural attractions, you tend to spend a lot of your time indoors. Indoors with nothing to do and nowhere to go. The siren song of the bottle is much more alluring when you're adrift in a sea of boredom.
Which also explains why Iowa is so well represented on the list.